By: Chris Shaffer
Humidity, heat, afternoon thunderstorms and longer days spell good catfishing across Alabama. While kids are still out of school the summertime is perfect for taking kids pond fishing. Alabama has more than 50,000 ponds, and a large number are loaded with catfish. This is the time of year those cats bite the best.
Catfish bite all day. Meanwhile, dawn, dusk and during the twilight hours yield the most consistent action. The heat of the day tends to bring the poorest action. That’s not to say catfish won’t bite during the sweltering heat. However, anglers don’t want to be sweating in the midday sun, nor do the catfish want to feed aggressively as they are normally lethargic when the sun is high. Focus on those low light, cooler hours and success will follow.
One of the best things about pond fishing is expensive gear isn’t necessary. A simple Eagle Claw bait-holder hook, six-to-10-pound test and just about any rod will get the job done. Keep it simple. Many anglers make the mistake of using huge pieces of bait. For large blue cats that might work better, but when targeting channel catfish silver dollar size chunks of bait are ideal.
Last time we targeted pond catfish in Alabama we used an array of baits. We headed to the tackle/grocery store and purchased shrimp, chicken liver, gizzards, hot dogs and prepackaged shad and minnows. These are all well-known and common catching favorites. To increase success we soaked them in Catfish Nectar for a few hours before fishing. We all know catfish are big on a scent trail and the Catfish Nectar helped create a stronger trail. We prefer to soak them overnight, but a few hours is effective, too. Just pouring the Nectar onto the bait prior to casting doesn’t work well as the scent washes off too quickly. The longer the bait is allowed to soak in the Nectar the more potent the scent trail is.
Most stocked Alabama farm ponds are loaded with channel catfish. While there are quality cats available anglers are more likely to find two-to-pound channels. That doesn’t mean that larger cats aren’t available, but perhaps the smaller cats are more opportunistic and aggressive. You may have to catch a pile of catfish before tangling with larger fish.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke Catfish Nectar is available at most Alabama Walmart locations and Bass Pro.