Small bullhead being held by an angler near water.

How To Catch Bullheads In A Pond Or Lake 2020

If how to catch bullheads sounds simple, chances are that you knew how to already. They are sometimes caught by accident. Even so, targeting them specifically on purpose may be a little more difficult than catching bluegill. When you hook up with one, you will soon realize that they have a ton of fight for their size. This is what makes fishing for and catching bullheads fun. You can catch them on many different baits and rigs. Bullhead catfish are also very nice to eat.

If you can clean catfish right, they can create a very nice meal for your family. You can locate them all over the place. They exist in populations at local farm ponds, local creeks, brooks, streams, rivers, and even man made and natural lakes. The biggest specimens ever found weighed around eight pounds with sizes commonly averaging a single pound. This is pretty tiny.

They do not get very big at all like channel catfish. This makes it fun for everybody. Absolutely everybody can catch them no matter their prior fishing experience. They may not be the prettiest fish in the water but they earn their reputation. Slimy and full of power, they may not make a good mount but they make for an excellent day of fun fishing or a stringer full of incredible fillets you can eat later.

Best Fishing Spots – A Simple Bullhead Where And When

When we are talking about finding the fish, we need to remember that there are a few different species with a few different behaviors. There is the black bullhead, the yellow, and the brown. Also related to them are species like white catfish. Knowing which species you are after will help immensely. If you do not know the species, they have one thing in common. They love to stay out of the sunlight. Fishing on the bottom will help as they tuck themselves deep in the mud.

Best Places To Fish To Increase Your Chances – Locating Bullheads In Local Waters

Try to always target structure and cover together. Cover is extremely important and structure is even more important. Also called mud cats, all species love to hunker down deep inside of the mud if there is any. This is why you will often see mud on the belly if you catch one. Structure is how the bottom is shaped. Cover consists of things like sunken trees, logs, grass mats, weeds, bridges, and boat docks. If you can find a deep spot with cover, fish it first and see what bites.

The best places to try are the deepest parts of the water or shallows with a lot of cover to hide in. They will be trying their best to get out of the sunlight. Mud cats are like werewolves. The best time of day is nights with a full moon and they absolutely hate coming out earlier. Target places like deep channels, pools, and very steep drop-offs. One thing to remember is that they love to chase baitfish around. They are not ambush predators. They like to hunt for their food.

You can find them pretty easily in ponds or rivers. Places that house a lot of shad, bluegill, minnows, or panfish are usually your best bet. Make sure to use the natural food that they are naturally eating on your hook. If you can find the baitfish, the bullhead catfish are not usually far behind. Unlike ponds, bigger water bodies have a lot more area you will have to cover.

  • A chart of a deep lake coded by different colors.Always try the deepest areas first. These bottom dwelling fish love to roam deep.
  • Look for cover such as sunken trees that can house large schools of baitfish or insects.
  • Fish at night and see your catch rate go up. Stringers full of fish happen at night.
  • Do not move around for fifteen minutes if you catch one. You have likely located the bait.

What Gear You’ll Need To Catch Bullheads Effectively

  • A light or medium spinning combo: You may not consider using heavier gear than ultralight for a fish that weighs barely anything. Even so, one must understand that it is possible to catch other bigger fish that can break your ultralight gear easily. Using a spinning rod combo in the light or even medium category can help you bring in walleye or other bigger catfish species when your worm attracts them. Heavier gear doesn’t hurt.
  • A natural or prepared catfish bait: One word. Bait. Not artificial ones either. You want real natural or smelly bait. No lures please! If you want to lure fish for bullheads, forget it. It just doesn’t happen. To get the fish to show their sweet tooth, provide a nice and lively worm, a grasshopper, a cicada, or even some of the best channel catfish baits can work.
  • Monofilament fishing line: The most recommended fishing line types out there for bullheads is monofilament. Mono is a nylon line that stretches. It is recommended because it is the cheapest and it helps with hooksets. Not only that, it also helps you fight the fish by providing insurance. Braid and others work too, but they cost more and are harder to use. Try using monofilament especially when you are just starting out.

Using Bait to Catch Bullhead Catfish – About Natural Baits

Gizzard shad of three different sizes resting in a hand from largest to smallest.

If you really want to be absolutely sure your bait selection is correct, use natural baits on your hook. Regarding natural baits, it is probably best to define what the term means.

A natural bait is not always a live bait. All live baits are natural but there is the distinction of a natural bait compared to a unnatural one. A natural bait simply means it was harvested.

More specifically, it was harvested from the water where you are fishing. An unnatural bait is one that wasn’t harvested from that water. In simpler words, use baits that are natural for the water you are fishing in. Natural baits consist of options like shad, sunfish, eels, squid, clams, mussels, frogs, and so on. You can use live bait if you want. You can cut them and use bits and pieces too.

This depends on your local laws. The best one you can use is what they are naturally feeding on already. We suggest using a Carolina rig and some cut shad or worms. A Carolina rig has a sinker, a leader, a bead, a swivel, and a circle hook. Bait the hook with the bait and leave it in the water. Put The reel in free spool. Reel it in slowly to hook up and fight the fish to the boat.

Prepared or Grocery Store Catfish Baits For Bullheads

Regardless of how many people you meet that would love to catch the species with you, one thing is always common to see. Many love to use unnatural or prepared baits on their hooks. Examples include worms (the most popular) and also hotdogs, cheese, corn, boilies, dip bait, stink bait, dough bait, punch bait, raw meat, potatoes, and bread just to name a few of them.

Bullhead catfish underwater on a rocky bottom.

This is what I like to commonly refer to as grocery store baits. There are quite a lot of different choices you can try. They all work. The main thing you need to remember is that one option may work better or worse than another depending on a lot of factors. The doesn’t mean it has to be a food to be a grocery store bait either. It is pretty much anything you can get out of a grocery store including worms, wax worms, and even mealworms. They can all be very effective.

Grocery store baits are a little tougher to choose from because there are just so many choices available. Even so, you may have better success by choosing one or more options. Depending on what the catfish in your area like, bait selection may be easy or difficult. You need to put baits that don’t smell in front of the fish. With taste buds all over their bodies, things like corn, boilies, bread, and potatoes just do not give of a scent or flavor profile. Fish attractants work and you should use smelly baits. This is especially true if you need to sit in one spot all day to fish.

 In Concluding – It May Be Summed Up

Today, we learned a little bit of how to catch bullheads regardless if you want to for food, for photos, or to use for bait for giant flathead catfish. You do not need expensive gear and you do not have to be a catfish guide. You really just need to use the right bait at the right time in the right place. Despite them being tricky at times, you can catch them if you know how.

They can be difficult to target specifically and we went over all of the basics. Now that you know how to catch them, there is only one thing left to do. Go try it out for yourself! Also, don’t forget to drop a comment below to tell us your thoughts about bullhead fishing!

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