In the Field

Deadly White Jig Fishing Challenge – Episode #5 – Channel Catfish

Deadly White Jig Fishing Challenge – Episode #5 – Channel Catfish

Welcome to episode #5 of the DWJ fishing challenge. In this video, I’ll be fly fishing for channel catfish with the Deadly White Jig. You heard right, fly fishing for catfish! Now many folks believe that in order to catch a good ol’ catfish you need to kick back on a big muddy riverbank somewhere on a hot summer day and go after them with a huge, heavy-weight spinning or baitcasting rod, with some kind of awful smelling, disgusting, rotting filth for bait, along with a few ounces of lead to get that nasty bait way down deep on the bottom where the catfish dwell. Well, that’s certainly one way to go after them, but there are some fun, more action-packed alternatives, such as fly fishing.

The channel catfish, along with the much larger blue and flathead catfish, are found in the big river systems of the United States, such as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Channel cats are also commonly stocked in lakes and ponds all over the country, as they’re a great eating fish and a lot of fun to catch for people of all ages and skill levels. They tend to hang out in deep pools of water close to cover, but they move into shallower water to actively feed…usual at night…but sometimes throughout the day as well. The channel catfish is the official state fish of several different states and commonly weighs in from 1 to 15 pounds and are 12 -32 inches long, however, they can reach sizes of over 50 pounds.

fly fishing for catfish
(From top to bottom) The channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish.

Channel cats are omnivores and eat a variety of foods such as insects, other fish, plants, and yes, rotting cheese and nasty chicken livers. Catfish are like a big swimming nose and tongue, as they have an incredible sense of smell and taste which they use to seek out a meal, but they also feed by touch and even sight where water conditions are somewhat clear, which makes fly-fishing for catfish with the Deadly White Jig a fun and unique challenge.

I’m going after these fish with a 6wt fly rod, a 6lb fluorocarbon tippet, and a strike indicator to control the exact depth, which is especially key when trying to catch catfish. And while all this may sound a little crazy, catching catfish on a small jig and light gear is really not all that uncommon, as many record catfish (especially flathead catfish) have been caught over the years rather accidentally by people who were fishing for crappie. But that’s enough of my rambling. Check out the video below to see more…

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