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Catfish Tackle and Gear – Suggested Products


This page was created as a resource for catfish tackle, rods, reels, supplies for your catfish boat and other items I suggest. These are all items I use as a professional catfish guide and have confidence in so I know they work and work well, and will hold up to continued long term use.

I will continue to add to this page or make changes as I find new products that you should check out or consider using for fishing for catfish.

Where items are specific to blue catfishchannel catfish or flathead catfish I list specific notes about this tackle and the different catfish species.

Catfish Baits

These are specifically prepared catfish baits used primarily for fishing for channel catfish. If you are looking for information on catfish bait for blue catfish and flathead catfish check out our article on the best catfish baits.

There are TONS of catfish baits on the market from a variety of manufacturers. I only suggest prepared baits that I use and that I know work so this listing will be pretty short.

Team Catfish Sudden Impact Fiber Bait – Team Catfish Sudden Impact Fiber Bait is referred to as a fiber bait but punch bait is the same thing. I have been using this bait for a while now and it works really well. The advantage of this over Sure Shot is it doesn’t get soupy in hot weather. For more information on this check out my interview with Team Catfish.

Sure Shot Catfish Punch Bait – Made in Decatur Texas by Benny Roberts. Benny Roberts catfish bait is an excellent bait for fishing for channel catfish and on occasion blue catfish. It is not readily available in stores so you have to get it directly from Benny or one of the few retail locations.

Redneck’s Catfish Bait Soap – Yes we manufacture this but this is the best prepared bait for jug fishing, trotlines, setlines, limb lines or any other form of setline fishing. Old fashioned lye soap catfish bait made from my families recipe that dates back over 70 years.

Tackle Boxes

Tackle boxes are really overthought for catfishing and people have tendency to go way overboard with their tackle boxes. Keep it simple! Catfish tackle is relatively simple and doesn’t require hundreds of lures and lots of different variations so you can get by with a minimal amount of fishing tackle and a simplistic tackle box.

Plano Dry Storage BoxesImage – I use these for a bulk storage tackle box keeping the vast majority of my tackle in this box. It’s simple and super durable and best of all waterproof. This prevents your tackle getting wet, rusted and causing problems over long term use. These will last for years and are super cheap.

Plano Waterproof Stowaway Utility Box – I use this for a working tackle box. This is a small box that you keep a minimal amount of tackle in for rigging your catfish rigs. This gives you a small and super portable tackle box for getting set up or making new rigs and if the box falls over and spill you have a minimal amount of tackle to pickup. These boxes are also waterproof and have a super right seal and latches on three sides which keeps water from getting in so your tackle doesn’t rust. Check out my catfishing quick tip video on a working tackle box for suggestions on what to keep in this.

Catfish Hooks

You can find additional information in our catfish hooks section. I also suggest you check out our Catfishing Radio podcast on catfishing with circle hooks.

Eagle Claw Kahle Hooks – For blue catfish and channel catfish. The Eagle Claw L142F or L141BPF (L142 is Nickel Finish – L141BPF is Black Pearl Finish) Size 3/0 and 4/0 – Perfect for fishing cut bait, shad or live bait. These hooks will work for any size fish from small box fish to trophy blue catfish. I carry size 3/0 and size 4/0 in my tackle box. These are perfect for rod and reel fishing and can be used on jug fishing or trotlines also but you cannot run braided line for juglines or trotlines through the eye doubled (for jug fishing or trotlines) because the eye is not large enough, you can run #9 braided nylon twine through the eye single though.

Eagle Claw Lazer Treble Hooks – For channel catfish with prepared baits like dip bait or punch bait. Size #4 and #6 – 4X L774F – For fishing with catfish punch bait or other prepared catfish baits. Treble hooks get wrecked quickly when fishing with prepared baits for catfish, If you are going to fish with prepared baits for catfish these are an essential tackle item. I use #6 treble hooks probably 90% of the time but I keep some #4 treble hooks around because occasionally when they are really aggressive I need to go up in hook size like I mentioned in choosing a hook for fishing with punch bait.

Daiichi Circle Chunk Light – Size 7/0 – For blue catfish, trophy blue catfish or flathead catfish– an excellent hook for for catfish. This hook is incredibly effective. If you are going to be drift fishing you need to get plenty of extras because you will lose a lot of hooks. You should also keep a small handful of 5/0 hooks on hand in case you need to downsize your hooks for smaller fish.

Team Catfish DOUBLE ACTION Catfish Circle Hooks – For blue catfish, trophy blue catfish and flathead catfish. These are very similar to the Daiichi hooks listed. Size 5/0 is a good middle of the road size for blue catfish and size 8/0 is a larger hook still capable of landing small to medium sized catfish but also works well for trophy class catfish. These hooks work very good for fishing with cut bait like fresh threadfin shad or gizzard shad.

Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Circle Sea Offset Circle Hooks – Model L197- An excellent hook for jug fishing and trotlines as well as rod and reel fishing. This is a “go to” hook for setline fishing (trotlines, juglines, limb lines, bank lines). They work well and are inexpensive so they won’t break the bank when you have to buy in bulk.

Fishing Line For Catfish

For detailed information on choosing fishing line read my article on fishing line and check out the podcast on catfish line, braid and monofilament.

Offshore Angler Tight Line – 1/2 lb. Spools- This is what I use as my “main line” fishing line on all my fishing reels I use the fluorescent yellow color in 20 lb test for my mainline. It is inexpensive and performs very well for catfish. You will be hard pressed to find anything cheaper or that performs any better. I like high visibility line for a variety of reasons, you can learn more about that through the podcast link above.

Offshore Angler Tight Line – 1/4 lb. Spools – 40 Lb Test Clear – This is what I use for my leader line. Just get a 1/4 lb spool because that will make you enough leaders to last a very long time. I use clear monofilament in 40 Lb test for my leader line. This will do everything you need it to do and then some. Be sure to check out my leader line trick for a quick and easy way to make sure you keep your leader line straight and organized in your tackle box.

Terminal Tackle For Catfish

Don’t go overboard here and think you need a million different variations of sinker weight and styles. To get some good background information on what you need check out the catfish tackle basics podcast. These are the basic terminal tackle items you will need for catfishing.

No Roll Sinkers – Size 1 Ounce, 1.5 Ounce, 2 Ounce – These no roll sinkers are another essential tackle item. I use these for lake and river fishing. I use the one ounce and 1.5 ounce more than anything but always keep plenty of two ounce no roll sinkers around for fishing in heavy current when necessary. These are used for santee rigs and slip sinker rigs and can be multipurpose use for a variety of different setups.

Egg Sinkers – 1 Oz, 1.5 Oz and 2 Oz – For santee rigs and slip sinker rigs. These can also be multipurpose use for a variety of different catfish rigs also. If given the choice I prefer no roll sinkers over egg sinkers.

Split Shot Weights – Size 1, 2, 4 – For rigging slip floats (slip bobbers) for rigging slip bobbers

Barrel Swivels – Size 1/0 – I keep a LOT of these around because I burn through them quickly. This is an essential part of just about every rig I use. Size 1/0 is a good overall size for all applications.

Foam Peg Floats – 1.5 Inch, 2 Inch and 2.5 Inch for santee cooper rigs.Goes on the leader line when rigging with a santee rig.

3” Cyalume Lunker Light Stick – Glow in the dark light sticks for night fishing. Attach to floats for night fishing.

Secret Channel Catfish Rig – If you are fishing for channel catfish, this is a must have. Buy the book, make them and you will see your catches increase significantly for channel catfish.

Lindy Thill Pro Series Slip Bobber Floats – Unweighted – Slip floats for slip bobber rigs, exceptional for fishing with prepared baits.

Catfish Rods

The correct rod can make or break your fishing. As a general rule, most people have tendency to go way overboard with the size and action of the fishing rods they use. There is a lot of good information in the Catfishing Radio podcast on choosing a catfish rod and you can also find some good general information in our catfish rods section.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Trigger Rods – For channel catfish, flathead catfish or blue catfish. Ugly Stik CAL1100 – 7’6 ML Action Rod – This is an excellent rod for fishing with prepared baits like punch or dip bait. They are available in M and ML actions but I like the ML action for fishing prepared baits for “box” fish (1-10 Lb fish). This is not a good option for big cats but is a super sensitive and super tough rod for smaller fish.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Lite Salmon/Steelhead Trigger Rods For channel catfish, flathead catfish or blue catfish.– 8’6? MH Action – I have been testing these out recently and am very impressed with them. I have been a fan of using salmon and steelhead fishing rods for many years. They are the ultimate multipurpose fishing rods. Capable of handling big monster trophy blue cats and sensitive enough for an ultra light channel cat bite, and still light and easy to hold and extra long for good control and extra casting distance. These rods can be used in ANY application. Be sure to check out the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Salmon Rod review also.

Whuppin Stick Casting Rods – Cabela’s version of the Ugly Stik fishing rod. I have owned several of these Whuppin Stick rods in the past and they have been good rods. Just like an Ugly Stik, strong and durable and with cork handles. The WSCML 70-2 is very similar to the CAL1100 Ugly Stik above, a very good choice for fishing punch baits or prepared baits. The WSCMH 90-2 is a 9 foot MH action and a good alternative for fishing for bigger fish.

Team Catfish Thunder Cat Catfish Rods – I have been using these for trophy blue catfish recently and they are a solid well built fishing rod. They are significantly heavier than the salmon/steelhead rods I have been using for years. My son caught the Texas state record junior angler blue catfish with one of these rods and it performed flawless. If you are looking for a heavier fishing rod then the Team Catfish Thunder Cat Catfish Rod is an excellent choice.

Catfish Reels

There are a LOT of options when it comes to catfish reels and as a general rule I suggest saving your money and buying Abu Garcia 6000 series fishing reels instead of cheaper reels. If you have to go with one of the cheaper options it is a good temporary option but most of these will not hold up to long term use like the Abu Garcia reels. In addition you should check out the podcast on choosing a catfish reel and all the resources in our catfish reels section.

Inexpensive Option - Bass Pro Shops MegaCast Metal Round Baitcast Reel – I picked one of these up the other day but have yet to use it. I know a couple of guides that are using these reels as their primary reels and they say they have held up well (especially for the price tag of $30). This is definitely the low end of the reels I have listed here but if you don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash or are just an occasional angler this may be a good fishing reel for you. I am going to write a review of this once I have had a chance to use it for a while and get a better feel for how it works.

Mid Priced Option - Bass Pro Shops CatMaxx CMX-3 Round Baitcast Reel – Better – – This Catmaxx reel is a good middle of the road reel. if you are a casual fisherman this may be a good option. Definitely not as good as the Abu Garcia but is a good middle of the road fishing reel. Read my review on the Catmaxx fishing reels here.

Best Option - Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Classic Round Baitcast Reels – (Best) 6500C3 – The Abu Garcia 6500 C3 is the gold standard reel. Super tough and durable, Capable of handling smaller fish and big monster blues or flatheads. These reels will last a lifetime. You should also look for Abur Garcia reels on eBay you can often find some really good deals on reels there.

I do strongly suggest that you look at Abu Garcia fishing reels on Ebay before you purchase any fishing reel because on occasion (especially in the winter) you can find some awesome deals click here to for an automatic search of Abu Garcia fishing reels on Ebay.

Cast Nets

If you are going to fish for blue catfish having good fresh bait is essential and that’s why you need a good cast net. You want your time focused on catching catfish not chasing bait. Below are my suggestions on cast nets and some good, better and best options for nets. Make sure you check out some of our other resources like how to repair a cast net, how to free a hung cast net, how to throw a cast net and some other cast net tips and tricks. We also have a catfishing video showing you catching shad in a cast net. After you get a cast net make sure you check our tutorial on preparing a cast net.

Good - Fitec Super Spreader Cast Net – 3/8? Mesh 7 Foot – This is a good multipurpose cast net and is priced right. Don’t have to worry about tearing this one up when catching bait and ruining an expensive cast net.

Better - Old Salt Series Cast Net – 3/8? Mesh 7 foot – This cast net is a good multipurpose cast net for catching shad during most of the year (except for in the winter when the bait gets really deep). This is a higher end net.

Best – Bait Buster Superior Handmade Cast Net  – This is the only net I use and it is far superior to anything else I have ever used. Not only is just an all around great cast net but it has a distinct advantage over other nets. The most common problem with a cast net is ripping the braille lines and this is also the most difficult repair on a cast net. The Bait Buster Cast Net uses the patented dragon head swivel, which makes replacing braille lines an absolute breeze.

Other Tackle Items

The other odd and end catfish tackle items you should have in your tackle box for landing, weighing and releasing catfish as well as anything else that might come up. These are just some of the basics.

Big Game Lip Grip – For holding and weighing big blues and flatheads and live releasing. These will keep your hands from getting torn up when handling big fish and WILL NOT BREAK like some of the cheaper fish grips that are out there. I have been using mine for years with no issues.

Braided Line Scissors – For cutting monofilament line when tying rigs. These work much better than anything else I have found and they are cheap. I keep multiple pairs of these scissors in my tackle box and in my boat.

Stainless Steel Pliers – These are super cheap and I don’t like spending money on pliers because I lose them all the time. I cannot say how many pairs I have lost through the years. These are essential for removing hooks from fish.

Bass Pro Shops Catfish Net – This is an extra big dip net capable of scooping up big catfish. I have been using this net for years, excellent dip net.

American Weigh 110 Lb Digital Scale – An awesome digital scale for less than $15 and you will not find a better deal than this. In addition to being cheap, it is super accurate (I had mine certified for weighing record catfish so I know they are accurate.

Fillet Knives

I use an electric fillet knife for cleaning catfish as shown in the video how to clean a catfish in fifteen seconds. You need a traditional fillet knife around also for cutting bait.

American Angler Fillet Knives – Traditional Fillet Knife – For cutting up cut bait for catfishing and for cleaning catfish (cutting rib cages out after using an electric filet knife).

American Angler MT3 Electric Fillet Knife – Electric Fillet Knife – I have used every electric fillet knife there is and this is the only one that I have ever used that will last. This is a MUST have for cleaning fish, but replace the blades that come with it with 9? Mr Twister Knife Blades. These knives are out of production so they are getting increasingly difficult to find but they are still out there. As soon as they release the replacement model for this I will get the information posted. Be sure to check out my American Angler Electric Fillet Knife Review also.

Fishing Clothing and Apparel

Having the right clothing can make or break you in extreme conditions. The items listed below are a few items I use that most people are not familiar with.

GORE-TEX Rain Bibs  and GORE-TEX Rain Jackets – Hands down the best cold weather fishing gear and rain gear there is. I have been using this for years and it makes fishing in the winter or rain tolerable. be sure to check my 100MPH Gore Tex review!

HotHands In the winter put these in your pockets, shoes, pants you name it and they do wonders for keeping you warm and keeping your hands warm!

Buffs UV Buff Headwear These things are AWESOME. They look a little goofy but if you are fishing in the heat they keep the sun off your head, neck and face and protect you from UV rays. I highly suggest these for everyone fishing in the warmer months or if you want to protect yourself from UV rays.

Costa Fathom Polarized Sunglasses – Polarized glasses cut the glare off the water and allow you to see what is taking place below the surface. It can completely open up a new world to you when fishing. Costa sets the standard for polarized glasses and are amazing!

Marine Electronics and Fishfinders

Electronics are key to success on the water, especially when fishing for blue catfish. I rely on my sonar, side imaging and down imaging 100% of the time when on the water. When it comes to sonar there are all kinds of price ranges and options so it would be impossible for me to list all the options and suggestions here. Make sure you check out choosing a fishfinder for catfishing and my top fishfinder picks.

Humminbird 1198c I use the Humminbird 1198C with side imaging, down imaging and GPS. This is the cats meow when it comes to sonar for catfishing.

RAM Flat Surface Mount This is a replacement to the out of the box mount that comes with fishfinders. The Ram Mount gives you total adjustment capability front to back, side to side and every other direction you could imagine and is much easier to remove your sonar from the boat when trailering.

Navionics HotMaps – Electronic charts for your sonar. An absolute must have item that will not only make navigation safer and easier on the water but will also increase your productivity allowing you to get more fish in the boat at any given time. I rely on this all day long when I am fishing.

Catfish Boat Supplies

Basic supplies and materials needed for boat control, navigation and fishing for catfish on your boat.

Bee Ready Fishing Rod Holders – Fishing rod holders for your boat. Super simple design that is easy to install and durable. The best rod holders I have ever used for catfishing!

Brute Outdoors Coolers – A super tough five day cooler at an affordable price. You cannot tear these up and they hold ice for days and days. Performs as well as other more expensive coolers on the market!

Cabelas Drift Sock Buoy – For drift fishing for catfish. Used to attach the drift sock to your boat.

Cabelas Advanced Angler Pro Series Drift Socks – For drift fishing. These are hands down the toughest most durable drift socks I have found and outperform all others and they are priced the same as other flimsy drift socks. Do yourself a favor and buy these the first time.

Digger Anchors –  Digger anchors hold the first time you throw them out and keep you where you need to be. An essential for boat control plus they are easy to break free because of the spring mechanism. You can learn more in my Digger Anchor review.

Trotline/Jugline Building Materials

Mariner Green Braided Nylon Twine – #48 For Trotline Main Line, #18 for Jugline Main Line – Braided nylon twine for jugline mainline and trotline mainline.

Mariner Green Braided Nylon Twine – #9 For Trotline and Jugline Drops. – Braided nylon twine for jugline and trotline leaders also known as “drops” or “droppers”

Mariner Tarred Twisted Nylon Twine – #9 Tarred Twine For Trotline and Jugline Drops –Tarred line is an alternative for braided nylon twine for rigging juglines and trotlines.

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About Chad

Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide and founder of Learn To Catch Catfish. Click here to subscribe for more exclusive catfish fishing tips by email and then follow on Twitter or Google


  1. Bass Pro is a little high for sinkers check out TEAMCATFISH discount sinkers on there site.

  2. it`s nice to hear about the braid scissors i`ve almost given up on braid because it`s so hard to cut-i`ll try a pair- like your site seems i`m always learning something thanks GOOD FISHING

  3. Reuse the wieghts off you trashed cast nets. You’ll need larger swivels but they work great on a Carolina rig in the river.

  4. You list braided twine in #48, #18, and #9. BassProShops lists the pound test, but not the size. Could you help translate into pound test?


  5. Chad, none of the BassProShop links seem to work for me. They just redirect to the BassProShop home page. Also, the ‘American Weigh 110 Lb Digital Scale’ link goes to the cast net page.


  6. I’m surprised no gamakatsu hooks. Why?

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