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Why We Catfish

Catfish Pudding | Homemade Punch BaitWe love catfish angling. In a world full of bass fishermen and trout fishermen and carp anglers and big, saltwater guys, we stick to our beloved catfish. Channels, blues, flatheads or big ones overseas, it boils down to three reasons we all fish for catfish:

  • Nostalgia
  • Food
  • Gear


This is the biggest category. It includes everything from childhood memories to God and creation to wanting to live a slower life to resting your nerves. It’s a catch-all phrase that captures the need to escape the daily grind of life. The water birds and fish, they seem to have a calming effect on the soul. I can’t explain it. I wager it has something to do with God/Jesus trying to tell us he loves us.

It is a beautiful thing. You get out there with friends and family and sometimes you don’t care if you catch a cooler full or get skunked. After a hard day’s work, fishing is a lot healthier than getting drunk on liquor.

My dad used to fish to calm his nerves. He loved sitting out on the water. He’d catch plenty, but he really loved the peacefulness of it all. You get out there, anchor in your favorite spot, and there comes a moment where you know this is who you are and why you were put on this planet.

Such is the meaning of nostalgia in catfish angling.


As great as all the warm fuzzies above sound, at the end of the day food is the practical aspect of fishing. Stock the freezer with meat. Feed the family. I don’t know what it’s like in your state, but in Alabama there is no limit on catfish other than you cannot have more than one catfish in your possession of 34 inches or longer. Basically they preserve the trophy-class fish. When fishing for eater-sized cats this doesn’t even register as most of the fish are less than 20 inches.

At any rate be sure to check your regs. Some states have creel limits other don’t. It depends on what your state can sustain via population and available water sources and such. There are smart people who figure into these things. In other words don’t be greedy. Harvest what you and your family will eat over the next few days or over winter or whatever metric you set up. There are plenty of fish for all of us. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Gear! Stuff! Tools! Weapons! Face it: We love buying gear and putting to the test. You start dusting off your rods, thinking about spooling up new line, then you remember that one new reel you’d been wanting to try or that new bait or that new sonar. It happens to all of us. In fact I’m sitting here thinking of the next rod building project made from wooden strips.

Testing your gear is fun. One of the first rods I built was a long, limber catfish rod made from a 5/6 weight fiberglass fly rod blank. I hooked into a 5 pound channel catfish who was camped under a log. Goodness! He maxed out that fly rod, a fun fight. The rod was put to the test, and the drag had to do much of the work. Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about:

Good times, tight lines!


P.S., Why do you catfish?