Catfish are one of the most popular and pursued types of fish, with more than 7 million anglers targeting the species worldwide. Famous for its delicious taste, wide distribution, yearly availability, hard-fighting abilities, massive size, and simplicity to catch in terms of inexpensive equipment, catfish fishing can be such a delight.
Types of Catfish
There are three different catfish types found in the United States; Blue catfish, Flathead catfish, and Channel catfish. Although they all present in the same waters and may sometimes hunt for the same prey, they are entirely different species.
The catfish is known to be a predator by nature. They thrive by feeding on various food sources around them, including small fish, insects, snails, worms, crayfish, algae, fish eggs, and small mammals. Their diet will, however, vary with the type of catfish.
1. Blue Catfish
The blue catfish is sought after by many anglers for their hard-fighting nature and their size. They are large, silvery-blue, smooth-skinned fish with eight black whiskers on their mouth, a deeply forked tail, a white underside, a flat dorsal hump, and a protruding upper jaw.
They are mainly found in large rivers, showing up in main channels, impoundments of river systems, and tributaries. They often move downstream during the winter to find warm water and move upstream during the summer to find cooler waters.
Blue catfish are opportunistic feeders and eat any fish species they catch and any available aquatic material, including frogs, crawfish, worms, plants, small crustaceans, crabs, and smaller fish. This fish prefers live and freshly cut bait and is attracted by strongly scented bait.
2. Channel Catfish
Channel catfish are one of the most common catfish species found in the US, coming second after the bass in many areas. They have an olive-brown body with shades of grey or blue at times and a silvery-white underside. They also have whiskers around the mouth, a protruding upper jaw, and a deeply forked tail fin.
The channel catfish is commonly found in large rivers, streams, reservoirs, and lakes with moderate or low current. Like the blue catfish, the channel catfish are also opportunistic predators and feed on any fish species or aquatic food sources, including crustaceans, small fish, plants, mussels, and insects.
This fish prefers live or freshly cut bait.
3. Flathead Catfish
Flathead catfish are one of the most common species of catfish found in the US. They have a yellow to brown body with spotty and mottled ventral sides, a pale-yellow underside, and a wide and flat head, hence the name. Flathead catfish also have whiskers around the mouth, a protruding lower jaw, and a slightly notched and square-like tail fin.
They are solitary fish, known to pick a spot under a log, tree or dwell in deeper waters, making them extremely hard to find. They are mainly found in large water bodies but can also be found in large rivers, reservoirs, tributaries, and ponds. Unlike the bluefish, they prefer slow-moving water.
Can You Use Frogs as Bait while Catfish Fishing?
It’s common knowledge that the best bait to use while hunting is live and fresh bait. This principle also applies when fishing. Catfish anglers worldwide understand that in most scenarios, the freshest bait makes the best bait.
Anglers are allowed to use live frogs as bait. However, this only applies if local fishing guidelines and state laws allow them to use live frogs as effective bait for fishing for various species. Frogs have been used as bait to capture multiple species, including catfish, chain pickerel, bass, northern pike, walleye, and many more.
In a perfect fishing scenario, your state would allow you to use frogs as bait while catfish fishing, and you would walk into a local bait store and buy frogs. However, many catfish anglers aren’t as lucky and are forced to go through great lengths to secure live frogs from their habitat.
How to Catch Frogs to Use as Live Bait
Frogs are part of the freshwater aquatic food chain. They can, therefore, be eaten by any animal larger than them. The following animals feed on frogs; snakes, turtles, coyotes, herons, raccoons, skunks, largemouth bass, catfish, chain pickerel, and northern pike.
Frogs breed in their thousands in shallow weedy rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. The leopard frog, one of the most widely distributed and commonly used frog species as bait, leaves its eggs submerged in vegetation in rivers and ponds. For this reason, frogs are massively available for two to three months.
To catch a live frog, you’ll have to get your hands dirty. You can use your bare hands, a long-handled net, or specially-designed traps to catch frogs. If you don’t intend to capture your frog, there are numerous artificial frog lures in the market designed to look like real frogs.
How to Use Frogs as Bait
There isn’t a definite way to use live frogs while catfish fishing. It’s as simple as attaching a live frog to your line and casting it out near the edge of weeds. Frogs can be hooked in the thigh or through both lips. But hooking the frog using its foreleg enables the amphibian to maintain its maximum swimming ability, making it a more appealing bait.
Since fish rarely strike when a frog is in the open, one method you could employ when using a live frog as bait is to hook your frog through the lips and cast it out approximately 10 feet from the nearest weeds or lily pads. Let the frog swim freely on its own for a few minutes. Once the frog gains its bearing, it will swim to the nearest protective cover, making it the perfect bait for catfish.
Another method you could use is to attach your frog in a weedless hook and cast it in the weeds or lily pads, then gently bounce your bait through the rubble on the surface. It’s critical to use a weedless hook and a strong fishing line for this method.
Can You Use Dead Frogs as Bait? While flathead catfish only feed on live prey, channel and blue catfish can feed on live, fresh cuts and dead frogs.
How to Keep Frogs Alive for Catfish Fishing
Alive frogs don’t make the ideal bait since they are likely to hop away, and they have to be kept alive. Frogs are very delicate creatures. Their highly-absorbent skin, which easily takes in impurities and pollutants from the water, makes them very sensitive. This means that if you store frogs in an unclean container, any solutions or chemicals in the water will be absorbed by the frog.
To keep your frog alive, use a clean bucket or a makeshift fish holder. To keep your frogs alive after you’ve hooked them, avoid casting them as much as possible and be gentle while moving them over the debris.
Contrary to the blue catfish and the channel catfish, flatheads only feed on live prey, including worms, crayfish, insects, and invertebrates. The species typically weigh a maximum of 100 pounds but may weigh up to 120 pounds.
Knowing the physical difference between the types of catfish and their feeding habits is essential when it comes to catfish fishing. This will help you identify the type of catfish you intend to catch and find the appropriate bait to use while at it.
Although handling them isn’t the easiest task, frogs make the perfect bait for catfish. With appropriate fishing equipment and an ideal lure, you are guaranteed a fantastic catfish fishing experience.