Gear & Tackle
Due to the wide range of catfish size - 1 to 60+ pounds - and habitat - rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs - it is difficult to recommend an exact tackle combination. Cats are powerful creatures and often live in thick, snaggy cover, so try to match your rod and reel to the size of the fish you expect to catch.
Lures & Presentation
Cats are caught almost exclusively by drifting a bait downstream or "soaking" a bait near likely habitat. Floats allow you to cover a lot of water, searching for active fish, while soaking provides the opportunity for staging fish to discover the bait.
How to Locate
Catfish are bottom feeders. In almost every case, if your bait is not within a couple of feet of the bottom, you're out of the fish zone. In rivers, look for obvious habitat such as downed trees, deep pools, wing dams, culverts, etc. Fish will hold in current breaks, upstream ends of outside bends, and just below impassable dams. In lakes, ponds and reservoirs, cats will seek out flats with close access to deep water, and key on the inside turns along drop offs. Mouths of incoming streams and flooded timber are also high percentage areas.
Courtesy of Berkley