Catfish Rigs: The Best Rigs For Catfishing

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catfish rigs

Catfish rigs are hot topic at Learn To Catch Catfish and something I am constantly questioned about.

The catfish rigs drawings and instructions were among some of the first pages I added to the Learn To Catch Catfish website and remain to this day some of the most visited pages.

Despite the number of catfish rigs I have covered and the level of detail provided, I still get questions on a daily basis.

These questions range from you, the readers wanting to know more about selecting catfish rigs for each different species of catfish to wanting more in depth information on each of the individual catfish rigs and the best applications and what techniques to use them in.

With that in mind, this page on catfish rigs was born to serve as a central location for you to find all the important information on catfish rigs in one location.

I’ll cover everything you need to know about catfish rigs to get started fishing for catfish as well as some more advanced details on catfish rigs and how they apply to various catfishing techniques, covering all the information you need and nothing you don’t.

Catfish Rigs Are Important, But Not The “Be All End All”

More important than the rig you have tied on the end of your fishing line is the bait you are using and fishing in the right location. Having the right catfish bait for your target species is one of the most important steps you can take to be successful fishing for catfish.

Bait selection is equally important as fishing in the right location.

If you are not using the right bait and fishing in the right location NOTHING with help you catch fish, including using the best rig there is.

You can tweak the catfish rigs you are using, try everything in this book and every technique imaginable and it will not produce fish for you consistently if you don’t fish the right bait in the right location.

What Matters With Catfish Rigs

I talk to many people on a weekly basis and find that way too many people are trying to either “recreate the wheel” and invent new rigs or obsessing over minor details like an inch or two in leader length or some other detail that doesn’t matter.

If you are going to obsess over something, obsess over patterning fish and learning to find them consistently and having the right baits. If you do these things, then everything else is just “details”.

If you’re fishing the right bait in the right location then a difference of a few inches in leader length is not going to make much difference in most instances. A little more or less weight, a different sinker or a float is not going to matter in these situations either.

What matters is getting the right bait, in the right location, at the right time, and then you can tweak and obsess over the catfish rigs you are using but most of the time, everything will fall into place.

The Knots You Need To Know For Catfish Rigs

You can tie the most catfish rigs with a few simple knots. In fact  three simple knots the Palomar knot, snell and the Trilene knot will do most of what is needed and you can wrap things up with a dropper loop and know almost everything you need to know.

Palomar Knot - The fishing knot every angler should know. One of the strongest fishing knots available and also super easy to tie.

Trilene Knot - A little known knot perfect for tying terminal tackle. The trilene knot is strong and easy to tie.

Easy Snell - The snell is a great way to attach circle hooks to leaders. Snelling a hook is super strong and easy to do with this simple method.

Dropper Loop - The dropper loop is used for adding leaders to some catfish rigs.

Essential Catfish Rigs – The Top Catfish Rigs

The following catfish rigs are essential catfish rigs you should now for fishing for channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish. These are “go to” rigs that every catfish angler should know.

These catfish rigs will not only help you get your catfish baits in the target locations or “strike zones” but will also help in other areas as well. If you are only going to learn

Slip Sinker Rig: The “Must Know” Catfish Rig - The essential catfish rig for all species of catfish.

Santee Rig Or Santee Cooper Rig - The essential catfish rig for blue catfish.

Secret Catfish Rig - The most effective channel catfish rig ever!

Slip Bobber Rig - Great for channel catfish and occasionally blues and flatheads also!

Modified Three Way Rig – A versatile catfish rig for all species of catfish.

Other Catfish Rigs To Know

The following catfish rigs are less commonly used and apply to more specific situations. If you need to get more precise with your presentation or change things up a bit these catfish rigs might fit the bill.

Traditional Bobber Rig - Great for splat fishing and other specialized techniques.

Double Hook Rig - For targeting big trophy class cats with big pieces of cut bait.

Drop Shot Rig – For targeting cats in and around tight cover.

The Float Rig - An alternative of the three way rig.

Three Way Rig - It’s one of the most popular setups, but is it worth the trouble?

Pool Noodle Rig -A slip bobber variation for big baits or drifting baits long distances.

Balloon Rig - An overlooked way of rigging for drifting baits, especially from the shore. If you are fishing from the shore this is a “must know” catfish rig.

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