Catfish Rigs: The Best Rigs For Catfishing

by Chad Ferguson 6 Comments

Catfish rigs are hot topic at Catfish Edge and something I’m constantly questioned about by anglers of all experience levels.

The catfish rigs illustrations, videos and instructions are some of the most popular resources on the Catfish Edge website.

Despite the number of catfish rigs I’ ve covered and the level of detail provided, I still get questions on a daily basis.

These questions range from those wanting to know more about selecting catfish rigs for each different species of catfish to wanting more in depth information on each of the individual catfish rigs and the best applications or what techniques to use them in.

With that in mind, this page on catfish rigs was born to serve as a central location for you to find all the important information on catfish rigs in one location.

I’ll cover everything you need to know about catfish rigs to get started fishing for catfish as well as some more advanced details on catfish rigs and how they apply to various catfishing techniques, covering all the information you need and nothing you don’t.

Catfish Rigs Are Important, But Not The “Be All End All”

More important than the rig you have tied on the end of your fishing line is the bait you’re using and fishing in the right location. Having the right catfish bait for your target species is one of the most important steps you can take to be successful fishing for catfish.

Bait selection is equally important to fishing in the right location. If you’re not using the right bait and fishing in the right location NOTHING with help you catch fish, including using the best rig there is.

You can tweak the catfish rigs you’re using, try everything and every technique imaginable and it will not produce fish for you consistently if you don’t fish the right bait in the right location.

What Matters With Catfish Rigs

I talk to many people on a weekly basis and find that way too many people are trying to either “recreate the wheel” and invent new rigs or they’re obsessing over minor details like an inch or two in leader length or some other detail that simply doesn’t matter.

If you’re going to obsess over something, obsess over patterning fish and learning to find them consistently and having the right baits. Obsess over learning to locate and pattern shad so you can catch them and also in the process learn to pattern blue catfish because if you find the bait, you’ll find the fish.

If you do these other things right and put the effort into them, then everything else is just “details” including what’s on the business end of your fishing rods.

If you’re fishing the right bait in the right location then a difference of a few inches in leader length is not going to make much difference in most instances.

A little more or less weight, a different sinker or a float is not going to matter in most of these situationseither.

What matters is getting the right bait, in the right location, at the right time, and then you can tweak and obsess over the catfish rigs you are using but most of the time, everything will fall into place.

The Knots You Need To Know For Catfish Rigs

Four Simple Fishing Knots Catfish

You can tie most catfish rigs with a few simple knots.

In fact three simple knots the Palomar knot, easy snell and the Trilene knot will do most of what’s needed and you can wrap things up with a dropper loop and know almost everything you need to know for most situations.

Palomar Knot – The fishing knot every angler should know. One of the strongest fishing knots available and also super easy to tie.

Trilene Knot – A little known knot perfect for tying terminal tackle. The trilene knot is strong and easy to tie.

Easy Snell – The snell is a great way to attach circle hooks to leaders. Snelling a hook is super strong and easy to do with this simple method.

Dropper Loop – The dropper loop is used for adding leaders to some catfish rigs.

You can check out all of these knots for catfishing and learn everything you need to know about them, just click here to check out the essential fishing knots for catfish.

The 3 Top Catfish Rigs That Always Catch Catfish

Here’s a video with a quick summary of some of the best catfish rigs that every angler should know. Be sure to check out the other details below after you watch this video.

Essential Catfish Rigs – The Top Catfish Rigs

The following catfish rigs are essential catfish rigs you should now for fishing for channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish.

These are “go to” rigs that every catfish angler should know.

These catfish rigs will not only help you get your catfish baits in the target locations or “strike zones” but will also help in other areas as well.

Slip Sinker Rig: The “Must Know” Catfish Rig – The essential catfish rig for all species of catfish. If you’re only going to learn one rigging then this is it. It’s versatile, can be used for a species of cats and with just about every catfishing technique. This is without a doubt the most widely used setup for hardcore catters.

Santee Rig Or Santee Cooper Rig – The essential catfish rig for blue catfish but also good for others as well. This is a slight twist on the slip sinker or “carolina rig” that often produces more fish. This is great for fishing on anchor as well as drift fishing for catfish.

Secret Catfish Rig – The most effective channel catfish rig ever if you’re after numbers of channel catfish. This is the rig I use almost 100% of the time for fast paced channel catfish action with prepared baits and it outfishes all others by as much as 500%. There’s some great tips for catching big numbers of channel cats here.

Slip Bobber Rig – Great for channel catfish and occasionally blues and flatheads also! If you’re not going to use the secret catfish rig for channel catfish then the slip bobber is second best. Just make sure you use the floats we suggest because they’re cheaper then all others perform better than all of the more expensive options.

Three Way Rig – A versatile catfish rig for all species of catfish and can be fished with a traditional setup using a three-way swivel or a modified three way rig as well.

Cutting Edge Catfish Rigs Using Sound and Vibration

The catfish rigs above will certainly get you started putting catfish on the end of your line but if you’re looking for more ways to increase your success catching catfish there’s more options to consider.

After over fifteen years as a professional catfish guide I’ve got my “go to” catfish rigs that I always use (as mentioned above) but when I teamed up with the guys at Whisker Seeker Tackle they kept pushing my to experiment with their “catfish lures” and using sound and vibration to catch catfish.

Catfish respond to sound, and it’s had some amazing impacts on the number of fish I’ve caught as well as the size.

I spent a lot of time testing and had some amazing results catching trophy blue catfish using their X3 Big Bertha Rattler and XL Rattler. This lead to much more extensive testing and me teaming up with Whisker Seeker Tackle to build another product, the Catfish Versa-Rattle.

The X3 Big Bertha Rattler and XL Rattler are excellent noise producing rigs for trolling, strolling, fishing in current or any application where you’re incorporating the use of a float. You can read more about rigging and fishing these rigs here.

The problem was I couldn’t always use a float with my catfishing rigs so I needed a way to incorporate sound and vibration with any rig, and that’s where the Versa-Rattle comes in.

Catfish Versa Rattles

Catfish Versa Rattles

The Versa-Rattle adds sound and vibration to any catfish rig and doesn’t require the use of a float like the previously mentioned rattling catfish rigs. They can be added to any catfish rig you choose in any configuration which creates a catfish rig that produces noise and vibration.

There’s much more details here on the Versa-Rattle, why I designed it, how to fish with it and more.

If you haven’t done so, you owe it to yourself to spend some time experimenting with sound and vibration using the Versa-Rattle, especially if you’re drift fishing, controlled drifting, trolling or fishing in any current at all.

You’ll be surprised with the results.

Here’s a video that explains the Versa-Rattle in more detail!

Other Catfish Rigs To Know

The following catfish rigs are less commonly used and apply to more specific situations. If you need to get more precise with your presentation or change things up a bit these catfish rigs might fit the bill.

Traditional Bobber Rig – Great for specialized techniques like one of my favorites for blue cats, splat fishing!

Double Hook Rig – For targeting big trophy class cats with big pieces of cut bait. This can be used with virtually any setup and helps reduce issues with short strikes on big baits.

Drop Shot Rig or Zero Rig – Two options that can be used if longer leaders are causing short strikes and missed fish. These are also excellent options for targeting cats in and around tight cover.

The Float Rig – An alternative of the three way rig, sometimes a little twist to a more traditional option can make a very big difference.

The Fishfinder Rig – Sometimes referred to as a Kentucky Rig also. Very similar to a three way rig but kind of different also. very popular with big river anglers.

Pool Noodle Rig -A slip bobber variation for big baits or drifting baits long distances. This is a favorite for many anglers targeting suspended fish or fishing from shore.

Balloon Rig – An overlooked way of rigging for drifting baits, especially from the shore. If you are fishing from the shore this is a “must know” catfish rig. Can be used from a boat also to cover lot’s of water or even for targeting suspending cats.

[Free Download] The Top 12 Catfish Rig Tips

If you want even more cutting edge tips for catching catfish then download our free ebook, the Top 12 Catfish Rig Tips.

Just click the “Download Now” button below, enter your name and email and submit the form and we’ll email you this free ebook. It’s jam packed with information about catfish rigs and catching more cats!DOWNLOAD NOW

Gearing Up For Success

Choosing the right catfish gear including rods, reels and tackle will save you a lot of time and frustration in your quest to catch catfish.

Check out these resources for more in depth information:

The Ultimate Guide To Catfish Rods – Everything you need to know about choosing rods and reels for all species and techniques. You can also check out more on my Chad Ferguson Signature Series Catfish Rods

The Ultimate Guide To Catfish Reels – Get the right reels that last and will hold up to big cats and catch numbers of fish as well.

The Ultimate Guide To Catfishing Gear – Everything you need to know about gear from line, terminal tackle, hooks, weights and everything in between. Catfish tackle for success.

Catfish Bait Made Simple: The Top 5 Catfish Baits – The simple guide to choosing catfish baits that actually catch fish. Chicken liverare nowhere on the list and you shouldn’t be using frozen bait either.

About the author


Leave a Comment


  • I and my buddies have already been digesting the excellent strategies found on your web blog and then then I got a horrible feeling I never thanked the blog owner for those tips. Most of the guys became absolutely glad to study them and already have surely been having fun with them. Appreciate your simply being really accommodating and also for using this kind of important guides millions of individuals are really desirous to be informed on. Our sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

  • I am glad for writing to make you understand what a awesome discovery my cousin’s daughter developed reading through your web site. She came to find lots of pieces, including what it is like to possess a great teaching style to have men and women with no trouble master various hard to do issues. You actually exceeded our expected results. Thanks for imparting the informative, trusted, revealing not to mention unique tips about the topic to Kate.

  • My spouse and i have been really satisfied John managed to complete his basic research through your ideas he had from your very own blog. It is now and again perplexing just to possibly be giving freely helpful hints which usually people might have been selling. We acknowledge we need you to thank for that. All the illustrations you’ve made, the easy website menu, the relationships you help foster – it’s got most remarkable, and it is letting our son and the family believe that the situation is pleasurable, which is tremendously serious. Many thanks for everything!

  • I in addition to my buddies have been digesting the great tactics on your site and immediately I got a horrible suspicion I never thanked you for those techniques. Those men were so very interested to study all of them and now have without a doubt been loving them. We appreciate you actually being considerably kind and for figuring out this sort of awesome themes millions of individuals are really needing to know about. Our sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  • Needed to put you one bit of note to give many thanks as before about the spectacular methods you have shown in this article. This is simply wonderfully generous with you to grant easily precisely what most people might have distributed for an ebook to get some money on their own, mostly now that you could possibly have done it if you desired. Those good ideas also served to be a easy way to fully grasp many people have the identical keenness the same as my very own to know the truth more and more when considering this matter. I believe there are a lot more enjoyable instances in the future for individuals that go through your blog post.

  • I as well as my guys were reading the nice tactics from your web page and so quickly developed a horrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those techniques. All of the young men had been for this reason thrilled to learn all of them and have in reality been having fun with those things. I appreciate you for truly being simply thoughtful as well as for figuring out variety of quality things millions of individuals are really desperate to know about. Our sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

  • My spouse and i felt glad Peter could finish off his studies from the precious recommendations he received through your weblog. It is now and again perplexing to simply possibly be offering steps others might have been selling. And we already know we need the website owner to be grateful to for this. These explanations you made, the simple website navigation, the friendships your site give support to engender – it is most great, and it’s aiding our son and the family believe that this matter is amusing, and that is extremely important. Thank you for everything!

  • I’m also writing to make you be aware of what a excellent experience my wife’s daughter found browsing the blog. She even learned several details, including what it is like to have an amazing giving mindset to get other folks just thoroughly grasp certain very confusing subject areas. You actually did more than people’s expectations. I appreciate you for supplying those interesting, trustworthy, edifying as well as cool tips on your topic to Lizeth.

  • I would like to convey my gratitude for your generosity giving support to men and women who absolutely need help on this niche. Your real commitment to getting the solution all through appeared to be definitely beneficial and has always helped somebody like me to realize their goals. Your personal valuable useful information means a lot to me and additionally to my fellow workers. Warm regards; from each one of us.

  • Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve be aware your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely wonderful.
    I really like what you have received right here,
    really like what you are saying and the way in which you assert it.

    You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it sensible.

    I can not wait to learn far more from you. This is really
    a wonderful website.

  • A lot of thanks for all of the hard work on this site. My mum takes pleasure in managing internet research and it is simple to grasp why. A number of us learn all regarding the compelling ways you offer reliable secrets via this website and even encourage participation from some other people on that concern plus our own girl is truly being taught a lot of things. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one conducting a first class job.

  • I wish to convey my affection for your kind-heartedness giving support to all those that need guidance on this particular concern. Your personal dedication to getting the solution along had become extremely good and has in every case allowed workers much like me to attain their targets. Your valuable report denotes much a person like me and even more to my mates. With thanks; from each one of us.

  • Thank you so much for providing individuals with such a marvellous opportunity to read articles and blog posts from here. It is usually so kind and also jam-packed with a lot of fun for me and my office colleagues to visit your site minimum thrice in one week to find out the new things you will have. And of course, I’m actually amazed with the great pointers you serve. Selected two points on this page are essentially the best I have ever had.

  • Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone
    and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just
    so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and
    she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  • I just wanted to send a remark so as to express gratitude to you for all of the fabulous advice you are sharing here. My long internet look up has finally been rewarded with really good knowledge to go over with my close friends. I would point out that most of us website visitors are very lucky to live in a notable community with very many perfect professionals with great solutions. I feel pretty privileged to have come across your entire website page and look forward to many more thrilling minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details.

  • Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the
    internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed
    while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without
    having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably
    be back to get more. Thanks

  • I definitely wanted to jot down a brief note to be able to appreciate you for those magnificent guides you are giving out here. My time-consuming internet lookup has at the end of the day been rewarded with good knowledge to go over with my partners. I would believe that most of us site visitors are really fortunate to dwell in a very good site with very many awesome people with helpful secrets. I feel extremely lucky to have seen your webpage and look forward to really more pleasurable moments reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

  • Right here is the perfect site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue
    with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years.
    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you
    have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too
    few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this during my
    hunt for something relating to this.

  • I and also my guys were actually looking through the nice strategies from the website then at once developed a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to the web site owner for those strategies. The boys are actually absolutely very interested to see them and already have in actuality been making the most of these things. Many thanks for being indeed helpful and then for finding some fine themes most people are really wanting to discover. My personal honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  • Needed to compose you the tiny word to be able to thank you very much the moment again relating to the magnificent views you have shared in this case. It’s really surprisingly open-handed with you to present publicly what a number of people could possibly have advertised as an e book to earn some profit for themselves, specifically now that you might have tried it if you ever desired. Those advice additionally served to be the great way to be aware that some people have a similar eagerness the same as my own to understand good deal more with respect to this matter. I think there are thousands of more pleasant times ahead for those who scan through your blog post.

  • I wanted to post a remark to appreciate you for the amazing guides you are giving on this website. My extensive internet research has at the end of the day been paid with good quality tips to share with my partners. I would suppose that many of us readers actually are rather blessed to dwell in a superb community with many special people with great tips and hints. I feel very fortunate to have seen your entire weblog and look forward to plenty of more cool minutes reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  • I precisely wanted to say thanks all over again. I am not sure the things that I might have carried out without the type of secrets discussed by you directly on such area. Completely was an absolute distressing problem in my position, but seeing this specialized fashion you dealt with the issue made me to jump over gladness. I am grateful for this advice and in addition wish you are aware of a powerful job you’re getting into training people through the use of your website. Most probably you haven’t got to know any of us.

  • I definitely wanted to write down a small message to be able to appreciate you for those pleasant facts you are writing on this website. My long internet research has finally been honored with excellent knowledge to write about with my friends and family. I ‘d tell you that we readers actually are definitely blessed to dwell in a really good site with so many lovely individuals with valuable hints. I feel truly blessed to have seen the site and look forward to some more entertaining moments reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  • I’m also writing to let you be aware of what a nice encounter my daughter encountered viewing yuor web blog. She came to understand numerous issues, including what it is like to have a marvelous teaching mindset to get many others with no trouble master various advanced things. You truly surpassed visitors’ expectations. Thank you for rendering such practical, dependable, educational and as well as unique tips about your topic to Ethel.

  • I as well as my pals ended up digesting the nice guides located on your web site and then before long got a horrible feeling I had not thanked the web site owner for those secrets. My guys came consequently thrilled to read them and already have truly been taking advantage of those things. We appreciate you turning out to be considerably kind and then for figuring out certain excellent resources most people are really desperate to learn about. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  • A lot of thanks for each of your work on this blog. Gloria take interest in working on research and it’s really obvious why. We learn all regarding the powerful means you render both useful and interesting items on this blog and encourage participation from others on this subject so our favorite daughter is really becoming educated a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. Your performing a dazzling job.

  • I enjoy you because of every one of your work on this blog. Ellie really likes setting aside time for investigations and it is obvious why. My partner and i learn all of the powerful tactic you create rewarding solutions on your blog and as well as cause response from people about this area of interest then our own daughter is always being taught a lot. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You’re doing a superb job.

  • That is the suitable blog for anybody who needs to search out out about this topic. You realize a lot its nearly laborious to argue with you (not that I truly would want匟aHa). You positively put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  • A lot of thanks for all your valuable labor on this web page. My aunt take interest in setting aside time for research and it’s really easy to understand why. A number of us know all regarding the powerful means you present vital tips via your web blog and in addition recommend contribution from some others about this theme plus our own simple princess is truly studying a great deal. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You have been doing a very good job.

  • Thank you a lot for giving everyone remarkably nice possiblity to read from this site. It really is so fantastic and also packed with amusement for me and my office mates to visit your site at minimum thrice in one week to learn the new secrets you have got. Of course, I’m always amazed for the unbelievable creative concepts you give. Some 2 areas on this page are in truth the very best I have ever had.