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Catching catfish—at any hour

Nighttime fishing is the alternative on hot summer days


I REMEMBER BACK IN THE DAY when a group of my friends would get together on the banks of the local lake to fish for catfish and carp all night long. A fire was mandatory and laughs and stories nonstop. 

We all knew to bring our old, worn-out tackle to be on the safe side, since a catfish or carp always seemed to steal at least one setup every year while we enjoyed the fire and the stories. Someone would hear the well-known sounds of a rod and reel scooting across the ground and through the gravel, followed by the splash when it hit the water. 

“There went somebody’s pole,” was the usual announcement. No one ever got too excited and the announcement was often followed by a laugh and a glance in the direction of our poles that lined the shore. They would be barely visible in the light of the waning Coleman lantern. Waning, because we always procrastinated pumping it up, so it had a hard time cutting through the darkness and fog that rose from the lake. 

The love of all-night catfishing never left me and every summer I spend at least a couple nights and sometimes several on the banks fishing through the night. 

All you need for an all-night fishing trip is a good chair, some cold drinks and a sandwich or some grub that can be cooked over the fire—scavenge for wood or bring some. My gear is better than it was back in the day, and I keep a better eye on them, but a few rods and reels will do. Friends are always welcome for catching up and storytelling—and are a plus when the fish refuse to bite. 

For bait, catfish find chicken livers irresistible. Keep chicken livers fresh and ready by using two coffee canisters, one large and one small. Place the smaller canister inside the larger one and add ice. 

The best way to keep chicken livers on your hook is to use sewing thread. Place the end of your thread on the liver and slowly wrap it onto the hook. After a couple wraps a little more pressure can be applied. Wrap the liver onto the hook by making each wrap lay inside the hook bend. Fresh chicken livers that have never been frozen will stay on your hook best. 

For the best fishing spot when fishing from shore, find an open area where you can spread out several rods. With a little research, exploring and maybe a tip from fellow anglers you should be able to find that special place that you look forward to visiting each year. There are a few notable summertime catfish spots on the next page, but your own farm pond or lake is just a few steps away.

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