Kayak Fishing for Catfish: Tips to Get You Started

If you’re looking for a new and exciting fishing challenge, kayak fishing for catfish is a great option.

In this blog post, we will discuss some tips to help you get started. Catfish are one of the most popular sports fish in North America, and they can be found in many different types of water. They are known for their sharp teeth and powerful jaws, so you’ll need to be prepared for a fight.

Kayak Fishing for Catfish

Can you fish for catfish on a kayak?

I get a lot of questions about kayak fishing for catfish, so we decided to put together some tips to help people get started. The first thing you need to know is that catfish are strong fish, and they can put up quite a fight.

So, it’s important to make sure your kayak is rigged properly for the type of fish you’re hoping to catch.

It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and safety when you’re out on the water. Catfish like to hang out in deep water, so you need to be careful not to paddle into any areas where the bottom drops off suddenly. And, of course, always wear a life jacket when you’re kayak fishing.

Once you have your gear and safety sorted, it’s time to start fishing. The best bait for catfish is usually something stinky, like chicken liver or stink bait.

But other baits like nightcrawlers or minnows can work well too. The important thing is to fish where the catfish are hiding outlook for areas with lots of cover like logs or rocks.

 Fishing from a kayak can be a great way to get closer to the action and enjoy the scenery at the same time.

Just be sure to follow some basic safety rules and bring along the right gear, and you’ll be hooked on kayak fishing for catfish in no time.

What do you need for kayak catfishing?

What is a proper kayak for catfishing?

It’s no secret that catfish are some of the most powerful fish in the water. So when it comes to chasing down big catfish, you need a stable kayak that can handle everything these fish can dish out.

Fishing kayaks are designed to be more stable than regular recreational kayaks, often with standing platforms and wide, spacious decks that make casting and retrieving lures much easier.

If you’re looking to go after some big catfish, then a pedal fishing kayak can be a great choice – it’ll give you the power and speed you need to get to your fishing spots quickly and maintain a consistent speed while trolling for catfish.

RELATED:  7 Best Kayak Outriggers in 2022: a Guide to Stability, Gear, and Fishing

Another important thing to consider when choosing a kayak for catfishing is storage space. Catfish are big fish, and you’ll need a kayak with enough room to store all your gear and tackle.

Most fishing kayaks have built-in storage compartments and hatches that make it easy to keep everything organized and within reach.

When it comes to choosing the right kayak for catfishing, stability and storage space are key. Look for a kayak with a wide, stable hull and plenty of room to store all your gear, and you’ll be ready to tackle any big fish that comes your way.

How to tackle a catfish on a kayak?

I was out on the lake, fishing for catfish. I had my trusty 7-foot rod and some heavy-duty monofilament line. I was using a worm as bait, and I was having no luck.

I switched to a smaller hook and tried again, but still nothing. I started to get a little frustrated; I’d been at it for hours and hadn’t caught a single fish.

Just then, I saw a big blue catfish swimming by. I quickly cast my line in that direction and waited for the fish to bite. The fish took the bait and started to struggle. I pulled back on the rod and reeled in the fish.

It was a big one, and it put up quite a fight. But I eventually got it into the kayak and pulled it in for a closer look. It was a beautiful fish, and I was glad to have finally caught one.

What accessory will be useful?

A fish finder can be a great accessory for all types of fishing, but it can be even more useful for locating hiding catfish and any potential holes. Most fishing kayaks will usually have a mount or tracks where you can install your fish finder.

An anchor system can also be a good idea for kayak fishing for catfish. While you can use a kayak anchor trolley system, an alternative can be to use kayak stakeout poles, which can work well for catfishing in shallow water.

Remember to think about the direction of the current or the wind, which will determine where you drop your anchor to position your kayak and bait in the best spot for catching fish.

If there is a strong current, it’s not advisable to anchor your kayak as this can be dangerous. Even in slow current, it can be a good idea to have some form of safety line attached to your kayak in case you capsize. Catfishing from a kayak can be great fun, and by following these tips you can improve your chances of success.

What would be considered a good bait?

When it comes to catching catfish, it can be better to avoid artificial lures and use real bait. Catfish can often be caught using bait that smells – sometimes the stinkier the better.

Many homemade baits can be great for catfishing. Dough balls can be particularly useful and pretty easy to make.

You can also use various food items such as raw chicken and chicken liver. Or you can get creative and experiment with some of the more unusual bait options, for example, dog food, French fries, chunks of hot dogs, or even soap.

RELATED:  Can You Use an Ocean Kayak on a Lake? [Tips and Advice]

Remember you’ll need somewhere to keep your bait while you paddle out to the best spot. Cooler or other bait storage can be useful, and you can make use of the hatches and cargo decks on your kayak for your additional equipment.

So next time you go catfishing, ditch the artificial lures and give one of these baits a try – you might just be surprised at how effective they can be.

How do you troll for catfish on a kayak?

I was out fishing for catfish the other day when I decided to try trolling. I added a trolling motor to my kayak and started in the river. The current was pretty strong, but the trolling motor helped me navigate through it easily.

I soon found a spot where the fish were biting and started casting my line. I used a planer board to keep my bait near the bottom, and within minutes I had a catfish on the line.

Trolling for catfish can be a lot of fun, and it’s worth trying if you’re looking for some excitement on the water. Just remember to take extra care when trolling in rivers with strong currents.


Wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is always important whenever you go kayaking, but it can be even more crucial when you’re kayak catfishing. That’s because a big, strong catfish could easily tip over your kayak or pull you into the water. So, if you’re going to be kayak catfishing, make sure to wear a PFD at all times.

It’s also a good idea to have a whistle attached to your PFD or somewhere on your person. That way, if you ever find yourself in an emergency, you can use the whistle to signal for help.

So, remember these tips the next time you go kayak catfishing – wear a PFD and bring along a whistle.

How do you catch catfish on a kayak?

To catch catfish from a kayak, start by baiting your hook with live bait like worms or minnows. Then, cast your line out into deep water and wait for a bite.

Once you feel a tug on your line, reel in the fish slowly and carefully, being careful not to tip your kayak. When the fish is close enough, reach down and grab it by the lip with one hand, then lift it into the kayak.

You can then remove the hook and either release the fish or keep it for dinner. Just remember to always be safe when out on the water, and to bring along a life jacket and some safety gear just in case.

Locate the catfish

When it comes to catfishing, knowing where to look is half the battle. These cunning creatures tend to hide out in holes and along ledges, making them difficult to spot.

However, there are a few key places you can check if you’re hoping to snag a big one.

RELATED:  Paddle Boarding vs. Kayaking: Which is Harder?

Fish finders can be a helpful tool for locating catfish, as they show contours and depths as well as any fish that might be in the area.

Another good option is to look in lakes and rivers in muddy waters – catfish tend to be relatively inactive during the day, so getting your bait close to their hiding spot is essential.

Finally, nighttime can also be a good time to fish for catfish, as they are more likely to be active then. So, next time you’re looking for a catfish, remember to check these key spots and you’ll be sure to have some luck.

How to hook a catfish on a kayak?

Catfishing from a kayak can be a fun and exciting way to spend an afternoon, but it’s important to remember a few things to increase your chances of success.

First, consider using circle hooks instead of traditional hooks. Because they are designed to set themselves when the fish strikes, you don’t need to be holding onto the rod, which can be helpful if your rods are secured in holders.

Secondly, remember that patience is key – it might be a waiting game, so make sure you’re comfortable before you settle in for a long day on the water.

Finally, when you do hook a fish, give it a minute to make sure the hook is set before reeling it in, and be careful not to lean too far over the side of your kayak while fighting the fish – you don’t want to lose balance and tip yourself overboard.

How do you keep catfish on a kayak?

If you’re lucky enough to catch a catfish on your kayak, there are a few things you can do to keep it fresh until you make it back to shore. First, if possible, put the fish in a live well or cooler with aerated water. This will help keep the fish alive and fresh for longer.

If you don’t have a live well or cooler, you can still keep the fish fresh by wrapping it in wet towels and placing it on ice.

The most important thing is to keep the fish cool and out of the sun – if it gets too warm, the fish will start to spoil quickly.

Wrapping up

Kayak fishing for catfish can be a great way to enjoy a day out on the water, but it’s important to remember to be safe and prepared.

Wear a life jacket, bring along some safety gear, and know where to look for these cunning creatures. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to have a successful day of kayak fishing for catfish.

Happy fishing!

Justin Johnston is an avid outdoorsman and passionate fisherman. He has over 15 years of experience fishing in lakes, rivers, and streams all across the country. When he’s not out on the water, he enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips with other anglers.

Last updated on June 26, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

Leave a Comment