Tightlining Set-Up

How do I set up a tight lining rig?

Tightlining is a great way to get catfish, especially at night or when you have lots of foliage and other obstructions in the water.

As far as bait and hooks go, pretty much any will do.  If you want to catch big fish, go with big bait and a bigger hook size.  Some folks swear by circle hooks when they’re tightlining, but use what works best for you.  Your first time tightlining while you’re experimenting, I’d recommend using a treble hook.

Loop the hook in the middle of your line.  Just how far to loop it from the end will take some getting used to.  Most tightliners find that anywhere from 18-30 inches (from the end of the line) works well, although I’ve heard of some going as far as 3 feet.  It takes a little trial and error, so experiment a little and see what works.

The most important part is the weight.  Tightlining uses a little weight at the end of the line to keep it tight.  How heavy this weight should be depends on the current.  You want that weight to stay put and not move around.  If you have a little current, you’ll want to put on some extra weight.

You also don’t want that weight so heavy you won’t feel it when you get a bite.  Those catfish will strike quick and soft sometimes, and you won’t even feel it.

With the weight on the end of the line, just enough so that it won’t move, you pull that line tight, and you can just about feel it when you get a bite.  I have a friend who puts a little tiny bell on the end of his line so he hears when he gets a hit.  That might be going a bit far, but if it works for you…

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

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