Everyone knows that the most common way to catch catfish is to use bait. However, using lures to catch blue catfish can be a good way to mix it up and try something new. Catching catfish with lures is kind of like doing it on hard mode. Like most of Virginia’s tidal rivers, the Potomac is full of blue catfish. These fish were introduced as a gamefish in 1970’s but they are beginning to over run the Potomac. The blue catfish is now considered an invasive species in the Potomac River specifically. There are currently several ongoing studies to figure out what the impact of the blue catfish is on other species in the Potomac. Here are the best fishing lures to use to target blue catfish in the Potomac River.
Catfish love a good odor coming from their food source so the first effective catfish lure is one that smells good. One of the most well known scented lure brands is Gulp! by Berkley. Their lures are used for all sorts of different types of fishing. Catching catfish is something these Gulp lures excel at. These Gulp! Alive! Jerk Shad baits should work great.
Crankbaits are another great way to catch catfish. This Rapala Shad Crankbait is a good one to start with. Any good crankbait should work well though. Catfish will hone in on the sound and motion caused by these crankbaits as they move through the water.
Catfish are probably one of the best things to fish for with a fake worm. Try different jigging patterns on slow retrievals near the the bottom. THIS is the right type of worm lure for this approach. A large worm is easy prey for a catfish that will usually eat anything that can fit in its mouth.
Chatterbaits catch everything. Including catfish. The motion of a chatterbait through the water can definitely induce a strike from a lurking catfish. Just make sure to let the lure sink close to the bottom to get in their feeding range. The Z-man Chatterbait Elite is an excellent choice with good quality components. Any chatterbait should get the job done though.
Catfish will go after crawfish all day. Especially when it bounces along the bottom during a retrieval. Get a soft plastic crawfish lure like THIS ONE and work it along the bottom. Catfish love it when prey comes to them like this. The soft plastic crawfish lures also usually hold up pretty well so you don’t have to replace them too often.
How Big are Blue Catfish?
Blue catfish can grow upwards of 100 pounds! They are the largest catfish species in North America. The potential for them to grow to these monstrous sizes is what led to them being introduced in Virginia as a sport fish in the first place. The largest specimens are usually caught in the Rappahannock and James Rivers.
Where did Blue Catfish Come From?
Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi River system. They can be found in many of the large rivers that drain into the Mississippi. As mentioned above, game departments introduced them to various areas on the east coast for their potential as a sport fish. Their population density in non-native waters is currently much higher than in the Mississippi River system.
Catching Blue Catfish For the Health of the River
These lures are all good options for catching blue catfish. If you’re fishing the Potomac River, the health of the river might depend on you catching blue catfish. Studies are still ongoing, but it appears that these catfish could potentially threaten the striper and blue crab populations in the Chesapeake Bay. So put these lures to work and go make some fried catfish nuggets. This fried snakehead recipe will also work for making delicious catfish. Just replace the snakehead fillets with catfish. You can read more about blue catfish in Virginia at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries page on them HERE. Good luck fishing and let us know in the comments below if you think we missed any good catfish lures.