SOCIAL CIRCLE — Fishing for catfish can put delicious meals on the table.
“Georgia has abundant opportunities to throw out a line for catfish,” says John Biagi, chief with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Section. “They require relatively simple gear and are a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so get out and go fish!”
Georgia’s waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads. The larger species, blue catfish and flathead catfish, can grow to exceed 100 pounds.
Here are some of the DNR’s “hotspots” in our area:
• Altamaha River: Great for several species, including flathead, channel and an expanding population of blue catfish. The Altamaha boasts two state record fish: an 83 pound flathead, which is a tie weight, and channel cat, 44 pounds, 12 ounces.
• Satilla River: Excellent for channel catfish, white catfish and species of bullheads.
• Southeast Georgia public fishing areas (including Evans County, Paradise, Hugh M. Gillis and Dodge County pfas): Some of the best for channel catfish in southeast Georgia.
If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium hooks (size 2 to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom.
For large flathead, heavy tackle is a must — large spinning or casting tackle with 20 to 50-pound test line, large hooks (3/0 to 7/0), and heavy weights. Best baits for channel, bullheads and white catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, cut bait and stink bait. Recommended flathead baits are live bream and shiners.
Though most species of catfish are active throughout the day, the best summer fishing is at dusk and during the night, and while catfish can be caught year-round, the peak bite typically is from early spring through the peak of summer.
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license on public waters. For more information on fishing in Georgia, go to www.gofishgeorgia.com/fishing.