With brute energy and a nasty angle, catfish are an thrilling goal species. Fishing for cats just isn’t for the faint-hearted. Wels fanatic and former Ebro information Jim Sutherland presents some useful recommendation.
The Wels catfish
Whether or not it’s their sheer energy, or one on your bucket record, fishing for catfish is an exhilarating expertise. They signify not solely a mysterious, lethal quarry, however for a lot of anglers, the possibility to catch your greatest ever freshwater fish.
After all there are various catfish species everywhere in the world, however for the needs of this text we’re referring to the Wels, or European catfish (Silurus glanis). A voracious hunter and scavenger, these beasts can develop to a formidable dimension. On the River Ebro, Spain, the place I used to information for the species, they run to over 200lbs. However within the UK, many waters now maintain fish to 40lbs and greater.
No matter your causes for looking for catfish, they’re a beast that calls for a particular, thought of method. There are usually not many fish that may strip line at such an alarming fee, or ask a lot of your sort out. Listed below are a number of golden guidelines to get you off the the correct begin.
Preparation, confidence and respect
Preparation is crucial for any profitable angler. The place do you start this problem? Discovering waters that maintain an affordable provide of catfish is one of the best begin. It’s no use heading to a venue with only one or two rumoured monsters. You could possibly have a protracted outdated wait and little doubt the novelty will dwindle after the second night time and also you’ll begin to marvel why you bothered.
Initially a minimum of, follow a water that holds a great head of catfish that adjust in dimension. As much as about 40lb could be a great begin. However at all times be ready for the surprising, as a result of catfish are sometimes a little bit of an unknown. I’ve fished waters and managed to winkle out monsters that the homeowners had forgotten about or didn’t even know existed!
One wonderful supply of data is the Catfish Conservation Group. They’ve a listing of catfish waters. I might at all times decide one nearer to dwelling earlier than you consider venturing additional afield. You will have to persevere for some time to catch your first cat, so focusing on a fishing venue nearer to dwelling will can help you focus your efforts.
Sort out for catfish
Catfish are a robust species that may punish any weak spot in your sort out, so you have to have full confidence in your gear. Carp sort out will typically suffice, however it’s essential to step up your strains and different gear to deal with them.
Rods: Select a rod that may double up for the bigger carp, as most waters will maintain a doable PB, so once more, count on the surprising! Go for a 13ft three.5tc. There’s a good vary available on the market however bear in mind, these rods do the job and you should have much more pleasure when combating the battle. You don’t want a telegraph pole to catch cats!
Reels: I favor huge pit reels for catfishing. The straightforward motive being that these creatures can simply tear off 100m of line on one run. You’ve been warned! In case you are night time fishing, you’ll be able to set your baitrunners somewhat tighter than for carp, to assist set the hook. Make sure you set your drag fastidiously.
Line: It should be a sturdy braid, as they are going to take you to locations on a lake that solely they know. Behind bushes, islands, gravel bars and the very last thing you need is to lose your quarry since you opted for a budget seats! Go for a 20-30lb breaking pressure at least.
The Enterprise Finish: You’ve a alternative between an inline lead or lead clip. I often use each choices on my two rods. Inline is best for distance casting I discover, though cats are usually not at all times removed from the financial institution. Actually, they are going to patrol shut in at night time.
When fishing to snags shut in, a lead clip system that may dump your weight in the course of the battle is one of the best system. This could assist keep away from getting weeded or smashed up. I have a tendency to make use of three.5 or 4oz leads for cats, as this weight tends to hook them right away so there’s no want for a vicious strike on the rod – you’ll be able to simply elevate into them.
Hook hyperlink and bait: You need to use massive boilies, and even small lifeless or stay baits the place permitted, however I have a tendency to love pellets. I hair rig two 21mm halibut pellets on one rod and three on the opposite. Why, you might ask? As I’ve stated, you must typically count on the surprising, huge carp! I exploit a catlink of about 23inches and 70lb breaking pressure. The catfish have tooth like very coarse sandpaper and they’re going to do their utmost to chew by means of your chief!
Do you have to be lucky sufficient to seize a fish, do at all times double-check your rig for put on and tear earlier than recasting. You’d be shocked on the variety of fish misplaced attributable to blunt hooks or a frayed little bit of hook hyperlink. Use a couple of 4inch hair, and even longer, as you’ll be able to at all times take up the surplus by wrapping it across the hook. The pellet might be arduous up in opposition to the hook if want be.
I at all times wish to have a number of pellets soaking in halibut oil for hook bait. Soak these for every week, as you might need to depend on the aroma to draw your quarry. A 9-ply pva stringer with round 5-7 pellets round your hook bait often works a deal with.
By way of different bait, I might at all times advocate groundbaiting for cats. Fishmeal primarily based mixes are preferrred, as are any crumb mixes that may also attract small prey fish. Cats can eat quite a bit, so you may as well introduce loads of free choices, equivalent to massive pellets and fishmeal boilies. Prebaiting may also be nicely definitely worth the effort.
Hooks: Use both a BP Particular dimension 1 or 2, or an Eagle Claw dimension four. At all times be sure you are allowed to make use of these hooks on a venue. If there’s a dimension restriction, a pleasant large gape carp hook will do the job properly.
Backleads: It’s at all times value pinning the road down with captive again leads and these will drop off while you lean into the fish. It’s not that catfish are line shy, however extra the case you need it pinned out of the best way, as a result of these are huge, clumsy fish! You don’t need spaghetti junction at 3am.
Evening fishing: A tidy rod pod or two financial institution sticks, totally alarmed, is good for catfishing. Chew alarms are very helpful, provided that I discover late night, night time, and early morning the most efficient time. You may’t beat the nice and cozy summer season nights, when catfish will probably be at their most lively within the 12 months.
So that you’ve hooked your catfish, the following query is how on earth are you going to land it? We come again to the golden rule of preparation. You’ve two selections right here. A big touchdown web or a glove. I at all times go for the glove technique however it will possibly really feel a bit unnatural at first.
If utilizing the glove technique, be sure you have some thought of the hook maintain. You don’t wish to run the danger of a late night time outing to A&E! The fish is prone to be drained so it is going to really feel heavy. Don’t be fooled. Faucet the cat on the top, ought to its mouth be shut, and it’ll oblige. Put your hand into the mouth and place your thumb beneath its chin. It’s going to really feel like a suitcase deal with however keep alert. They’ll catch you out and it’s commonplace to get a damaged wrist from 100lb+ fish.
For many newcomers to catfishing, the web is the best way. Pack an additional massive triangular-headed web, totally anticipating a fish that may very well be six to eight toes lengthy! A big, well-padded unhooking mat can also be a should.
A powerful, high quality pair of lengthy nosed forceps is a should for unhooking, Despite their imply appearances, catfish might be fairly docile on the financial institution. However you have to take cost of the state of affairs, so be constructive and maintain the fish beneath management.
At all times have your mat and unhooking instruments collectively, and a spot to take your image labored out beforehand. It’s important to not stress the fish in any approach and get it again to the place it belongs ASAP. When releasing, maintain the fish and provides it a few head rubs. You may even kiss it if you’re that approach inclined (simply don’t inform the spouse)! The fish will inform YOU when it is able to swim off – and what a second – to see that monster say goodbye with a sudden wrench of energy. They’re not everybody’s cup of tea, however you merely can’t assist respect a creature like that.