SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA
Have you really and truly lived a good southern life if you haven’t spent a whole day fishing and then fried up a “mess” of catfish for dinner?
Catfishing provides great opportunities for new and experienced anglers, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Georgia has so many opportunities for folks to toss out a line for catfish,” says Thom Litts, WRD Fisheries Management Chief. “Additionally, it is an activity that requires relatively simple gear and it is a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so it’s a perfect opportunity to get everyone outside!”
Georgia’s public waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species – yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). While you may not catch them often, the larger species, like flathead catfish, can sometimes reach monster weights in excess of 100 pounds – and that’s no tall fish tale!
What to Use:
If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium-sized hooks (size 2 to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom. Best baits for channel, bullheads and white catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, shrimp, cut bait and stink bait.
For anglers trying to land a large blue or flathead catfish, heavy tackle is a must – large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20 to 50-pound test braid or monofilament line, large hooks (3/0 to 8/0), and heavy weights (1-5 oz) to keep bait on the bottom. Flatheads are ambush predators that prey heavily upon fish, so live or freshly killed fish used as bait will increase your chances. Similarly, freshly caught gizzard shad increases your chances of reeling in a giant blue catfish.
Other methods for catching catfish include trotlines, limblines, and jug-lines. More info on the regulations relative to these methods can be found in the 2020 Georgia Sportfishing Regulations Book found at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/angler-resources.