Ponds and smaller water bodies don’t seem all that exciting when you think of the monster catfish that swim in bigger rivers and lakes. But don’t get disheartened; pond catfish can grow to be over 10 pounds as well. You just need a good mix of knowledge of the water body and knowledge of angling skills to catch a good catch.
First the water body. Study the pond environment carefully.
• Does a creek or any other small water body like a spring empty itself into it? If that is the case, you will find that the cats mostly feed in the area where the creek enters the pond.
• Does the pond have algae or vegetation floating around? If that is so, you will find the cats hiding under the floating algae and vegetation.
• Does the pond have any holes or rocks? You can be sure to find a catfish or two hiding under the rocks and other debris under the water.
• Does the pond have a dam or obstruction? You will find at least one catfish hiding underneath it.
• Study the surface of the water carefully. Is there an excess of small bubbles in a particular water current eddy? You will most likely find catfish feeding in that area.
• Try different times of the day and different areas of the pond to fish. You can learn a lot about the pond and the fish that live in it by studying the patterns of the catch and the area that it’s caught in.
• Try not to fish in ponds that are popular hang-outs for other anglers. The fish in such ponds become bait shy eventually and you may not have a good haul.
• Fish at night and the wee hours of the morning. That is when the biggest cats come out to feed.
Next, the technique. Setting up a rig for catfishing in a river is quite different from setting up a rig for catfishing in ponds.
• Tightline your rig. Instead of setting a drag from the reel, keep it tight. This way, you will know every time you get even a small nibble at the bait.
• Keep it really quiet. When you go catfishing in ponds, you could accidentally scare away the catfish by talking too loud, or making too much noise getting the equipment to the shore. Keep your conversations to a minimum and get your stuff out really quietly.
• Attach a 1 ounce or 2 ounce slider weight to the line. This way you can ensure that the hook goes to the depth of the pond where all the fish are hiding.
• Use the right bait. I know from previous experience that catfish love chicken liver. They also love live bait like bluegill, sunfish, or goldfish. Parmesan cheese, hotdogs, corn flour balls, and shrimp will all get you decent catches. It is of course a good idea to ask other fishing enthusiasts what their fish love. Or you could make your own catfish recipe!