Across the country, you’ll find several catfish tournaments throughout the year. Fishing in general tends to evoke a competitive spirit in anglers, but something about catfish just brings out the real beast. There are ways that most fishermen go about getting ready for a catfish tournament, and there are several tips that can come in handy when you’re getting ready to join in your first.

First of all, under normal circumstances, you will probably settle for whatever bait is available at the time and work with it. However, for catfish tournaments, where you’ll be competing for the most and largest fish, you’ll want to seek out the bait with which you usually get the best results. Depending on the type of catfish you are aiming for, this could be night crawlers, crawfish, chicken livers, or some other bait that you have found incredible success with in the past.

Secondly, you want to be familiar with the waters in which the catfish tournament is taking place. Most tournaments will not be at your home lake or river, and scouting out the tournament location can give you an upper hand. Also, some lakes and rivers have so many offshoots and side pools that it’s easy to get lost in them, making it difficult to get back on time for judging. At the same time, you want to be sure to know where many of these creeks and feeders are because, often, catfish are more readily found here than in main areas of a lake or river. You also need to know about structures in the water that can damage your boat, like the many trail and wing dikes in the Mississippi River. Know where the high mud banks, brush piles, and other structures are – these are always great locations to find catfish trying to feed.

Another thing you should do to prepare for catfish tournaments is to get used to being around a lot of other boats. You certainly won’t be navigating an open waterway alone during these competitions, so you need to brush up on your boat safety and check out the rules requiring that you maintain a certain distance from other fishermen in the tournament. Prepare yourself – know what to expect from the weather.

Catfish tournaments will go on regardless of the weather, whether it is pouring rain or the heat index is pushing 115. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for all types of weather. Make certain that you have proper shelter and plenty of liquids to drink. Protective gear, such as hats, and sunblock is also a good idea.