A large percentage of freshwater fishing involves repeatedly casting and retrieving lures. Spending the day engaged in this “run and gun” fishing style can be both exciting and physically tiring. In contrast, recreational catfish enthusiasts enjoy a slower, more subdued pace. A typical fishing scenario involves casting out a pungent smelling bait and leaving it lay on the river bottom. The idea is to allow the bait's scent signature to dissipate throughout the water and attract fish. Due to the “sit and wait” nature of catfish fishing, an abundance of time is consumed through relaxation and camaraderie.
Baits used for catfish fishing are very diverse. Using online recipes, some fishermen make their own bait while others choose store bought options or live bait. If your preference is to utilize store bought baits, consider Berkley Power Bait. Remember that most catfish baits have very strong scents which easily transfer to your hands and everything else you touch, so wearing gloves while handling them is a wise choice.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the largest catfish caught in Pennsylvania weighed over 48 pounds. This is a testament to the fact that Pennsylvania's lakes and rivers provide an ecosystem where catfish can grow rather large. For a complete list of Pennsylvania’s state record fish, see the Fish and Boat Commission web site.
To accommodate catching very large fish, catfish tournament anglers use robust rod and reel configurations. These folks have a vested interest in purchasing gear specific to catfish because they frequently catch large fish and they're often fishing for cash prizes. Those of us casually fishing for catfish should consider using a medium to medium-heavy rig with a minimum of 10lb. test fishing line. It's important to note that catfish can fight very hard, so understanding how to effectively use the drag feature on your reel is beneficial.
Spend some time catfish fishing this summer and you may just get hooked on it. Good luck.