A spinning reel for catching blue catfish should, first of all, be powerful and contain at least 200 meters of braided cord with a diameter of 0.50 mm, have a strong and thick axis in diameter and a reliable friction clutch. The weight of the reels for catching catfish and the number of bearings play a less important role, in contrast to reels designed for catching other types of fish. First of all, the coil must be strong and reliable: when even medium catfish is caught, the coil body and its internal mechanisms experience heavy loads. Do not save on reels or use items not designed for this type of fishing.
Quick Overview – Best Spinning reel for Catfish
The American blue catfish looks just like a giant tadpole and is impossible to confuse with any other fish. It has an elongated muscular body, a small rounded tail that joins the anal fin and runs along the underside of the fish, and a very insignificant dorsal fin. It has a large flat head and a huge mouth with lots of tiny, but sharp, top and bottom teeth that feel like rough Velcro.
At the back of the mouth are hard bony plates, used for cracking the shells of mussels and crustacea, or the bones of prey fish. At the top corners of the upper jaw are two very long feelers, or whiskers, with four smaller appendages on the lower jaw used for finding food. It has highly sensitive scent glands, making it an efficient night feeder despite its tiny eyes. Catfish coloration varies from water to water: those from clear waters can be very dark, sometimes nearly black, and those from murkier waters are often mid-grey or light brown. All catfish have mottled flanks and a creamy white belly.
Habitat and Location
The ideal catfish water is a weedy overgrown and very rich estate lake, with an abundance of freely spawning prey fish to sustain this king of predators. Possibly the most famous water in Alabama (Holt Reservoir), Arkansas (Millwood, Conway and Ouachita lakes), Louisiana (Lake Des Allemandes), Missouri (Truman Lake), Texas (Brazos and Colorado Rivers) where, despite the good head of big cats in quite a small lake, the number of other fish is quite astonishing. The distribution of catfish in the US is escalating fast as the demand for the fish grows. In most waters, in dull conditions or at night when they are scavenging, catfish forage quite close to the margins. They spend bright daylight hours under any snags in the lake or in depressions in the lake bed.
The present US record is 130-pound taken in 2012, but in some ways, this is very misleading. The largest catfish caught on rod and line in the US exceeded 121-pound in, but as this fish was stocked without the correct documentation it was discounted for record purposes. Most anglers consider a 20 lb (9.07 kg) catfish a specimen and a 100-pound fish something quite exceptional.
Behavior and Feeding Habits
The catfish is an opportunist feeder and the ultimate scavenger. At night it roams the margins, taking swan mussels, dead fish, small mammals, frogs, newts and leeches. Even small water birds are not safe from catfish attack, and there have been several reports of baby coots and moorhens disappearing into that cavernous mouth. As well as very efficiently locating its food by its incredible senses of smell and touch, the catfish also has something else going for it. It is equipped with ultra-sensitive hearing and vibration detection, courtesy of linkage of its swim bladder to the ears via a series of small bones. This gives the cat terrific sound amplification so that a small fish passing in pitch darkness effectively ringing a dinner gong for a hungry catfish. Catfish anglers who travel abroad have used this sound amplification ability to their own advantage, where slapping the surface of the water with a flat paddle attracts cats from quite a distance.
Anglers have wide choices of bait, but all successful baits will have either movement or a good smell. Live baits obviously trigger the reaction to vibration but can be self-defeating if the water contains a large number of pike. Wire traces are not required for cats; in fact, their very sensitive whiskers would probably reject this presentation anyway, and it is unethical to fish with this method without wire when pike are about. Obviously, this applies equally to dead baits. Where pike is not a problem, anglers often use polystyrene balls on the hook to keep the bait lively, or two or three small baits on the same hook to create the effect of a shoal. The smellier the bait the better: chopped fish, squid, fishmeal boilies, spicy sausages, liver chunks and heavily flavored luncheon meats of a number of varieties have all caught cats.
Despite its powerful dimensions, the catfish is quite a shy biting fish, especially on hard-fished waters, and is intolerant of resistance. It is therefore important to arrange for your tackle to be free-running once the bait has been taken. As many catfish waters are quite small and the fish are reliable margin feeders anyway, there is little need for long casting and freelining is a viable method. Where you need lead, say for tethering a legered live bait, make it the minimum possible.