Three Need-to-Know Catfish Rigs

Catfish Rigs

Recently I was fishing with Mark Modoski from Field & Stream on the Potomac River in Washington D.C. for trophy blue catfish. Mark knew exactly what types of catfish rigs we should use in a variety of conditions. Without that knowledge we would have gone home Red-Hot and Burned – skunked in the Capital!

Don’t be caught off guard the next time you are out catfishing. Make sure you have the tackle for these three catfish rigs in your box the next time you head out, or risk coming home empty handed.

Fish Finder Rig aka Carolina Rig

Carolina catfish rig

We started out fishing a traditional Carolina rig baited with cut shad while anchoring up in deep holes along the river. Surf fishermen know this as the fish finder rig, which is one of the simplest rigs out there. The Carolina rig can be made with a circle hook, some strong mono leader, a swivel and a sliding sinker. You can add an additional bead above the swivel to keep the sinker from hitting the swivel itself. These rigs are great for keeping your bait on the bottom but allowing the mainline to move freely while the slide sinker stays in place. This allows the catfish to pick the bait up and run with it, setting your reel screaming.

Three-way Rig aka Dropper Loop Rig

Dropper loop catfish rig

Have you ever seen a catfisherman drifting down the river “bouncing” the sinker off the bottom as they went through deep holes?

The three-way rig consists of a three way swivel attached to your main line. A leader connected to a sinker is attached to the bottom swivel while a leader with a hook is attached to the side swivel. If you don’t have any three-way swivels a dropper loop rig will work in place of using a three-way swivel. This simple change can make all the difference.

High-Low Rig aka Double Dropper Loop Rig

high low dropper loop catfish rig

Another rig which many surf fishermen are familiar with is the high-low rig. This is basically the same set up as the three-way or dropper loop rig except that it has two dropper loops because a second hook is added some distance above the first. These can be found pre-made out of wire material or you can use one of the videos below from Sport Fishing Magazine or Saltwater Sportsman Magazine.

Guest Blogger Shawn McCardell


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