There are three main types of catfish that you can find in ponds. The smallest of the three, and most likely the ones that you are going to spend the most time catching, are the Channel Catfish. The two other larger species of “cats” are the Flathead and the Blue catfish. These last two can grow to incredible sizes.
Channel catfish mostly eat a trash diet — picking off bugs on the water’s surface and eating dead forage fish — which is why they are great for managed ponds. They are also easy to catch, and for the most part, the populations have no problems surviving after a catch and release. Flathead catfish are known for their voracious appetite which makes them incredibly easy to catch as well. Blue catfish, on the other hand, are harder to find due to their eating habits.
There are two recommended types of tackle that you can use for catfishing in ponds. If you are going to be fishing in a pond that has the larger variety of cats like blues and flatheads, then consider taking a medium action rod, with either a spinning or baitcasting reel. Use treble hooks because these fish will easily suckle the bait off of a single point hook. With the way that catfish treble hooks are designed, cats are not able to get the bait off, and once they have the hook in their mouths, they’re caught.
For smaller catfish, you can use ultra-light fishing tackle. You should think about taking a few rods with you. Having a couple of lines soaking at the same time will increase your chances of having a greater catch. Allow your lines to soak, but make sure the drags are set loose on the reels. With loose reels, the fish can swim off with the bait hooking themselves in the process. As soon as you hear the drag screaming, tighten the rod down until you feel pressure, and start fighting the fish. This is often enough pressure to keep the fish hooked.
These types of catfish are generally easy to catch as long as you give your bait time to soak. You can also chum the water to bring the fish to you. You can toss dog food, sweet corn, or broken up corn flakes into the water to bring the catfish to your location, making them easier to catch. You can also try catfishing in ponds at night for the best chances at catching a lot of the bigger monsters. The big fish go roaming at night so, if you want to catch them, your best chance is to go fishing after dark with larger, stinkier baits.
Noodling for catfish in ponds has also become extremely popular. The basic concept behind noodling sounds simple enough at first. It basically calls for you sticking your hand in a hole, run it into a fish mouth, grab the fish, and pull it out of the water. It is actually much more complicated than that and is actually quite an involved process.