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Hook Big Catfish with Bait They Can't Resist

Have you ever battled a 20-pound catfish? It's an epic fight you won't forget! But how do you lure these giants to your line?



My Winter Haul: 3 Big Reasons It's Impressive


This past winter, I landed 3 catfish over 15 pounds on Lake Berryessa. While 3 might seem small, here's why it's actually a big deal:


  • Limited Time: We only fished Berryessa 3 times all winter, making it a great catch ratio.

  • Multi-Species Focus: We usually target trout, kokanee, salmon, or crappie. When the morning bite slowed, we'd catfish for a few hours before heading home.

Boat or Bank, You Can Catch Trophy Cats!

The beauty of catfishing is that a boat helps, but it's not mandatory. We'll cover tactics for both!


Beyond the Bottom: Targeting Big Cats

Forget the stereotype of catfish as bottom feeders! Large catfish roam all water depths. Placing bait solely on the bottom might attract smaller, pesky catfish leading to missed opportunities.


Fish the Water Column: Free-Spooled Marinaded Liver

To target big fish, cast your bait (we recommend marinaded liver) free-spool style. As it descends, it releases an irresistible scent trail that attracts big cats. This might sound unconventional, but it works!


Marinaded Liver Recipe (Courtesy of My Brother Paul!)

  • Mince a bunch of garlic with a press.

  • Mix it with chicken livers and let it marinate overnight.

That's it! Thread the liver onto your hook (no weights needed), cast, open your bail, and watch your rod for that big bite.


Bonus Bait: Live Minnows for Big Catfish

XL or Jumbo live minnows are another excellent option for large catfish. Rig them on a bottom rig with a leader (18-24") and a live bait or circle hook.


Bank Fishing for Big Cats: Find the Steep Decline

Choose a spot in a cove with a steep drop-off, like a dock or steep bank. The liver's weight allows for 10-20-foot casts from shore, perfect for deeper areas.


Boat Fishing for Big Cats: Sonar Advantage

With a boat, you can search cove to cove using sonar to locate large fish signatures (often catfish) on lakes. Anchor up, cast out, open your bail, and wait for the epic fight!


Get ready for unforgettable battles with these tips! Tight lines!


Let's Go Fishing


1st cast:


If you want to learn how to target giant catfish and experience the epic fight firsthand, consider booking my Lake Berryessa catfishing trip. $175/person, minimum 2 people for Catch Happy subscribers only!






Tight lines! Catch Happy.

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