Successful Catfishing Rigs

What’s the best way to rig my pole to catch catfish?

Rigging up for catfishing can take just about every form imaginable. Catfishing is one of the oldest and most widespread fishing forms in North America, and as such, every kind of rigging has been applied to fishing for them, some more successfully than others. Since we’re talking specifically about rigging a “pole”, here, we can leave all the concepts of limblines, trotlines and jugfishing out of the discussion, for the moment. Starting with the pole itself, make sure your gear is strong, solid and if anything, a bit over-engineered for your intended catch, as cats are stunningly strong, and can break an inadequate rod or reel much more easily than you might think. Baitcasting reels seem to be the overall favourite for the catfishing sport, with a really good spinning reel coming in second, although any strong, locking-spool reel design will be useful to catch fish. Strong, flexible lines are best, with braids surpassing monofilaments for the bigger fish. Going cheap on the line quality, or the length of it you have available on your reel, will likely lose you a fish or three. When we get down to the business end of your setup, a sliding ledger or slipweight rig is the most flexible and effective weighted rig for all-around catfishing, or, if you are using a bigger piece of bait, or if you are drift fishing, you can go with no sinker at all. Your choice of hook will depend on the size of fish you anticipate meeting up with, and the style of fishing you are using, but any hook needs to be kept sharp and be well-secured to the end of the line. Baits can vary from locale to locale, but big catfish eat fish almost entirely, and all cats navigate and locate food primarily with their sense of smell, so keep these two points in mind when baiting up, for good general results in your fishing expeditions.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

One Response to “Successful Catfishing Rigs”

  1. Patrick Parker says:

    Hi Dan,

    I am new to catfish fishing and need to know everything about how to start get stared. Please help I dont know the first thing about this.

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