Best Catfish Rigs

Best Catfish Rigs Best Catfish Rigs

When you are out in the channel trying to catch a kitty, it is important to have an arsenal of best catfish rigs in at your disposal for sure-fire success. While there are many different catfish rigs available to try, we have amassed a collection of the top-ranked, yet simplistic, options for you to use.

Catfishing is simple. Ultimately, you want to put a good bait in the right spot at the best time. The rig you choose should allow you to easily set it up, control the location of your hook, and keep it there where you need it.

The fewer components of a rigging setup mean less preparation time and the less likelihood of line breakage or knots slippage. Knowing these less-complicated rigging systems will allow you to efficiently repair snapped fishing lines and setups while on the water, making more time for fishing. Plus, the fewer components involved means fewer tangles and better casts. You could also read our ultimate catfish guide here.

Slip Sinker Rig

Described as the “essential catfish rig for all species of catfish” by Chad Ferguson in his article, “Catfish Rigs: The Best Rigs for Catfishing,”  the Slip Sinker Rig is one of the most widely used setups in the quest for catfish. Compared to the “Carolina Rig” for bass fisherman, the Slip Sinker Rig is set up the same, only differentiating itself by the tackle used.

The versatility of the Slip Sinker Rig allows it to be used in a wide array of situations and for a variety of cat species. Keeping the boat near the bottom of the water, this rig will work anywhere, from rivers to lakes; and is useful for both drift fishing or catch and wait.

This set up offers more freedom for the cat to take the fishing hook and run with it before hooking. It will allow for pull without resistance, setting up for a solid hook when the time is right. We must add that this is the best catfish rig on the market at the moment.


Santee Rig / Santee Cooper Rig

The Santee Rig is another good catfish rig for a wide variety of catfish species. As a slight variation of the Slip Sinker Rig, the Santee offers effectiveness in drift fishing, anchored, or even off the shore. This rig utilizes a small peg float just above the hook, which allows the bait and hook to be slightly lifted off the bottom of the lake or river, straight into the path of the catfish.

This set up allows an angler to find the fish and to keep their bait directly in the path of the bite zone. Adjusting your leader line with the peg float will allow you to navigate your hook to correct location in the water column.


Slip Bobber Rig

The Slip Bobber Rig is popular among those who are out after channel catfish, but its function is beneficial to many more species of catfish. Utilizing a slip bobber, which allows you to adjust the depth of your line based upon the depth of the water, the Slip Bobber Rig makes deepwater fishing a cinch.

To use this rigging system, you will use the standard line and hook setup. The slip bobber should be set to a depth that you want the hook and bait to float.


Three-Way Rig

The Three-Way catfish rig uses a traditional setup that can be combined with a three-way swivel or can be modified to meet your immediate needs. It should be considered usable in most catfishing scenarios, but focusing on keeping your bait off the bottom is the objective. However, because of the three-way swivel system, additional knots are required for set up, so it will be more time-consuming.

The three-way swivel will hold your mainline, an anchor weight line, and the hook line. The independence created between the anchor weight line and the hook line will create separation between the two, allowing the bait to naturally move in the current without the effects of the weight influencing it.


These rigging options present multiple choices for nearly every scenario. You can fish for catfish running the bottom of the water, or you can float it at depths of your choice. You have an option to float just above the sediment and weeds, or you can post you bait well above the brush to where the cats may be lurking.

Know the benefits of each rigging setup and be prepared to use them when the time is right. As you learn more about your fishing hole and how the catfish response to its unique characteristics, you may need to modify your rig system.

Once you have a solid grasp on the rigging options, you can focus your attention on finding the best bait to entice the catfish in your area. Ask around, read articles, or do your own research on the water and find out how to best complete your rigging system with the perfect bait choice.