Red River Catfishing

Video: Red River Catfishing Video: James Lindner and Mike Hehner head to the Red River to target giant channel catfish using proven tactics in seasonal locations.

Red River Catfishing is an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, you need to know a few key things to have a successful day on the water. 

Choosing the Right Rod and Reel

Regarding catfishing, having the right rod and reel setup is crucial. The Red River is home to some giant catfish, so you’ll want a rod with a fast action and good bite detection on the tip. The power of the rod will depend on the size of the fish you’re targeting. An extra heavy power rod is recommended for big blue cats or large channel cats. A spinning rod with a medium-heavy power is suitable for smaller catfish.

As for the reel, a baitcasting reel with a high gear ratio, such as the Daiwa Lexa 400, is ideal for catfishing in the Red River. This reel has a high-speed pickup and a large spool capacity, making it perfect for handling heavier line. The drag on the reel should be fine-tuned to ensure it can handle these powerful fish’s strong pulls.

Using the Right Bait and Hooks

When it comes to bait, catfish in the Red River are known to be attracted to a variety of options. Live bait such as suckers, shad, or bullheads are popular choices. Cut bait, such as chunks of fresh fish or chicken liver, can also be effective. Experiment with different baits to see what works best on any given day.

When it comes to hooks, using the right size is crucial. A larger hook, like a 9/0 or 10/0 circle hook, is recommended for larger catfish, such as blue cats. These hooks are designed to hook the fish in the corner of the mouth, ensuring a secure hookup. A smaller hook, like a 6/0 or 7/0 circle hook, will suffice for smaller catfish.

Utilizing Technology for Success

Technology has revolutionized the way we fish, and catfishing is no exception. Utilizing tools like the Minn Kota trolling motor with spot lock and the Talon shallow water anchor can significantly improve your chances of success. The Minn Kota trolling motor with spot lock lets you stay pinned in the heavy current, ensuring that your baits remain in one spot and aren’t pulled around by boat sway. The Talon shallow water anchor is invaluable in shallower water situations, as it pins you in place with minimal lateral movement.

Another useful tool is the Humminbird Mega Live sonar. This sonar can be mounted on the back of the boat and used to scan for moving fish. Scanning side to side allows you to locate fish in the area and adjust your fishing strategy accordingly. Combining the Mega Live sonar with other sonar technologies like Side Imaging and 2D sonar can give you a comprehensive view of the underwater environment and help you find the best spots to target catfish.

Tips for Landing Big Catfish

When you hook into a big catfish, it’s important to have the right tools and techniques to land it successfully. A good landing net is essential, especially when dealing with larger fish. 

Having a good cutting board, a pair of pliers, a folding knife, a bait knife, a hook-out tool, and a pair of scissors are also essential tools to have on hand. These tools will help you handle bait, cut line, and safely remove hooks from the fish.


Catfishing in the Red River can be an exhilarating experience. You can increase your chances of landing big catfish by using the right equipment, bait, and techniques. Technology like trolling motors and sonar can also give you an edge in finding and targeting fish. And, as Jeff Simpson reminds us, forgiveness is a powerful tool that can bring peace and positivity to our lives both on and off the water.

So, grab your gear, head to the Red River, and prepare for an unforgettable catfishing adventure.

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