Catfishing: The Best Rigs for the Job

Catfishes are among one of the most popular catches worldwide not only because of their abundant number in nature but also their simple minds. It makes them so easy to capture and becomes popular targets for anglers.

You can find them anywhere from small ponds, brooks, creeks, around the rivers… and easy to have on hand a healthy one with a simply-built fishing rig. Unlike more cunning creatures in the wild, catfishes – as we have mentioned – aren’t particularly that bright. With that said, you can be a complete beginner with no previous experiences in catfishing. Besides, you can set up an effective rig if you’re patient and flexible enough to take up the challenge.

In this article, we’ll talk about the many different types of catfish rigs and how to best use them.


Drift Rigs

Drift rigs are one of the most popular set-ups out there, not only for catfishers but also salmon or freshwater fishers. They are employed to catch fishes in a moving body of water such as a river or a creek. Besides, the rig exploits the simple psychology of this catfishes. Living in active water, they would often see objects floating downstream relative to the water. Moreover, drift rigs aim to simulate this movement in the water by matching with the water’s speed. Actually, they trick the fish into thinking that the bait on one end is a hearty meal.

Drift Rigs

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The best thing about drift rigs is that they are extremely simple to make and the techniques to use them are also simple. Drift rigs would work best for those who are just beginning or trying to find a light sport to play around with on weekends.

Slip Float Rigs

Slip floats are cigar-shaped bobbers that are much less prone to snag on floating particles in the water. They also allow the catfishes to run off with the bait for a distance without realizing it due to its sensitivity. The size of the floats themselves depends on the size of your baits. Smaller ones are reserved for drift baits while larger ones can hold a live bait in the water for bigger games.

Slip float rigs are only a tiny bit more complicated than drift rigs. However, you can still make one easily if you have instructions on hand and the tools needed.

Slip Float Rigs

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Slip Rigs

Drift and slip float rigs have their respective usage. Plus, the majority of anglers would say that they are the most effective weapons they have in their toolbox. But often, catfishes would love to lurk far under the water down to the bottom, making drift and slip floats quite useless. That’s where slip rigs come in, comprise a heavy sinker and small lead balls as a weight to keep the line close to the bottom of the water. Therefore, it would allow a passing catfish to catch onto the bait even at the depth.

Slip Rigs

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Slip rings are without its problems, though. The egg-shaped sinker itself could snag easily at the bottom when you throw the line across the current. As the water might carry it side-way.

If you are looking for a little bit of challenge or the situation with the local fishes in your water is problematic (Such as they prefer more to dwell at the bottom rather than swimming up top). Slip rigs would be a good tool for you to tackle the problem at hand.

Poly Ball Rigs

Now that you have learned how to strike on the cats living at the bottom of the river, it’s time to step up the game a little bit. As simple creatures, fishes – including catfishes – prefer simple catches. In fact, they would be more likely to have a go at a bait suspended in the water than one burrowing themselves at the bottom of the river.

Poly ball rigs allow you to cast your line and levitate your baits above the bottom a little bit to make it more appealing for the catch. The ‘Poly balls’ from the name are Styrofoam balls that are made to float to counter the weight of the sinker at the end of the line. This acts as a perfect suspender to levitate the bait above the bottom.

Poly Ball Rigs

Image source: UK Match Angler

Three-Way Rigs

The three-way rigs are akin to the multi-tool of an angler. It is extremely versatile and could be used in almost any kind of water situations there are. Besides, the rig consists of a drop and a leader line anchored by a sinker that, depends on the water, could be from half to several ounces heavy. Three-Way rigs can work in still water such as a lake or pond, to the heavier and more violent water of rush currents. However, you can’t go wrong with this rig when you decide to cast it no matter where you are.

Float-Paternoster Rigs

A modification to the mainstream three-way rigs, float-paternoster rigs are best suited to present live baits to the prospective catches. Or else, the sounds and tiny movements of the baits struggling in the water would be a welcoming signal for catfishes all around to see and act on. This rig was devised to maximise that chance of getting a catch by locking the bait in place. And everything would sort itself out when your bait struggles to break free.


As explained, the weight of the rig itself is an important factor that contributes to your success. The right weight of your line would entirely depend on the kind of water you are casting your line in as well as the type of rig you have in mind.

For example, if you’re looking to bottom-fishing, a heavier sinker is recommended – and vice versa. If you’re looking forward to float-fishing, a slightly lighter weight would be wonderful.

Where To Fish

Catfishes can be found at virtually every corner of the globe from Africa all the way to Oceania and beyond. They are freshwater creatures that prefer to live either in the stillness of lakes and ponds, to a few main rivers.

So what to look for isn’t where to fish. It is exactly where you can find the largest population of catfishes in the area. The local fisheries would be a good place to start. And it wouldn’t hurt to ask veteran anglers or go onto local online forums to know more about the water, either.

Where To Fish

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Important Knots to Know For Catfishing

The Trilene knot is a simple, flexible. Besides, it is also effective knot that would preserve and strengthen your line to the best of its potential. In fact, the Trilene knot is one of the strongest knot anyone could learn. Its simplicity would also allow you to master the ins-and-outs in no time at all.

The Trilene is an effectual tool to use against more muscular games in the water that a simple line or knot could have no chance of tugging to shore.

The Easy Snell knot can enhance and set up a reliable straight line for you to pull the water and the expected struggles of your catch. If you know that you are trying to haul stronger and more aggressive fishes in the water, the Easy Snell knot will come in great use.

The Dropper Loop knot is the modification kit to your line. It allows you to hook extra baits, jigs, and all sorts of fishing paraphernalia to the line. When you anticipate the water’s situation to be tight or the fishes are particularly challenging. Dropper Loop is a valuable thing to know how to tie to enhance the effectiveness of your rig.


Catfishing is a great hobby that’s worth the time putting your money and effort into. But at the end, it is the works and the learning that made you doing so great.

Those are some of the most popular rigs out there, and there are more for you to learn. Nonetheless, if you’re beginning your journey – that is certainly the places to start.