catfishing rigs

The 3 Catfish Rigs You Need To Know

The number of anglers that are interested in catfishing is growing, something evidenced by the absolute boom in the amount of gear on the marketplace designed specifically for kitty chasers, even with a Catfish Mystery Tackle Box. Major manufacturers are now making rods and reels specifically for catfish, and there are even regular catfish tournaments across the country.

What’s lagged behind is technique awareness, as far too many people still think that the only way to catfish is to slap a big split shot on the line and let it sit on the bottom.

Sure, that might work – but here are three other catfish rigs to bring those whiskers to shore, split-shot not included.

1. Three-Way Rig

catfish rigs


The three way rig is ideal for getting the weight and bait farther apart. To rig, tie your mainline to one eye of a three-way swivel. To one of the remaining two eyes, attach a short 12-18 inch piece of line and then secure a ½ to 2 ounce donut sinker (depending on depth and current). To the last eye, tie another 2-4 foot piece of line, and then your hook. The three way rig separates the bait from the weight, so that it can move around more enticingly in the current.

2. Carolina Rig

catfishing carolina rig


Bass anglers have long used the Carolina rig because it perfectly presents a bait on the bottom without allowing the fish to feel weight. To rig, slide on a ½ to 2 ounce bell or casting sinker like the Mudville Castmaster No Roll, then tie on a swivel large enough to prevent the sinker from passing over it. To the remaining swivel eye, tie an 18-36 inch leader and a hook like the Mudville Castmaster Dough Bait Treble Hook. Carolina rigs work by allowing the mainline to slide freely through the sinker – so when a big cat picks it up; it can swim away without feeling any weight. This is particularly effective when the fish are finicky.

3. Floating Rig

catfish float rig


Catfish often cruise muddy, or muck bottoms in search of their meals. Traditional rigs often sink into soft bottom, diminishing their scent trails. A floating rig prevents that by getting the bait up off the bottom a couple inches for maximum visibility. To rig it, just rig up a Carolina rig, but then add a 1 or 2 inch inline cigar float to the Carlisle Pole Float leader before you tie on the hook. This will float the bait up off the bottom just enough to attract curious cats.

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