Catfish are not picky. They will eat anything that smells, and if we counted every single catfish that anybody ever caught anywhere and at any time in history, there is no doubt in our minds that they would overwhelmingly have been caught on dead bait. But further refine that population of catfish catchers, and the big ones (catfish, not catfishers) were all caught on live baits. “But they are not predators!” you might say – and you would be right. They are “inferior” fish, meaning that their bottom jaws are shorter than their upper jaws. Designed to eat on the bottom, even their eyes are better-suited for looking down.
Catfish Species Essentials: The "Big Three" Types Of Catfish
The goonch is a mysterious catfish species that inhabits the rocky, swift moving rivers of central Asia’s Ganges, Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins—with some of the largest specimens taken in India, where they commonly exceed 45 kilograms (100 pounds). Its large size, enormous mouth, and beady eyes give the goonch an intimidating appearance which has added to its allure among anglers. Its normal diet includes fish, shrimp, frogs and insects; but like most catfish species, the goonch is an opportunistic feeder with a very liberal palate. Constantly battling strong river currents of its natural habitat makes the goonch extremely powerful, and attractive to anglers in search of a rod-bending challenge. Live or dead bait, fished with enough weight to hold the bottom of swift moving rivers, is one of the more popular methods for targeting goonch. Medium to heavy tackle is recommended—if not required—given the size of the fish and the swift-moving, rock-lined, rivers where it’s found. This species is relatively new to the sport fishing world, so the methods of angling for these fish are still being perfected as we learn more about this catfish.
Catfish (Siluriformes) - Animals - A-Z Animals
As the largest catfish species found in North America, the blue cat has long been a favorite target of freshwater anglers looking for a bullish fight to test their skill and tackle. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River basin systems – extending north into South Dakota and south into Mexico and northern Guatemala. The species has also been introduced into the eastern United States, where it has clearly flourished and grown to record size. Blue catfish frequent deep areas of large rivers and lakes, but are also found in areas with swift current, where they forage for passing food items – both alive and dead. Preferred baits when targeting the blue catfish include live and dead herring, bluegill, bream, crawfish, blood worms, chicken livers and stink bait. Although most blue catfish are caught with bait, they can also be tricked with bucktail jigs, plastic worms and flies. Anglers targeting blue catfish will usually present their bait on the bottom, as this is where the fish spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. Their large size, strong fights and quality meat all make the blue catfish a top freshwater game fish.
Where To Find Catfish On A River - YouTube