Angling for catfish can assume nearly as many possibilities as there are species of the prey and its habitats. Lakes, streams, rivers, impoundments and ponds can all harbor large concentrations of catfish. The best equipment for the fisherman will depend upon the type of water being fished, but since they are all dogged fighters it pays to have some heavy-duty tackle that is up to the task.
Braided dacron line with its superior abrasion resistance, minimal amount of stretch and very good line diameter-to-strength ratio is an excellent choice for casting and still-fishing for catfish since they normally feed at or near the bottom where rocks, sunken branches and other debris can quickly damage or abrade less robust line. Use the heaviest weight line you can for the given water clarity with 20-pound-test being the minimum. Orvis and Cortland both make excellent-quality line. If you choose not to use a braided line, Spiderwire in 30-pound-test is also an excellent line for catfish angling.
Spool the line onto a good-quality bait-casting reel that can hold at least 150 yards of the selected line. A heavy spinning reel could also be used, but dacron line is much easier to cast with a bait-caster. The best casting reels employ steel bearings for smoothness and strength and a free spool mechanism for ease of casting and for line payout while still-fishing. The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500C is a particularly good reel for the price, but others by Diawa (Millionaire), Penn (International) and Shimano (Calcutta) are equally up to the task.
Select a casting rod at least seven feet long fashioned from graphite in a heavy- to medium-heavy construction. Rods with a long handle make the task of fighting the fish easier. The rod manufacturer will typically print the type of action, the suggested line weight and the range of lure weights the rod is designed to accommodate just above the handle on the rod blank. One of the best for catfish angling is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik.
Terminal Tackle and Accessories
Most catfish angling is done with natural bait rather than artificials; choices can range from minnows to marshmallows with stops along the way for fresh liver, and even chunks of Ivory soap. A good selection of bobbers, slip sinker rigs, hooks and leaders should be kept on hand as well to meet the variety of conditions necessary for consistent success. The Lindy Rig is a perennial favorite for catfish anglers. Comprising a "walking" sinker, a swivel, a stout metal leader and either a treble or single hook, the Lindy Rig, which is available in a large selection of weights, allows the fish to take the bait but not feel resistance as the line slips through the sinker. It's always a good idea to stop in at a local bait shop and talk to the owner about equipment and local conditions. And be certain to patronize them. They provide a most valuable service to anglers.
Article Written By Garrison Pence
Garrison Pence has been a midwest-based (ghost)writer for three decades, taught university-level literature, and has written articles and white papers in trade publications of the Material Handling Institute, Engineering Today, Pharmaceutical, Food and Beverage Science, and Semiconductor. Pence holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Literature.