Catfish may be caught quite successfully using the drift fishing technique. There are many distinct methods that are known by a wide range of names, and often individuals will use the same terminology to refer to methods that are extremely different from one another.

In that case, you have to know properly – how to drift for catfish?

Using a trolling motor and pulling baits around is an example of controlled drifting. This method is also known as jigging. Some people refer it maneuvering the vessel with the help of a trolled motor as “controlled drifting,” while others call gripping the bait in one hand while traveling over the bottom “bottom bouncing.”

What is Drift Fishing for Catfish?

What is Drift Fishing for Catfish?

Learning how to fish while drifting in a boat enables you to fish in a number of different environments since the boat moves with the flow of the currents or the wind.

If your drift angling rig contains a bobber or float, you may adjust the depth at which you fish so that you can enjoy angling on the bottom at any other depth you want.

When it comes to picking bait for drifting, natural baits offer the greatest results; however, jigs, lures, and artificial flies all yield decent results.

When you’ve mastered how to fish using this technique, you’ll be able to maneuver fish on pools, lakes, waterways, and streams at any season of the day or year. This is a really versatile technique.

Where to Drift For Catfish

Where to Drift For Catfish

The first important thing is to have a good idea of where to float for catfish. Floating about in a location where there has been a low probability that fish will be present is not very productive.

So, what do you do? It seems like this is likely to be like those times when having a fish finder or depth detector is going to be completely necessary. When using a depths finder, it is simple to zero in on the optimal locations for drifting.

Based on the depth of the water you are fishing in, you will be searching for spots with drop-offs that are between 35 and 40 feet deep. You may use the depth finder to check for colorful lines and debris, both of which often signal the presence of significant quantities of bait inside the water.

In the majority of cases, the image of huge fish at the bottom and close to all the fish in the waters into it you will be picked up by your fish detector.

If you are relatively new to fishing for fish, you should definitely start by reading my detailed guide to cat fishing, which provide you with all of my most helpful angling advice.

How to drift for catfish: Things to Consider

How to Drift for Catfish
How to Drift for Catfish

Once again, the emphasis of these pointers is on the classic method of drift fishing, in which you drift your boat from across lake by using the breeze to capture catfish.

Scattered Fish, No Experience, No Problem!

It is not uncommon for catfish to be dispersed to the point that it is difficult to identify produce a strong of fish in a narrow zone on which to anchor. Another challenge is becoming familiar with reading sonar readings and locating catfish. Drift fishing is not only a fantastic answer to both of these problems, but it can also teach you new skills and abilities.

Get One Good Drift Sock, Or Maybe Two

The drift sock is the most fundamental component of traditional drift fishing. They allow you to better manage the angle and pace of the drift while also helping you orient your boat in relation to the wind. Ensure that you are in possession of at minimum one high-quality drift sock and that you are familiar with its operation.

Drift Speed Is Critical and Speed Kills

The velocity of the drift is one of the most important factors in successfully capturing catfish. Because you won’t catch any fish if you’re drifting too quickly, you ought to construct absolutely certain that you contain the right drift socks. It is clear to you how to utilize them. In this case, you give close thought to the pace of your drifting and understand what succeeds and what’s not.

Drift Fishing For Catfish Rigs

Catfishing success hinges on mastering the art of drifting quickly. Ensure you’ve got drift socks and know how use them, and keep an eye on your drift speed to see what succeeds and what’s not, so that you can catch fish.

Catfish Rods and Gear

When it relates to catfish hooks, reels, and other gear for drift fishing, you have a lot of choices.Choosing a catfish rod is a crucial decision. The tip of the rod should be able to bend a little bit so that circular hooks can be used properly. For an overall cat fishing rod, I prefer a moderately quick action.

Catfish Bait For Drifting

Drift fishing uses the same conventional catfish baits that work best for every type of catfish. Bait for blue catfish is almost universally agreed to be the finest when it comes to newly caught. Freezing shad may be used if necessary; it is preferable to using no lure at all.

Drifting Blind

Catfish anglers should never use this tactic, regardless of technique. A fishfinder may be a valuable tool if you know how to use it and analyze the pictures that appear on the screen. It may take some time and practice, but it will pay off in the long run.

The eventual aim is to ensure that you aren’t swaying in the wind without a clear path.

Drifting vs Fishing on Anchor, What’s Better?

Catfish fishermen are split on whether it’s better to remain or drift to catch catfish. Everything has a time and a place, including both methods.

Drifting is a terrific method to learn and gain experience, but ultimately the greatest approach is the one in which you have the most faith.

Some catfish guides and competition anglers like to fish on anchor, while others prefer to drift their boats. there are some that combine the two.

Many very skilled catfish fishermen frequently win major catfish competitions by drift fishing just in some way. At the very least, learning the basics of drifting and giving it a go should be motivation enough.

Hi Vis Fishing Line Makes a Difference

When I’m fishing for compliments, I use highly visible fishing line, and it’s an essential part of my kit. The term “brightly colored” refers to anything that’s simple to see when fishing because of its color.

This product line is offered in a wide range of colors and by a wide range of manufacturers. The best brand of fishing line is a matter of personal opinion, so long as it can withstand the rigors of catfishing.

Catfish drift fishing requires you to observe where your hooks are in connection to each other in order to avoid tangles.

3 Drifting Techniques for Catfish

Drifting Techniques for Catfish

Catfish may be caught by drifting. Drifting the Mississippi River with a graphite rod in hand can be recommended for anglers who like to fish large lakes in South Carolina with E-glass rods.

When drifting, some fishermen insist that the lines and baits must be perpendicular to the boat and trailed underneath at a 45-degree angle.


The Masingales are masters of the art of back-bouncing baits in the Mississippi River’s ferocious currents. These anglers like hefty gear, including large weights, strong yet responsive rods, and wrapped lines.

In Daryl’s words: “The secret is to feel the bottom and understand what you’re experiencing. You may slow your boat speed by using a trolling motor, and then release baits to stroll them down the river while the boat floats by.” When starting off, it’s best to use heavier weights like 6 or 8 ounces, but after you get the hang of it, you can go down to 3 or 4 ounces.


Dragging is widely thought to have originated in the Santee-Cooper system, and skipper Ricky Drose gave support to the old-school fisherman of Lake Moultrie. Ever since late 1940s, the three-time national catfishing competition winner, along with the National King Kat Tournament, has been guiding on Santee-Cooper.

The dragging on Moultrie had been picked up by us from Jackie Jones. This guy got it from somewhere. It’s a setup with a weighted hook leader and a float to hold the bait above the water’s surface.

I build my own pencil sinkers with a snap on one point and an eye on the other end, weighing between half an ounces and one ounce. With a leader of the very same 130-pound-test Spider wire braiding mainline, I attach an Eagle Claw on the end.

Vertical Drifting

When thermoclines form in lakes in the middle of summer, horizontal drifting is at its best. Baitfish and catfish may be found somewhere above the troposphere, where Patterson uses his trolled motor to drift between 0.5 and 1.0 mph. In the winter, when baitfish are migrating to deep holes, vertical drifting is an excellent technique to use. Vertical bobbing is an excellent method for locating schools of blue catfish since the fish tend to follow the bait.

Drift Fishing for Catfish: Critical Tips You Must Know

  • Use Fresh Bait
  • Know Your Speed and Depth
  • Finding Active Fish
  • Controlling the Drift
  • The Drifting Approach
  • Chicken For Bait

What’s a Good Rig Set Up for Drift Fishing

In order to drift fish effectively, you’ll need the appropriate rig setting.

Basic Catfish Drifting Rig:

  • 1 Ounce Egg Sinker fond of to the Mainline
  • Swivel friendly to grasp the Sinker in Place
  • 17-30 LB Test Line
  • 30 Inches of 14 LB Test Leader Line Attached to the Swivel
  • Size 4 Hook

Final Thought

Now you know- how to drift for catfish? The finest instructor is one’s own experience. Using these above instructions, you’ll be well on your way to catching catfish when drift fishing.

Drift Fishing For Catfish E-Book is a great way to minimize your training time and get on track to success to capturing catfish.

This comprehensive guide on catfish drift fishing is based on over fifteen decades work expertise as an experienced catfish instructor.

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