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Going for the Big Ones - Tips For Catching Blue Catfish

Nov 27, 2007
Blue catfish are a species of catfish that love to live in the big rivers. Look for them in the Mighty Mississippi, the Rio Grande, anywhere there's a rushing current and too much water to wade across.

These cats are similar to their cousins, the channel cat, but different in a few ways. For one thing, they have a distinct blue coloring (which gives them their name). The back has a bluish tint, and their underbelly is white. But the biggest way you can tell it's a blue, is that they have a forked tail. You won't see any other catfish like this. Other than that, blues are so similar they are often mistaken for channel catfish, and in some parts of the country the locals won't make any distinction between them.

Another thing that sets blues apart is that they are on the big end of the scale. Usually blues are between 20 and 40 pounds, although there are some legendary blue catfish that are well over 100 pounds! If you are an angler in Texas, you've probably seen some 50 pound blues in your time. These are big fish, and that's why we want to target 'em!

Tips on Catching Blue Cats

- First off, bait is always important. Blues, more than any other kind of catfish, love live bait. Take in something that is or once was alive, and the stinkier the better. Blue catfish are known for going after live bait much younger than other fish, so using good, live, stinky bait will get you blues. Blue catfish also have an especially keen sense of smell, so baits that smell funny will work much better than ordinary stuff. Probably your best bet is to use some kind of bait fish, or smaller catfish. Chicken livers, dried chicken blood and nightcrawlers work well too.

- Use a pretty good-sized hook. Anything from 3/0 to 9/0 will work well. Remember, these are pretty big catfish. You'll probably want to cut your bait 6 to 12 inches long.

- Blue catfish are known as fighters. Be ready for a battle! These stubborn fish don't want to come out of that water for any reason whatsoever, so you should make sure you have a good, tough rod to pull him out with. Also, make sure you have a strong line and heavy tackle.

- Blue cats like to stick to cool waters. The best time to go out looking for them is in the fall, from September to December. They'll be out feeding much later than other species of catfish. It depends a little bit on where you live, but definitely fall and early spring are the best times to catch them. In places like Iowa and Idaho, anglers have been known to catch some pretty big blue cats in the winter time.

- Pick a good spot. There are lots of blues hanging out in the bottom of that big river, but pick a little tributary with enough rushing water, and you might have better luck. Look for an area that is deeper than the rest of the river or stream. The best spot is just past a rapid. Here, there will be a calm pool that the rapid empties out into, and all that rushing water plunging into the pool will make a depression at the bottom. This is the perfect spot for blue catfish to be in. Fish these spots, and you'll improve your chances of catching a blue.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best saltwater fishing information possible. Get more information on catching blue catfish here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com
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