In the southeastern United States, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have significant populations of two of the biggest catfish. Anglers in these states target both the flathead and blue catfish because of the strength when hooked and the food quality. What is the difference between a flathead catfish and a blue catfish?

What Bodies Of Water Are These Types Of Fish Found

Both types of catfish species live in freshwater; however, they prefer different habitats. The flathead prefers murky water with little to no flow around brush and other submerged debris.  Blue cats are quite the opposite. The blue cat lurks in the strong currents of rivers on soft sandy river beds or lake floors. 

Are Flathead Catfish And Blue Catfish The Same

The flathead and blue are not the same species of fish but are in the same family. Catfish are the most prominent family of fish in freshwater in North America, with a total of 49 species. Despite the familial ties, the two are easily distinguishable from each other. 

Flathead Catfish Identification

Much like it sounds, the head of a flathead is flat, which is critical to identifying this catfish variety from others. 

Beyond the head, the sides are colored from yellow to brown depending on the habitat and fading to cream along the fish’s belly. Unlike the blue catfish, the flathead has a flat tail.

As far as size is concerned, they range from three to four feet and exceed 80 pounds in weight. Keep in mind that the average fish is in the twenty-pound range. However, this is highly dependent on the lake, river, or stream.  

Blue Catfish Identification

The blue catfish has a deeply forked tail similar to that of the channel catfish. Beyond the tail, the fish has other distinguishing marks. Hence the name, the color of the skin is blue on the back and the sides.

The blues are the largest of the catfish in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. This type of catfish exceeds 100 pounds in weight. Although they grow up to 65 inches in length, the average fish ranges between 20 and 45 inches and 25 pounds. 

Is Flathead Catfish Good Eating

 Flathead catfish are excellent to eat when the catfish are properly skinned. As a result of a diet consisting of live bait, the fillets take on a sweet flavor. 

With either a blue cat or flathead cat, the yield can be substantial based on the size of the fish. However, smaller but legal sized fish are the tastiest of them all. 

Are Blue Catfish Good Eating

The blue cats are comparable in quality mostly because of the habitat in which they live. 

Blue’s prefer clear water compared to murky water and therefore the fillets do not take on a muddy flavor like the majority of the catfish family. 

What Methods Are Used To Catch Flathead Catfish and Blue Catfish

The gear needed to catch blue catfish and flathead catfish is identical because each of the two catfish is of similar size. Therefore, avoid spending unnecessary money. The same rod and reel combinations are equally as effective for both species in addition to hooks and weights.

What Size Rod And Reels Are Necessary

Although not every fish hooked will require heavy tackle, you will want to be prepared when that particular fish strikes the bait. 

The best combination rod and reels are medium-heavy rods with reels in the 8000 size range. Feed 50-80 pound fishing line onto the reel to avoid breaking fish off during the fight. 

What Bait And Rigs Work To Catch Flathead Catfish and Blue Catfish

 The approach to catching blue catfish and flathead catfish is slightly different. Here is the technique to catching flathead catfish vs blue catfish.

How To Catch Blue Catfish

Blue catfish often confused with the name blue head catfish are more apt to strike dead or cut bait presented on a hook at the bottom. The types of bait include whole or cut shad, stink baits, or chicken livers. 

How To Catch Flathead Catfish

The best technique for catching flathead catfish is fishing river bends by drifting bait next to the current.

Flathead readily strikes live baits. Present live baits like bluegill and shad to increase the likelihood hood of a bit from a giant flathead catfish on the bed soft bottom lakes and rivers. 

Blue Catfish Vs Channel Catfish How Are They Different

Freshwater lakes are home to an abundance of catfish species and in addition to flathead catfish, bullhead catfish, and blue catfish are channel catfish. The channel catfish vs blue catfish vs flathead catfish all have unique characteristics because they vary in size, appearance, and fishing techniques. Here is the difference between a bullhead vs. channel catfish.

When comparing blue catfish vs channel catfish, the channel catfish is more similar in appearance to the flathead catfish however it is significantly smaller in size.

When fishing for channel catfish anglers do not need to use heavy gear as with targeting blue head catfish. The average blue catfish weighs in the 20-pound range while channel catfish average 5 pounds or less.

Should You Go Fishing For Flathead Catfish And Blue Catfish in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia

Yes, flathead and blue catfish fishing in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia is well worth your time. Each of the two catfish in the family is solid fighters and excellent to eat. Obtain a freshwater fishing license for the state in which you will be fishing to avoid costly fines. Lastly, check with the local regulations before harvesting fish for dinner.