How to fish for catfish: Finding patterns for Success

Find your pattern

Patterns are an important key in consistently catching catfish, the bass guys have honed their skills at finding patterns but it’s rarely talked about in catfishing.
A pattern can be most anything, you just need to pay attention to surroundings and the type of structure or banks you are fishing and try to duplicate the same types of conditions you have already been successful with. Whether it be mud banks, deep holes, shallow sand bars, rock banks, wood structure, smaller or larger baits, etc.

Paying close attention to your surroundings is the best way to put together a solid pattern for catfish. Understanding how you were able to catch the first fish will play a key role in finding patterns for catfish. If your fishing a drop and catch a catfish, was that fish on the top side or bottom side of the drop. But there are many other variables you should consider when you’re locating a pattern. Weather, time of year, time of day, water temperature, stained water, clear water, current speed and many others.



At times catfishing patterns can be hard to nail down, as patterns can change throughout the day due to weather conditions or barometric pressure changes. So if you’re catfishing and you’re not having any luck, you may want to make some adjustments. Try a different type of area or try different bait. Maybe it’s the size of the bait or a front has moved through and the fish you were catching has now moved tight to wood structure. Bottom line here is, duplicate your bait presentation by finding similar places that have the same characteristics as the first spot you were successful.

For an example:

This is one of those times where I had a good pattern on Friday but weather and river conditions changed and I had to find a back up pattern to make up for lost time I spend on a failing pattern I had the day before.

During the 2011 Cabelas King Kat tournament on the Ohio River I developed a good pattern the day before the tournament, drifting baits in 50 ft of water over a hard bottom. On tournament day the river conditions had changed and the river was on a rise and current had picked up pushing my fish to the banks. After realizing this about mid day, I changed patterns. I located a point that had a current break with a current seam and tried it and found success.

After I caught a couple 20 lbers from that spot I ran a little farther down river and found a similar point that had all the same components as the first spot that I had caught fish in, this allowed me to finished out my limit for the day. That pattern took me from three small fish that I had caught using my failing pattern to culling them for 5 respectable fish that put in 8th place in the top 10.

Don’t be afraid of trying new things to establish a new pattern if the pattern you thought was paying off goes sour. Establish a pattern and you’ll put more catfish in the boat.


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  1. Where to find Catfish: Structure Transitions for Catfish | DISCOVER CATFISHING

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