What to Do When Catfish Won’t Bite in A Pond

No matter how great of a fisherman you may be, sometimes your fish just aren’t on your side. Catfish can be one of the more difficult fish to catch, especially if you’re in a pond.

What can you do if the catfish aren’t biting in a pond

  • Try a different hook size
  • You may be scaring them away
  • Your bait is not interesting to them
  • Try to find a new location

Fishing is a great pastime, and it can be a lot of fun. If you’re struggling to catch catfish in a pond that you frequent, here are some reasons why your fish may not be biting, and what you can do to fix it!

What Can You Do If You Can’t Catch Catfish in A Pond?

It can be frustrating when you are having trouble catching a fish. The good news is that there are quite a few variables that can help you not only become a better fisherman, but you can also learn more about the fish you are trying to catch.

Even if you stock your pond, there is no guarantee that you’re going to catch fish left and right. Ponds tends to be a more difficult environment for fish. Here are four tips to help you catch more catfish.

Make sure you’re using a variety of hook sizes. It’s crucial to try different sizes so that you learn what is best for you and which kind the fish are most reactive to. Catfish are a very sensitive fish, and they can detect any changes in the water. Your hook may disrupt the water, wading in the water, and even your shadow can all cause the fish to turn around and swim away.

The bait you’re using makes a huge difference as well. The smellier the bait, the better your chances are at catching a catfish in a pond. It’s important to switch up your bait to keep your fish interested. The smells on your hands when you are baiting the hook and even the color of the lure can increase or decrease your chances.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to move around the pond you’re fishing in. Don’t do too much moving or you could disturb the fish. Let’s talk more about why you aren’t catching fish, and exactly how you can make sure that you’re doing all you can!

Your Hook Could Be the Problem

There are four popular hooks when it comes to fishing for catfish.

  • Treble Hook: Three-pronged design
  • Kahle Hook: Round with a barb pointed to the eye of the hook
  • Circle Hook
    • Offset: Has a point out of line with the shank
    • Non-Offset: Point in line, very popular among recreational fishing
  • J-Hook: Shaped like a “J”

No matter what hook you use, the size of your hook plays a huge factor in how successful your fishing trip will be. The size of the hook you use depends on two main factors. What size hook you are comfortable using, and the type of catfish that you’re looking to catch.

The sharpness of your hook also may be causing a problem or tow. If you have a dull hook, then it is less likely to actually catch onto the catfish, resulting in some stolen bait and an empty line. The strength of your hook should also be taken into consideration. The bigger the fish, the bigger the hook and vice versa for smaller fish.

You May Be Scaring Them Away

Fish know you’re there! Catfish can detect sounds, movement, and even smells. If you’re having problems catching catfish, it could be something that you’re doing. Staying as quiet as possible is another great tip to hopefully catch more fish.

When you’re heading to your perfect fishing locating, you’ll want to be as quiet as you can be. This also applies if you’re choosing to wade in the water you’re fishing in. Moving as little as necessary is not only going to help fish stay in the area they are in, but it gives you a much better chance.

Even your tackle box can make enough noise to scare a catfish away. You can find boxes that don’t make too much noise, but it really is all about how quiet you can be. If you’re fishing for channel catfish, then the scent on your hands or boots can even deter fish from coming near your lure.

Many anglers like to fish at night when looking for catfish. Since they are so aware, the darkness actually hides your shadow and make it easier for you to stay hidden from the catfish.

Your Bait May Not Be Interesting

Yes, catfish have preferences too! Most fishermen know what bait attract a certain fish, but sometimes fish are difficult. The bait you choose, the lure, the colors, and even the movement and shapes all make a difference in appealing to the catfish you’re trying to catch.

Catfish only care about two things, smell and taste. They have around 20,000 internal taste buds, as well as around 175,000 external taste buds. Just because you have been using one type of bait for years doesn’t mean that it just isn’t interesting to them the next day. Here are some of the most popular bait options for catching catfish.

  • Chicken Livers
  • Shad
  • Hot Dog Slices
  • Raw Bacon 
  • Clams
  • Smaller Fish
  • Worms

If you use a bait that is live, try to add it to your hook with a bit of a curve, this will make the catfish think the bait is live, which makes it more appealing. You can also utilize “worm blower” which enhances the size of worm and keeps it from possibly falling off or just sinking to the bottom.

You can also add plastic add-ons to your hook to enhance the buoyancy and function of it. This quite literally makes the line look more interesting, and a catfish is more likely to come over and see what is going on.

Maybe You Need to Switch Up the Location

Although fishing is a hobby that includes quite a bit of patience, sometimes the fish just simply aren’t interested. This could be due to lack of food sources in the pond, which has cut the population down, overfishing, or a number of things.

If you’re having problems catching catfish in a pond that you regular, it may be time to switch things up. You can even stay at the same pond, but maybe switch sides, or go to a location that has water that may have more movement to it.

The time of day or year that you’re fishing can also make a huge difference in your success while fishing. Cooler temps actually keep the fish closer to the top, which may result in better fishing. If you know what kind of fish you’re looking for, then when you’re fishing can play a huge role.

Spring is another great time to catch a catfish. They have typically lost weight during the cooler months, and head back into warmer waters in order to feed and put some weight back on. Catfish enjoy a bait with some stink to it, and scent travels further in warm water.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask fellow anglers. They may have a special insight into the area, or even the fish in the pond. They can let you know where the best locations are, and maybe tricks that have worked for them.

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