3 NC Catfishing Techniques

North Carolina is famous for its beautiful mountains, gorgeous beaches and excellent fishing. There are many species found in NC but the catfish are among the most sought out. This has a lot to do with the fact that catfish are fun and exciting to catch. It may be a little slow at first but when you get one hooked, the excitement begins. They’ll fight hard and the ones you do catch will make a tasty meal. North Carolina’s lakes, ponds and rivers are all full of flathead, blue and channel catfish.
Here are some of the best places to catch catfish in the Tar Heel state:
* Cape Fear River
* Roanoke River
* Lake Phelps
* Tar River
* Lake Waccamaw
* Neuse River
* Yadkin River
* Lake Norman
* Badin Lake
* Lake Chatuge
* Falls Lake
* Lake Mattamuskeet
* Lake Sutton
Anglers use a variety of techniques to catch catfish in North Carolina with great success. With so many excellent places to fish throughout the state, there are just as many anglers fishing from the shore as it is from boats. This gives you even more variety and makes it easier to go catfish fishing anytime.
Here are 3 NC catfishing techniques most often used when fishing in these waters:
1. Casting- Casting is very effective for this species because it allows you to get your bait around structures where the catfish are located. When casting from the shoreline, look for a clearing where you can cast your lines without the trees and brush getting in the way and obstructing your cast. Fish near river bends, brush, submerged trees and similar underwater structures because this is where the catfish are most often found.
2. Drifting- Drift fishing is a great way to catch catfish that is just as effective when done onshore as it is when fishing from a boat. Pick a prime location for catfish and cast your line above the area. Let the bait drift with the current through the strike zone where it can get the attention of the fish. This method works best in slow to moderate currents that won’t drag the bait too fast. It’s also a good idea to use a bobber so you can tell when you have a bite and keep your line tight at all times.
3. Still-fishing- This is a great method to use because it won’t startle the catfish. When fishing from a boat you can ease out to places that you can’t reach from the shore, lower your bait in place and wait for the catfish to take hold. However, this technique works well when fishing from the bank too.
If you want to seek out the trophy catfish, make sure you have the equipment to handle them. Even the smaller cats have broke a few fishing lines or snapped rods into from time to time. Therefore, you can imagine how tough reeling in a trophy fish will be.
Here are a few more tips to help make each one of your NC catfishing trips a success:
* Learn as much about the lake or river where you plan to fish as you can. Use a map of the water to help you learn where the structures are located or take advantage of electronics that can help you find the fish much faster.
* Go fishing at night when you can. This is a great time to seek out the trophy cat because they tend to be the most active at night.
* Use live bait if you can. Catfish will hit lures but you’ll get better results using minnows, shad or nightcrawlers. If you don’t want to use live bait, then stink bait or homemade baits is the next best thing. Anything with an odor will get their attention because they hunt food with their sensory buds located on their barbells. They have poor eyesight so there is no reason to try to use something based on sight alone.
* Most of the time the catfish will nibble on the bait before taking it so don’t get too eager to set that hook. You’ll know when they actually take it because the fish will often run with the bait pulling the rod and reel out of the hands of the fisherman who’s not paying close attention.
These tips can help you catch more catfish as you hit the waters in NC. If you’ve never caught a catfish before, you may be a little amazed at just how strong this species is. You will need to exercise patience when fishing for catfish in North Carolina because they can be a very stubborn species. For this reason, you never know for sure when they’ll bite or which baits they’ll be attracted to the most. Even though it can be difficult catching them, it’s also a lot of fun trying.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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