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RIGGING GUIDES & HOW-TO

CATFISH

Where To Fish

Catfish are found in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs. Fish areas around dams, brush piles, riffles, and deep pools.

When To Fish

Catfish feed most actively at night but remain active throughout the day. They become more active in warmer water temperatures.

What To Use

Catfish are scavengers and feed on many offerings. They rely heavily on their sense of smell and are attracted to strong smelling natural and prepared baits. Favorite natural baits include minnows, cut baits, and worms.

Fishing Strategies

Fish near the bottom allowing the current to disperse the scent of your bait. With floating rigs cast upstream of cover allowing the current to drift your bait into the cover.

Use heavier line with swivels as large catfish are strong and will “roll” and wrap your line into snags.

Catfish can be finicky and will not strike hard. After seeing a “nibble” allow up to ten seconds, then set the hook.

Basic Rigs and Techniques

The choice of rig and technique depends on fishing conditions.
The Clinch Knot is recommended for all rigs.

Here are some popular approaches to Catfish fishing.

Fixed Floating Rig
Fixed rigs are used in shallow water for suspending bait 2–3 feet below the surface. Cast it above obstructions, allowing it to float into cover.
  1. Tie line to treble hook.
  2. Crimp on splitshot approximately 8" from hook.
  3. Attach cigar float to line, 12" or more from splitshot. Adjust for depth as needed.
  4. Place a 3/4" chunk of bait onto hook so that the barbs are barely exposed.
Pole Float Rig
This rig works well in deeper water. The sliding bobber casts easier than a fixed float and allows the bait to fall to the desired depth.
  1. Pass line through string-knot tube, slip the stop-knot off tube, then discard tube.
  2. Move knot to desired depth and tighten by pulling string from both ends.
  3. Pass line through bead, followed by pole float.
  4. Tie treble hook onto line and add split shot if needed.
  5. Place a ½-in to 1½-in chunk of bait onto hook so that the barbs are barely exposed.
  6. Adjust stop knot as necessary.
Catfish / Bullhead Rig
This double rig is designed for bottom fishing in rivers, streams, and lakes. The sliding weight allows the fish to run with minimum resistance.
  1. Pass line through egg weight.
  2. Tie line onto catfish/ bullhead leader.
  3. Snap treble hook onto each eyelet.
  4. Place a 1/2" – 1 1/2" chunk of bait onto hook so that the barbs are barely exposed.
Dip Bait Rig
This type of rig is used with dip bait and is intended for bottom fishing in rivers, streams, and lakes. The ridges in the dip worm allow the scent of the bait to be released gradually.
  1. Pass line through egg weight.
  2. Tie snap swivel to line.
  3. Snap pre-rigged dip bait worm onto swivel.
  4. Cover worm in dip bait, carefully working the bait into the ridges.