French lakes : Big Catfish
These French lakes have a really good head of big catfish to over 100lb. The current record stands at 131lb.
These hard fighting fish give a really good account of themselves and can be handled on regular carp gear as long as you use a heavy braided hook-link, Dyneema for example. We generally use a reinforced braided link of around 80lb.
The favoured method is to use Halibut pellets, but live baits work well too. A large number also get caught on boilies.
The catfish are really very voracious predators and very powerful fish. Even a 30lb cat will give a far harder fight than a carp of a similar weight.
Tips and Tactics for Catfish:
On a still water the cats haven’t got far to go, but they have immense power and basically go where they want, the biggest worry is that they will bite you off.
If you want to target the catfish I recommend :
- A soft Dyneema type braid in the 50lb plus bracket
- A good size 2 to 2/0 heavy wire hook.
- Your regular carp rods of around 3lb TC should suffice equipped with 25lb nylon, as we have had anglers bank 100lb cats on this type of gear. You just need to be patient and use a boat in necessary. However dedicated catfish tackle would be more appropriate if you wish to specifically target these hard fighting fish, with lines over 45lb.
- You might consider your spod rod as a good cat rod too, with a 45lb main line..
The Best tactics for getting these large predators to feed is the use of Halibut pellets or any fishy type feed. Fishmeal boilies and even pieces of mackeral or tins of the same mixed with pellets will draw in the fish.
Catfish can be very greedy fish and it is not unusual to catch the same fish or a fish previously lost by another angler durng the same week at the lakes.