How to Rig a Sunfish Bluegill As Bait for a Flathead Catfish

How to Rig a Sunfish Bluegill As Bait for a Flathead Catfish
Flathead catfish are a popular game fish among many anglers. More aggressive than other types of catfish such as the channel catfish, the flathead is much more willing to protect its territory and will attack intruding fish. Anglers who understand the characteristics of the flathead catfish know that a rigged bluegill often can attract a large flathead. Rigging a bluegill for flathead catfish requires basic knot-tying skills and minimal terminal tackle for fishing success.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Medium heavy 7-foot rod with matched reel
  • 20-pound test monofilament fishing line
  • Bluegill (live)
  • Circle (bait holder) hooks in 3/0 size
  • Barrel swivel (3-way)
  • 1-ounce egg weight with eye
  • Snips
Step 1
Cut two 12- to 18-inch lengths of line from the end of your main fishing line with a pair of snips. These two lengths of line will be use as leaders for attaching an egg weight and the live bluegill.
Step 2
Tie one length of leader to the eye of a three way barrel swivel using an improved clinch knot. Attach the second length of leader to another available eye of the three way barrel swivel using an improved clinch knot.
Step 3
Tie a 1 ounce egg weight to the end of one length of leader with an improved clinch knot. Attach a 2/0 circle or bait holder hook to the end of the remaining length of leader. Once again, use an improved clinch knot to attach the hook to the leader.
Step 4
Tie your main line to the remaining free eye of the barrel swivel with an improved clinch knot. The basic bottom rig will now be complete, as you should have your main line attached to a three-way barrel swivel with a weighted leader on one eye and a hook on the other.
Step 5
Attach a healthy and live bluegill onto the circle hook. Place the hook through the mouth of the fish or just in front of the tail fins. Either method will allow the fish to swim in a natural motion.

Tips & Warnings

Cast the rig to a predetermined spot and allow it to sink and settle to the bottom.
Use healthy and live bluegill for bait. Bluegill may be easily shocked, so it is important to handle these fish carefully and hold in a bait tank or cooler with an aerator attached.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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