How To Catch Big Catfish Part 2 - Catfishing Tackle, Reels, Rods,

Brandon with a Good Flathead Catfish!

Brandon with His Very First Flathead Catfish!
Brandon with His Very First Flathead Catfish!

How To Catch Big Catfish Part 2

Let's quickly recap what was covered in

How To Catch Big Catfish

Part 1.

Where Is The Best Place To Catch A Trophy Catfish?

When Is The Best Time Of Day To Fish For Giant Catfish?

What Are The Best Months To Catch Trophy Catfish?

Ok, ready for more tips on how to catch big catfish.

What Kind Of Tackle Do I Need To Land A Monster Catfish?

There is some debate over how light or how heavy to go with tackle when you are in pursuit of monster world class trophy catfish. I don't know about you, but I hate loosing big fish. When you hook up on a big cat and your #50 leader snaps like a piece of sewing thread all you can say is "I wish I had brought bigger tackle," or "WOW, how big do you think that one was?", no telling.

I've seen #50, #80 and even #100 leaders come back snapped. How big were these fish? Who knows but I don't think they were 20 pounders. It feels like you are in a tractor pull with your fishing pole.

What Kind Of Line Do I Need?

Some catfish fishermen recommend #30 - #40 line. If you are fishing in open water with little or no chance of the fish reaching cover, then you can land some nice trophy catfish with this line weight. If there is any cover at all- which is usually where you find the monster cats- I prefer nothing less than #50 and will often fish heavy cover with #80 or #100 PowerPro.

I've talked to catfishermen who laugh at the heavy weight lines, and I've talked to guys who won't leave home without it. My opinion is if I'm out fishing for world record cats in world class waters, I want my fighting chance when the monster hits.

Hooks? What Size Is Best?


Once again there is some debate on this, but I like to use an 8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook. Sometimes I will even use a 10/0 Gamakatsu Circle if I am using bigger baits to leave adequate gap to hook the fish. I prefer the circle hooks because often this results in a hookup in the corner of the catfishes mouth making them a better candidate for live release and survival.

Use heavy gauge hooks like the Gamakatsu octopus hooks. I recently saw an

8/0 Eagle Claw that was straightened out by a big cat. It's tough to know you hooked a great fish only to lose it because your tackle was too light.

What Reels Work Well for Big Cats?

This is a good time to leave your Zebco 33 at home and get a little bigger reel. Yes, I know the world record flathead at 123 pounds was reportedly caught on a Zebco 33 and 12 pound test line, but I'm not gonna push my luck anywhere near that far.

A good wide spool bait casting reel works well for tangles with big catfish.

There is a wide assortment of reels available for catching catfish, but when you want to really target the brutes, you need to get a reel that can stand up to the pressures of big monster fish.

These reels are in no particular order, and I'm sure some of you will see a reel you like that I left out or one I put in that you might not agree with, whether it be because you think it's overkill or too expensive but remember we are going after big blues and monster flatheads, and when I say monsters, I mean monsters.

Let's start with the Penn Reels. There are many Penn reels that made the list of great reels to chase giant cats with.

The Senator series includes the 113, 114, and the 114h. These are reels that are at home on deep sea boats and chasing big cats.

The 320LD and the 330LD are both good lever drag reels that are being used by big catmen.

The 320GT2 and the 330GT2 are highly recommended by catfishing men wrestling world class catfish.

The Penn Jigmaster is another great reel.

Abu Garcia has several good reels with the Ambassadeur 6500TC, 7000 C3 and the 9000BG.

The Quantum Big Iron reels are loved by big cat chasers. The 420cx and 430cx are only on the secondary market so check Ebay.

Shimano makes some great reels. My favorite here is the TLD25, it's a lever drag model that will stand up to the big catfish demands. The Calcutta 700is also a big cat contender.

The Ocean Master 25 reel by Bass Pro is a cheaper copy of the Shimano TLD25. It is a good reel and for the money and a cheaper way to go. I have even taken these to Alaska to catch Halibut with.

If I missed your favorite big cat reels, please comment and I will check them out and add them to the list.

For more information on How To Catch Big Catfish,

see Part 3 of this article. How To Catch Big Catfish Part 3

Catfishing Tackle Supplier I Use

If you are looking for great catfishing tackle, great customer service and great prices then check out these guys, Bottom Dwellers Tackle Company. Tell'em I sent ya!



Catfishing Tacke at prices you can afford!
Catfishing Tacke at prices you can afford! | Source

Comments 31 comments

Timothy 6 years ago

I catfish every weekend. I agree that heavyweight, 50#+ braided line and 6/0 or larger hooks are essential. Every broken line or straightened hook felt like a world record. Also, ALWAYS double the line over when you tie knots!


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Gone Fishin Club 6 years ago Author

Hello Timothy, first off thank you for being the first person to comment on this page, I have lots of comments on the other Hubpages, http://hubpages.com/sports/How-To-Catch-Big-Catfis . Where are you catfishing every weekend? I know it is that not knowing feeling when the #100 Power Pro breaks that gets me every time. I've never had any of the Gamakatsu Octopus hooks straightened out yet. Yes that Eagle Claw gave up what I am sure was a good fish. Good luck fishing and thanks for reading and commenting on the page. Have you joined the Gone Fishin' Club? It's free to join and we do give away fishing equipment and other fishing related items through out the year. http://GoneFishinClub.com

Good Luck, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner


timdoggmcgraw 6 years ago

hello gary i live in az and am in search of bigcats myself am looking 2 beat the state record is chumming worth the hassle and money? if so what is the best chum receipe


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Gone Fishin Club 6 years ago Author

Hello Tim, I don't chum, when I do chum it is usually sweet feed or range cubes I use. I chum to gather up channel cats usually. As far as State records fish like the 71 pound flathead and 32 pound Channel Cat I would go with live baits on the flatheads, give them a smorgasbord of live baits. The channels you might chum up a state record on but again I would just fish areas where the big cats are caught. The only other thing I would add here is to ake sure your equipment is up to the challenge. There is no worse feeling than to hook a great fish and loose it. Good Luck, let us know how you do.

Thanks for your question, Gary


Jesse 5 years ago

I'm getting ready to fish Santee-Cooper (we'll be staying at Santee State Park) for the first time. I'll be going toward the end of January and I have no idea where to begin looking for a good fishing area.....Anmy suggestions on where to point my boat?


 5 years ago

Hello Jesse, thanks for your question. Which lake are you planning to fish? I have fished Marion lots of times and Moultrie a few. As fas as Moultrie is concerned I have seen great results drifting over it. On Marion there is good fishing all over, if you put in at Randolphs and go back up the shorline to the east, look for some good fishing spots there and along the where the old creek beds flowed in, have picked up several nice blues and flatheads down through there. One note about Lake Marion, watch for the stumps, they are everywhere. Now if you want to go up the lake further, put in at Jacks Creek and there is some good fishing in that area too. The biggest flathead I have seen was caught near Jacks Creek. Hope this helps, that is the awesome thing about Santee, the big cats are all over. Oh one more spot that is really popular is the Canal between the lakes. Often there are some nice cats caught there too. Let me know how you do.

Good Luck, make sure you use heavy gear if you are after the really big ones too.

Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner


MR.grizzgreen 5 years ago

I was wondering what would be some good openfaced spinning reels would be for catfish like this.


Fishpimp 5 years ago

How good is the penn 309m for 5foot shark


Berry 5 years ago

Just got home from a trip to Lake Marion with Capt D.Pruitt.No monsters but few(8) nice 20 to 30lbs blue.Love you site.My home water is the Chatt in Ga


scaredycatfishin 5 years ago

howdy i agree with all your info but on the abus you left out the 10000i i really like mine its held up real well and also the catmaxx series work well


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

ScaredyCatfishin, thanks for your comment and yes the Abu Garcia 1000i is a great reel for big cats, I like the CatMaxx products too, if you have some good pics send them to me at the Gone Fishin Club. Thanks Gary


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Hello Berry, glad you had a good trip, so where do you fish on the Hooch? If you need a tag a long one day give me a shout, I'm not far from there, I'm over near Athens.

Good luck fishing and thanks for reading and commenting on the page.

http://GoneFishinClub.com

Good Luck, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Fishpimp, thanks for your question, the Penn 309m will work for 5 foot long sharks, just make sure you use a line and rod that match your quarry. Where are you shark fishing at? I do prefer the lever drag Penn reels over the star drag but that is just my choice. Good luck with the fishing, let us know how you do.

Thanks, Gary


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Hello MR.grizzgreen, hope you have been catching some good fish your way. I decided to tackle your question so I built a new Hubpage to answer it. Please let me know what you think. Here is the link http://hubpages.com/sports/How-to-Catch-Big-Catfis...


john111 5 years ago

hello gary, i will soon be fishing the lake of the ozarks in missouri. although im a very good fisherman and know how to handle a big fish, i just have trouble finding them. do you have any tips as to where is a good place to place the lines?


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Hello John, well you are lucky to be heading to a great catfish hotspot like The Lake of the Ozarks. It is a very large compound and there are tons of good spots but if you can fish the tailrace area of Truman Dam you stand a great chance of finding some really big blue cats is the tailwaters . The regulations are tighter there and please check a current copy of the Fish and Game book to make sure you have current info. The Truman Dam tailwaters has had a limit of four catfish daily, any combination, channel, blue or flathead, but only one more than 24 inches in length. As far as I know the limit for the rest of the lake - with that exception of Truman Dam - is any mixture of 10 blues and channels and five flatheads with no length restrictions.Again please check current regulations as Fish and Game like to change things up occasionally.

Another area of mention would be Bagnell Dam, looks like there have been some really nice cats pulled from the tailrace waters there too. Hope this helps, if I find more info I will post it and if you get some scoop when you are there let me know. Also if you catch some nice fish email me pics thru the Gone Fishin Club and I will post them in this article.

Thanks, Gary


john111 5 years ago

one more follow up question if you dont mind, in my past of fishing dams, ive been advised not to fish inside of it for say but close to 50 yards out? would you agree? or do you feel differntly?


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Hey John, no problem, well for safety reasons they usually have the dam area buoyed off. The fish will be all over that area and inside and out of the wire and for your own safety and the people fishing with you I advise staying back the recomended distance. They also don't like you tying off to the buoy line. That being sais if you can anchor safely past that area you should find some good fish there. I'm glad you asked that question because I forgot to tell you one other good tip. Use your depth finder and starting at the buoy line work down stream looking for holes. The first good hole below a dam is usually a good place to find some big lazy flatheads and blues waiting on the food to wash to them. OK, Hope this helps, send me a good pic of your catch and you could WIN a Gone Fishin Club Hat or other prizes.

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Tuner


duckrig 5 years ago

Going to try for big channel cats. Do you prefer live bait or a big cut bait? Any suggestions would be great. Fishing Clear Lake in N. Ca


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Hello Duckrig, my apologies on taking so long to respond. I missed the comment when I checked for new ones last time. Big channel cats can be caught on a variety of baits. Live minnows work well, store bought stink baits work great sometimes and cut bait. If using cut bait catch some small bream and cut them off right behind the head making sure to keep some cuts intact and try that. You don't really need large chunks of bait because they can smell so good they will find it. Let me know how it is going and what is working there. If you have some great pictures send them to me.

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner


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Gone Fishin Club 5 years ago Author

Re-posted - corrected my spelling error, can't spell my own name some days Hope everybody is having a great summer and catching lots of fish!

Hey John, no problem, well for safety reasons they usually have the dam area buoyed off. The fish will be all over that area and inside and out of the wire and for your own safety and the people fishing with you I advise staying back the recomended distance. They also don't like you tying off to the buoy line. That being sais if you can anchor safely past that area you should find some good fish there. I'm glad you asked that question because I forgot to tell you one other good tip. Use your depth finder and starting at the buoy line work down stream looking for holes. The first good hole below a dam is usually a good place to find some big lazy flatheads and blues waiting on the food to wash to them. OK, Hope this helps, send me a good pic of your catch and you could WIN a Gone Fishin Club Hat or other prizes.

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner


Archie 4 years ago

Hello Gary. First off I would like to say thanks for creating this site. There aren't to many good catfishing sites out there really. I am from Southeast Texas, Jasper Texas to be exact. I fish on the lower part of the Neches River, and sometimes at Sam Rayburn. Both places are great but I enjoy fishing the river more so than the lake. The place I fish on the river is covered in shrubs and sunken logs, jams, and stumps. Prime fishing you would think. I have tried everything from perch, shad, minnows, worms, stink baits, liver... The list goes on and on. Recently I have lost two great fish due to being over anxious I suppose. My question is, how do I get more of these big cats to bite? I know they are there. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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Gone Fishin Club 4 years ago Author

Hello Archie, sorry for the delay in reply. It has been a long time since I fished Sam Rayburn. Ok, so lets talk about the river first. Are you fishing off the bank? How much of the river there have you seen? Is it accessible for you to look at a good size stretch of the river?

The hole that you did have 2 good fish hooked in, what were you using for bait? If you can get access to walk along the river look for more holes like the one you mentioned, that does sound like a good catfish hangout. One thing may be that there is another really good hole close by up or down river and there are more good cats hiding there. Just an idea you can check into. Also are you using a carolina rig set up or bobbers and floats. Try both, if you start losing too much tackle switch to the bobbers. Fish the whole hole, get up river and either bottom bump or float your bait up to right before the hole and see if any fish are feeding there, next let your bait go a little further in, if not bite still drift it through the hole. If there are snags try to let the bait swirl back into them, sometimes you may talk a resting cat into biting. Try this with several different baits. Cut creek chubs and bluegills for channel catfish and blues. For flatheads go to live sunfish or creek chubs or shad. Whatever you can catch should work fine for bait, check your local regulations. OK, thats all for now, I will get back to you on the lake ideas! If you can send me more info on where you fish on the lake and boat or shore,

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner


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Gone Fishin Club 4 years ago Author

Hey Archie, ok I read my reply over again, I missed a little, after you fish the hole from all the front you can get another angle on it and fish the spots at the back if there are any you can cast to. If you see any deadfalls in the river don't overlook them, make a few quick casts around them and see if you find a few cats hiding there. If you don't get bites here after 15 or 20 minutes go on looking for the next deep hole full of rocks and good snags!

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner


Archie 4 years ago

Hey Gary. Thanks for the reply. No problem on the delay. At Sam Rayburn I usually fish as close to the dam as possible. There is a large Y below the dam. I fish there alot as well. As far as the river, I can see (most of it) almost half mile in either direction. Most is pretty tuff terrain on foot, but I use a boat. Im going for the big flatheads. Thanks again Gary.


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Gone Fishin Club 4 years ago Author

Hey Archie, have you had a chance to look for more holes along the river? If you can maybe ride several miles up and down from your launch point and look for the best holes and snags. If you can find the best hole on that stretch of river this is where you should concentrate on getting a big flathead, if you don't get anything there go to the next best looking spot. As far as fishing below the dam, if you can access the spot right where the end of the wash out hole starts into the river that might be a good spot to find some big fish.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Sam+Rayburn+Dam,+Jas...

If there are some water seams where the fast current meets a slow area try to get a bait to drift along that seam, often cats will wait there to ambush food. Let me know how the catch is coming.Also after fishing that area if you can find the first big hole below the dam fish it, often this is a place the big cats will hole up.

When you catch that monster send me a pic. gary (at) gonefishinclub.com

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner


Naterbater@me.com 4 years ago

Hey is the shimano tld 15 a good catfish reel? I'm not sure cus I don't think ill get any thing over fifty pounds


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Gone Fishin Club 4 years ago Author

Hello Naterbater, I like the Shimano TLD, I use the 25 series for some big Catfishing, yes I think you will like the TLD 15 and it should handle all the catfish you want to catch, match it to a good rod and go fishing! Good Luck, if you have anymore questions you can find me here or contact me on the contact page of GoneFishinClub.com

http://www.GoneFishinClub.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner


swiger 4 years ago

I have a abu garcia 6500and a abu garcia 6600 rocket and they work awsome for big cats i fish the ohio river and some cat tournaments here in westvirginia. These reels handle 50 pound line great.


cody hensley 3 years ago

I have a shimano baitrunner 4500 is this a good reel to use thanks


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Gone Fishin Club 3 years ago Author

Hey Cody Hensley, how are you doing? Have you been catching any big catfish this summer? As far as your Shimano Baitrunner 4500 spinning reel. These are some of the most durable reels on the market. Shimano took their classic Shimano Baitrunner reels and made them even better. The baitrunner series reels are used for fish in both salt and freshwater and have some great features.

• Aluminium Spool

• Oversized Power Roller

• XT7 Body

• Dyna Balance

• SBL

Shimano Baitrunner 4500B Specs

Gear 4.8:1 Capacity 14/295 17/250 20/195

If you are looking for some more cool catfishing information go here:

http://www.MaximumCatfishing.com

Thanks, Gary "Gone Fishin" Turner

"Tight Lines and Squealin' Reels Make Me Smile Everytime"

Gary Turner

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