7 Best Catfish Rig For Fishing : Everything You Need To know

From my experience as an angler, choosing the best catfish rig is practically essential because, along with the techniques and skills that are involved, these tackles also determine my success in trapping this tender aquatic animal—catfish. This list I am about to share will give you enormous help in finding the Rig suitable for your needs. Also, check out the Sabiki Rig here!

The Best Catfish Rig For Every Fishing Situation

Here we have listed the best Catfish Rig For Every Fishing Situation. Let’s dive in

1. Santee Cooper Rig

This tool is another rig that I use when I fish blue catfish; this is also appropriate to use when you are catching from a boat or the shore. 

I like this Rig because it is easy to tie and quick to cast. This feature is made possible by the cigar float that is attached to the leader, which makes you lift the lure up off the river or lake.

Santee Cooper Rig

I enjoy using this Rig, too, because I can adjust its leader length depending on the spot where the fish are holding, so even if it is nine feet off the bottom, I can catch fish with no difficulty. 

Discovercatfishing.com mentions in one of their articles that this is a good tackle in searching for feeding catfish.

Items Needed:

  • Leader line: Generally, you can use any fishing line, fishing pliers, or spinning reel, but I suggest that you use a monofilament leader or fluorocarbon leader. The one that I use is usually between 40 to 50 Lb.
  • Hook: Any hook will do too, but I prefer the octopus-style circle.
  • Swivel: You need to match the size of this material to the size of the fish you are targeting. An ideal one for me is the basic brass barrel swivel.
  • Sinker/ Weight: This material depends on where you are angling. When fishing on an anchor, I typically use egg type. When drift fishing, I use a drift fishing si​​tinker with fewer snags.
  • Peg Floats: The ideal size to use is between 2” and 3”.

For more information about the Santee Cooper Rig, check the video below:

2. Bobber Rig

This equipment is one of the most traditional rigs which I often use when fishing in shallow water. Sometimes, we also have to keep the bait in the upper portion or on the surface of the water, and this is where Bobber Rig becomes a good fit.

Bobber Rig

This kind of fishing tackle operates through the use of a big round weighted foam float which makes a tremendous splash when it strikes the water, which draws the attention of the catfish.

There are several floats available in the market, but Bobber Rig offers the best and loudest “plop” and “splash” on the water, so this Rig is also one of my favourites. From my experience, I can catch catfish 95% of the time when I use this Rig, so I advise you to try it.

Items Needed:

  • Slip bobbers– these are almost similar to the traditional floats, but these bobbers slide up and down the line.
  • Bobber stops– You place this right above the line on the slip bobber.
  • Split shot sinker– I often use size 1, but it is better if you have a variety of sizes depending on your fishing needs.
  • Catfish hooks– I prefer using a strong treble hook with size#6..

3. Three-Way Rig

Three-Way Rig is one of the rigs that I first used, and I still use it for casting. It is given this name because it makes use of a three-way swivel which is attached to the main line. This Rig never fails to give me a good fishing experience.

Three-Way Rig

The construction of this tackle is made up of the first swivel, which is attached to the line with the hook; the second, where you can tie the main line; and the third one is where the weight is. The length of the leader with the hook will depend on your preference, but I suggest that you use one that is between 7.5-12 inches.

Fishinggadgetshub.com agrees that the setup of the Rig will help the angler keep the bait directly in the bite zone’s path. The separation of the anchor weight line and the hook line makes the bait move freely in the current, and this will not affect it.

Items Needed:

  • Leader Line– You can use 1/2 lb. Spools with the 40 Lb Test.
  • Barrel Swivel– I use this to prevent line twists.
  • Three-Way Brass Swivel– This material must have three twisted wire eyes and a collar.
  • Hook– You can choose any hook that you prefer. I usually use Treble hooks for catfishing.
  • Sinker– You use this to increase sink rate or anchoring ability.
  • Fishing line– Lighter ones are more efficient for me. One of which is the monofilament fishing line.

4. Zero Rig

I believe this is the simplest type of catfish rig. It does not make use of a leader and barrel swivel. It is composed only of a sinker and a line where you can attach the hook at the end.

The sliding sinker of the Zero Rig rests directly against the hook’s eye. In some instances, too much movement of the bait is unnecessary, and these are the times when I use Zero Rig as its leader is not present in this Rig causing it to be more steady.

Zero Rig

I once used my other rigs when fishing in the rapidly moving water, and it surprised me when I was not able to catch any despite using my frequently-used rigs. I tried doing a “trial and error” method by cutting the leader into shorter and shorter lengths.

The shorter it gets, the more nibbling and activity I get. It is then that I discovered that when the water is moving quickly, what you need is a shorter leader and a lesser bait movement.

Catfish1.com agrees that many prefer this tackle because it only has one connection point, which is on the hook. To reduce snag issues, it is also better that you use this in heavy current.

Because this Rig does not have a leader, you can easily fish directly against heavy cover and also around it, and it will surely give you little hangups.

Items Needed:

Aside from the basic equipment, the only other material you need is:

  • Egg sinker or no roll sinker– You attach this in a way that it lies directly against the eye of your hook.

5. Carolina Rig

My list will not be complete without quoting one of my most reliable rigs. California Rig, which is also called Slip Sinker Rig, is one of the simplest yet best catfish rigs that make my fishing adventure both an exciting and effortless activity.


I say this because Slip Sinker Rig is a single type of equipment that can catch the big three kinds of catfish—blue catfish, channel fish and flathead fish.

a catfish rig that is not too fancy and is not too complicated, yet it is very versatile because it is appropriate to use if you are drift fishing, fishing on an anchor, doing controlled drifting or even if you are fishing on the bottom with a “tight line.” I can also use this in almost all types of bodies of water.

I frequently use this kind of Rig for catching channel catfish. Catfish are known because they are very sensitive to resistance; this is true for channel catfish as well, but this tool does not give the catfish any hint that you are trying to trap them. 

It just casts and works well. If you are an amateur catfish hunter, I recommend that you learn from the basics by using this Rig, which its manufacturer designed for both beginners and experts.

Items Needed:

  • Leader Line: You can use any fluorocarbon or monofilament leader that has a weight of 40 or 50 Lb.
  • Hook: The most common hook that I use is the #6 or #4 strong treble hook.
  • Swivel: The most preferred size for this material that is appropriate for this Rig are size one and size three.
  • Weight: You can use either an egg sinker or no roll sinker.

6. Balloon Rig

Although the balloon rig is probably the least used rig, bank anglers can benefit greatly from having one. Because it uses a balloon rather than a bobber, the balloon rig is similar to the slip bobber rig.

Balloon Rig

A snap or snap swivel secures the balloon to the string. Add a bobber stop and set everything else—including your sliding weight, barrel swivel, and leader—to the depth you want to fish. This rig can significantly improve performance in windy circumstances. To place your baits in the areas just outside the casting range, you can let them drift out with the breeze.

A fantastic and adaptable piece of equipment for cat fishermen is the balloon rig. Because the balloon would be harder to sink, this technique might also work better with larger live baits. It can be challenging to cast those large live baits; therefore, floating them with balloons is a far better alternative. Don’t pass this gear by; if you’re fishing, it could very well save the day.

Items Needed:

  • Weight– Keeps the bait submerged in the water.
  • Hooks– Circle hooks are recommended to secure the catfish without damage.
  • Balloons– Act as a visible float to indicate a fish bite.

7. Drift Rigs

A lot of time, though, a bit of weight to increase casting range and improve bait placement.  For fishing in deeper water, a lead shot or two cuts on line 6 to 12 inches above the hook cast further and will sing to the bottom more quickly than a simple piece of bait. When thrown next to an object in alight, moderate to strong current, the bait slowly circles the knot edges over the bottom.

 Drift Rigs

The Knots You Need To Know For Catfish Rigs

If you are enthusiastic about fishing, you first need to know the basic Knots you use while fishing. There are three superficial knots: the Palomar Knots, easy Snell, and Trilene knot.

1.Palmmor Knot 

Every Angler should know about this knot. It is one of the strongest knots and easy to tie while fishing.

Palmmor Knot 

2. Easy Snell 

       With this snell, You can easily attach circle hooks to leaders. Snelling the hook is very easy to do, and it is very strong while fishing.

Easy Snell 

3. Trilence Knot 

The Trilence knot is the perfect knot for tying a terminal tackle. With the help of it, you can join the line to hooks, Swivels, and lures. You can use this knot as the strongest alternative to clinch knot.

Trilence Knot 

Related Reads:


Over several years of fishing, I have learned that there is no one size fits all catfish rig.

Every type of this tool has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to consider some factors, including the fishing location, the type of catfish that you want to catch, as well as the size and depth of the water.

All these indispensable considerations work hand in hand in choosing the one that is suitable for you and your fishing needs.

Kindly leave your insights in the comment section below if you think that this writing piece has helped you gain more knowledge about our favorite’s sport and find the best catfish rig useful for you. Also, please feel free to share this useful writing material with your friends.


What is the best rig for catfish?

The most commonly used rig for still fishing for catfish is without a doubt the egg sinker slip rig. This rig is perfect for maintaining the bait near the bottom so that a catfish may swim off with it while exerting little stress.

Should I use a bobber for catfish?

The traditional bobber rig is chosen because using a simple float that doesn’t generate a good “splash” in the water would actually work against you.

Do catfish go for spinners?

The best catfish lures are either smelly or have noise-making or vibrating elements. To draw catfish, you can use straightforward lures like spinners, jigs, or soft plastics and add flavor as required.

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