How to build a catfish box

Catfish fishing is a sport enjoyed by all types of anglers and there are many different ways to fish for them. One method that has been around for a very long time and used by many anglers is trapping the fish in a catfish box. This is simply a long rectulanglar box that has an opening shaped like a funnel on one end. This allows the catfish to get in but it can’t get back out once inside.
This type of fishing can be very effective and you can use it in most any type of water where trapping fish is allowed. Some states do not allow trapping so find out what the laws are for your area before you go fishing. Some areas will allow you to use this method but there are strict guidelines that you must follow. For example, when trapping the channel catfish the trap must be large enough for the fish to move around because this is how it breaths. If the catfish box is too small, the channel cat will suffocate.
When you’re ready to try your hand at trapping catfish, you’ll need to get your traps ready. You can buy catfish boxes that come in a variety of sizes or you can make your own. It doesn’t take a lot of time or materials to build a catfish box so if you’re handy with the tools, you may want to give it a try.
Here are the basic instructions on how to build a catfish box:
* Decide how big you want your trap to be. This will be based on the size catfish you hope to catch. You will need the box to be a foot or so larger than the size catfish you want to catch.
* Gather together all of your materials. To make your trap you’ll need the following: Oak board (preferably one inch thick), table saw, hammer, nails, hinges, latch and safety glasses.
* Cut the boards according to the size you want to use (standard size is 2x2x5 feet). You’ll need four sections this size.
* Nail three sides of the catfish box together. This would be the bottom and two sides.
* Cut a piece of wood for the backside. For a standard trap, you’ll need it to be 2×2 feet. You need this side to open so you can get the catfish out. Nail the hinges onto the bottom part of the back panel and bottom of the box and place the latch to hold it shut on the top sections.
* Now you need an entrance shaped like a funnel. This will allow the catfish to enter but not go back out. You can construct a funnel shape entrance out of wood by building two frames (one smaller than the other) and nailing slats on the inside of the frames to create the funnel. You can also use wire to construct the funnel entrance.
* The last step is to place the top of the box on and nail it to the sides. Your catfish box is complete and ready to use.
Once your catfish box or boxes are finished, you’re ready to take them to the water. Pick a spot next to rocks, stumps, heavy brush and so forth to set your traps. It’s best if they are completely submerged underwater and you can put a heavy rock inside the trap to hold it down if needed. However, it’s a good idea that you mark your spot so you don’t have any trouble finding your traps.
Before submerging your trap in place, you need to bait it. You can use most anything from baitfish to stink bait, whatever you think will get the attention of the catfish in your area. Once the box is in place, all you have to do is sit back, relax and wait for a fish to take the bait.
Fishing with a catfish box is fun and a great way to bring home a nice catch but you must be a responsible angler when using this method. Never leave your catfish box unattended for long periods. It’s best if you stay with the trap when fishing and take them out of the water when you’re ready to leave.
However, in some cases you may need to leave but if you do, make sure you can be back to check the trap within a few hours. It’s recommended that you check them at least every two to three hours because you don’t want to leave a catfish stuck in these traps for a long time. If you do, they will most likely die inside the trap.
Building and fishing with catfish boxes is a great way to spend time with your kids. You can teach them a form of fishing that’s been around for centuries. It’s an easy and effective way to catch catfish. One reason many anglers prefer using boxes instead of a more traditional form of fishing is because it doesn’t damage the fish in any way.


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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