How to Catch Channel Catfish with Bobbers

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Wired2fish’s Kyle Peterson and friend John Maile unveil the unique tactic of catching channel catfish using cut bait suspended below bobbers and floats. They break down the when and how to search shallow waters filled with grass for whiskered critters and their bobber fishing setup for handling unwieldy kitties in the slop. This bobber fishing tactic excels for bank and boat anglers alike. *Complete product listing at the bottom.

Maile and Peterson explore these waters using a bass boat, which might seem unconventional for catfishing but proves perfect for this situation. Equipped with Power-Poles, the shallow water anchors support a quiet approach off the trolling motor while allowing them to cast a wide area without spooking the fish, even in shallow water.

Contrary to common belief, catfish are not just bottom dwellers. Maile shares his experience catching cats suspended in the water column and behaving like other predatory fish. In many lakes, channel catfish become more active during summer and chase baitfish, panfish, and other prey with abandon.

The key to their successful approach is using a slip bobber system, which Maile stumbled upon while fishing for panfish years ago. This technique keeps your bait out of the silt, moss, and weeds while presenting more enticingly. By adjusting the depth and fan casting across flats, the duo effectively targets scattered catfish, proving that you shouldn’t always focus your efforts around deep holes.

As Peterson and Maile get on the water, they demonstrate how to set up the slip bobber system. They emphasize the importance of noise and vibration in attracting catfish, using beads and even experimenting with a jig rattle attached to the bobber stem. The slip bobber system and cut bait prove irresistible to the catfish, providing a successful strategy for fishing shallow waters. Plus, it’s just plain fun — who doesn’t love seeing a bobber aggressively plunge below the surface on a bite.

The hosts also highlight their choice of bait, using fresh and widely available white suckers cut into chunks. They explain the importance of cutting off the tail to prevent it from covering the hook and share their preferred rigging method and rod setups. Check out our How to Catch Catfish Guide for more information on catfishing tactics and techniques.

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