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Catfish Fishing in the Everglades

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

The Florida Everglades are world-famous for their meandering rivers, shallow flats, streams, ponds, swamps, mangrove shorelines, lakes, hidden underwater coves and other geological water formations. This richness, combined with the tropical climate, creates perfect habitats for various unique ecosystems that thrive in the Everglades. The diversity of life in these waters ensures that all species of fish have a selection of food sources available to them, and catfish are no exception. These fish can grow into true giants here and we catch them excitedly in the Everglades.

There are many ways to catch catfish and there are a variety of species available. Anglers catch these beasts ranging in size from 1lb to far in excess of 100lbs. These whiskered fish survive comfortably in all types of water. They are found inhabiting every watery nook and cranny of the Everglades. Giant catfish seem to prefer rivers and these successful predators are absolutely thrilling when hooked; providing anglers with an inspiring fight indeed.

Catfish are generally bottom feeders, although they will eat floating bait as well. In fact, these hardy fish will eat anything if it will fit into their mouths. They locate their food using their sense of smell; and you need to take full advantage of this fact when fishing for catfish in the Everglades. These are the most popular species of catfish swimming in the Everglades:

  • Flathead Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • White Catfish
  • Blue Catfish

There are a number of tricks that you can use to catch catfish, but the techniques are not complicated at all. Catfish enthusiasts tend to make the mistake of never trying anything new; always fishing in the same place, rigging one particular setup, using the same tried and tested bait and they will never deviate from the technique that caught them that massive Channel Catfish a while back. The reality is that integrating a few new tips into your routine will make you a successful catfish angler. You can catch these interesting fish in the Everglades with any bait, any tackle and any techniques. If one method is not working, then try something else:

  • Regardless of which catfish species you are targeting, you can use practically any bait to catch them. Commercial stink baits, night crawlers, minnows, cut bait, live fish, crabs, crayfish, chicken livers, live baby chicks, lures, flies and even soaps and medicines. However, if you are after giants then we recommend using cut baits. Their sense of smell is so acute that they can smell bodily fluids over vast distances. Cutting your bait will attract every catfish lurking in the area.
  • In rivers, there are pools and rapids where you can find catfish. Where the fast-flowing water has carved the channel deeper, it will have created a depression or hole which is the deepest part of the pool. This is most likely where you will find large numbers of catfish.
  • Rocks, logs, fallen trees, shade, deep waters and other shelters provide protection and some of them cause breaks in the current. You will often find catfish waiting there to ambush any prey that passes by.
  • You can catch catfish while still-fishing and drift-fishing. You can try both of these methods from the bank or from a boat.
  • Ensure your hooks are sharp, or you may have trouble hooking these fish. Use long rods over seven feet in length for the best chances of success. They will help you to cast further and give you more manoeuvrability around cover. They will also give you better control of your bait.
  • Stay alert. Know when a catfish takes your bait. Use bobbers or other indicators to show when your line has a bite on it.
  • Keep your rig simple. One of the best rigs is a lead jig head that has a piece of shad or herring (or any cut bait) impaled on your hook.

Call today to book your Catfish Fishing Charter and be awed by their size and fighting spirit.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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