For a true channel catfish challenge, tackle Canada’s whiskered giants on a fly rod
When tackling a big channel cat, the most important thing is to never hold the rod upright with the tip high. This concentrates pressure on the top of the rod, and it will break—not a good outcome at any time, but especially bad when you have the fish of a lifetime on the line.
Instead, load the stronger, lower part of the rod, by holding the rod nearly horizontal (as above), with the tip out to the side. The rod will never break if you hold it like this, and it hugely increases the amount of pressure you put on the fish. And if the fish changes directions, you can change the angle of pressure by swinging the rod out to the other side. Most people fight big channel cats for 15 minutes or longer, but by keeping the rod out to the side, the longest fight I’ve ever had was 10 minutes—and that was with a 40-incer.
Of course, all this doesn’t mean it’s easy to fight channel cats—on the contrary. The power of these fish is beyond belief, and that makes catching them on the fly rod a true challenge.