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Fish Kent Blog - Catching Catfish in Kent

Cat fishing is taking the Uk angling scene by storm with more an more commercial fisheries stocking these hard fighting predators.  Loving the warmer water down south some of the largest UK catfish can be found in Kent.  Many of Ken's commercial fisheries have stocked catfusg in recent years and they are growing rapidly.

A Uk Catfish of 20 or 30lbs was once considered a specimen catch but now you can realistically target fish over 40 or even 50lbs in Kent's waters.  These hard fighting fish will put a considerably strain on your tackle exploiting any weekness.  So top qaulity rigs and tackle is essential when landing a monster Wels!

Catfish rigs

Whether you’re targeting catfish for the first time or not, I still believe that it’s hard to beat a really simple strong rig with a razor sharp hook. Like a lot of modern fishing its easy to over-complicate rigs but a well thought out simple rig will always work best.

A simple yet beefed up carp rig is the best starting point for a catfish rig.  Hook choice is critical,  you want to use the sharpest, strongest hooks you can find.  I always keep a hook sharpener in my tackle box and re-touch the edge of my hook almost every cast.  I cannot over-stress enough a sharp hook is critical.

A semi-fixed lead works well but try to experiment with tubing to make sure you lead will release with less pressure than you might normally have when carp fishing.  Once a catfish is hooked a free running lead gives better bite indication.  2 to 3 feet of anti-tangle tubing up your line can save you a lot of lost fish, catfish will often roll up your line and their sharp pectoral fin can cut your line.  Knot strength is critical in a catfish rig, just make sure that you check all your knots and are happy they are perfectly tied.

Catfish bait

Catfish are not fussy eaters but on Uk waters either boilies (where allowed) or marine pellets are the perfect baits.  Fishy flavoured boilies with a high fish oil content are perfect, whether making you own or buying from a shop just go for the biggest size you can find.

If carp are present in the water, and they most probable will there are a few things you can do to avoid them in favour of the cats.  Bait size is one, really do not be afraid to step up to a big bait.  Often all but the most greedy of carp are put off by a bigger bait.  Feeding heavily is another, if you can fish directly over your feed area and you have fed with marine pellets or fishy boilies any catfish will quickly push out the carp.  

How to land big catfish

Getting a big catfish to pick up your rig is one thing but landing them can be another challenge altogether!

On UK waters you can still get away with heavy carp rods on most fisheries, but a 3lb test curve is really the minimum rod strength you want to be fishing with.  Line strength and quality is also a top priority, whether using braid or mono strong high quality line is essential.  Check your line regularly for any kinks or weaknesses and replace it if needed.  Most heavy carp or big pit reels are up to the job when fishing for cats but if you have any doubts about your reel don't use it when catfishing.

A large landing net is pretty much essential, you won't really need a dedicated cat net on most waters but something over 40 inches is ideal.  It goes without saying that a large unhooking mat is required some of the pike mats are ideal for catfish as they are longer than a carp unhooking mat.

A glove is worth keeping close by it allows you to hold a catfish by the mouth without taking the skin off your fingers.


UK Catfishing is becoming more and more popular as each season goes by.  Its a really accessible arm of our sport than any angler can easily move into with a few tackle modifications.  As with all fishing, do your research stomp the bank for some local advice and enjoy it.