The Best Catfish Rigs: Blue and Flathead Essentials

Buyer’s Guide to the Best Catfish Rigs 2021

The Best Catfish Rigs. If there is one thing that sets novice catfish anglers apart from the pros it’s rigging. A good rig will present live bait in an attractive manner, keep it in strong current and control the depth.

This is essential for blues and flatheads. They hunt their food, and prefer tasty, live shads or minnows to stinky punch baits or rancid poultry livers, unlike the channel cat who scavenges.

You need the right rigs to make live bait work. So, keep reading!

Catfish Rigging: Gear up

To make catfish rigs you will need basic supplies. This list will help you be ready to go.

Gamakatsu 4X Strong Octopus Hooks

We have previously reviewed catfish hooks. Take a look to see the full review. The Gamakatstu, a strong and scary-sharp 4X, is our favorite circle or octopus hook.

It’s guaranteed to lock in a monster blue or flathead to the line.

Amazon

Catfish Sumo Heavyweight Catfish Hooks

Catfish Sumo is the right choice if you are looking for a large hook. These bad boys are the best friend of trophy cat-man.

Heavyweight Catfish Hooks - Offset Octopus Circle Hooks - 25 Pack (8/0)

Bullet Weights for Egg Fishing Sinker

Catfish rigging is made possible by egg sinkers. They are available in many weights to meet your needs.

Bullet Weights EGI3-24 Egg Fishing Sinker (5-Pack), 3-Ounce

Eagle Claw 8 mm beads

Slip and Slip Float Rigs are made up of plastic beads. They not only stop the egg float from moving, but also add color and vibrance to the mix.

Eagle Claw A8BEAD20R Plastic Beads, 8 mm, Red, 20 Piece

Mimilure Soft Silicon Float Stops

When you are running a slip flotilla, it is important to have float stops.

Mimilure 100 Pcs Rubber Fishing Bobber Stopper,6 in 1 Float Sinker Stops,Black Orange Oval Cylinder Float Stop Available (Black & Oval, M)

Riptail Barrel Swivels

Barrel swivels can be used to attach a leader or other equipment to your main line. Many rigs use them. Riptail’s largest offering is rated at 155 pounds. It’s clear that they will hold their weight!

Riptail Barrel Fishing Swivels - Steel with Corrosion-Resistant Finish, Size #8 (45lb) - 100 Pack

Dr. Fish Oval Foam Floats

These oval floats are ideal for giving live baits a lift from the bottom. They won’t stop minnows or shads’s frenetic action.

Dr.Fish 30 Pack Oval Foam Floats Trout Floats Fishing Rig Floats Pompano Walleye Catfish Crawler Harness Bead Stopper Sinker Stops Red 0.45X0.78

South Bend Catfish Float

South Bend’s catfish float is one of my favorites. It’s easy to see, and it’s just as easy to use.

These come with a string-style stop but eventually you will need silicon stoppers.

South Bend Catfish Pole Float

Scotank Three-Way Swivels

Cotank has you covered. Big cats require strong swivels. You don’t have to worry about their #1 weighing in at 100 pounds.

50 Pcs 3 Three Way Swivel Black Stainless Steel Preventing Line Twist Durability Terminal Tackle for Trolling Catfish Rig Walleye Game Fish Accessories Bottom Rigs for Saltwater Freshwater

Bullet Weights Disc Sinker

These disc sinkers are available in 1-, 2- and 3-ounce sizes.

Bullet Weights Disc Fishing Sinker (8-Pack), 2-Ounce - DSI2-24

The Best Catfish Rigs: Step by Step Instructions

The Slip Sinker Rig, A Modified Carolina Rig

The Slip Sinker Rig is an excellent largemouth bass option, and is closely related to the Carolina Rig. It can be fished on the tournament circuit.

It works great for cats. The sliding sinker makes it easy to cast well and doubles up to keep your minnows or shad in the right place, even in heavy current. You can also give the rig a few tugs to create some vibration.

Your live bait will have plenty of space to run, provided you have enough leader. The Slip Sinker Rig will help keep it afloat.

These steps will help you tie a Slip Sinker Rig.

  1. Place an egg sinker on your main line.
  2. Use a bead to help you follow the sinker.
  3. Attach a heavy-duty barrel pivot with a Uni Knot. Then, wet it and tighten it. Trim the tag end.
  4. About 18 inches of tough leader can be cut.
  5. Attach a strong hook to your Palomar Knot. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of your tag.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to attach the leader to your barrel pivot. It should be soaked in water, then tightened down. Finally, trim the tag.

Slip Float Rig

Experienced cat-men understand that blues and flatheads are drawn to live bait and prefer to hunt actively.

Slip float rigs are a great way to present live minnows or small shad. They also allow you to easily control the depth. Your live bait should not be buried in the mud or muck at the bottom. It should be swimming erratically about a foot above the surface.

This is an excellent choice for large fish. It’s easy to cast and rig.

These steps will help you tie a Slip Float rig.

  1. Attach a stopper to your line, and then attach a bead to it.
  2. Slide a slip floating onto your line between the stop and bead.
  3. Use an egg sinker to help you follow the slip float.
  4. You can add a second bead on to your line.
  5. Attach a heavy-duty barrel pivot with a Uni Knot. Then, wet it and tighten it. Trim the tag end.
  6. About 18 inches of tough leader can be cut.
  7. Attach a strong hook to your Palomar Knot. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of your tag.
  8. Use a Uni Knot to attach the leader to your barrel pivot. It should be soaked in water, then tightened down. Finally, trim the tag.

The Santee Cooper Rig

The Santee Cooper Rig can be described as a Slip Sinker Rig, but with a twist.

You can add a float to your leader and buoy your live bait farther from the bottom. It acts in the reverse of a SlipFloat Rig.

You can adjust the length of the leader or the float stop to control how high your presentation is. This works well for water too deep for a Slip Float Rig and will kill big cats.

These steps will help you tie a Santee cooper rig.

  1. You can add an egg sinker on to your main line.
  2. Attach a heavy-duty barrel pivot with a Uni Knot. Then, wet it and tighten it. Trim the tag end.
  3. About 24 inches of tough leader can be cut.
  4. Attach a strong hook to your Palomar Knot. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of your tag.
  5. A float stop should be attached about one foot from the hook.
  6. Place a foam float on your leader, just behind the stop.
  7. Use a Uni Knot to attach the leader to the barrel swivel. It should be soaked in water, then tightened down. Finally, trim the tag.

The Three-Way Rig

The Three-Way Rig is a popular choice for catfish anglers who prefer to fish in current.

It uses a heavy sinker to hold it in place, and a leader that holds livebait down-stream to make it a cat-catcher.

Make sure you have a sturdy three-way swivel. It will take a beating from big flatheads!

These steps will help you tie a Three-Way Rig.

  1. Use a Uni Knot to attach your main line at the top of a 3-way swivel.
  2. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the tag at the end.
  3. To determine the depth of your presentation, cut a length (or dropper line). I recommend starting with 12-18 inches, but you can increase or decrease that amount as needed. Strong line is not recommended for droppers as it may snag and need to be broken.
  4. Attach the Uni Knot to a disc sinker by attaching this line.
  5. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the tag at the end.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to attach the weighted line at the bottom of your three way swivel.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the tag at the end.
  8. Use a Snell Knot to attach a strong hook to 12-18 inches of length.
  9. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the tag at the end.
  10. Attach the leader and hook to the backward-facing eye of the three way swivel using a Uni Knot.
  11. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the tag at the end.

Last Thoughts

We hope you found this article helpful in learning a new rig, or improving an existing one. As avid fishermen ourselves, it is also important to have a solid tutorial.

We’d love to know if you found this article helpful.

Leave a comment below

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.