BEST CATFISH RIG #7 Amazing Essential Rigs (Three Way Rig)

7 Best Catfish Rigs To Buy Now

Choosing the best catfish rig is very important when fishing for catfish. This has to do with your fishing line, the way you place your bait to catch the kind of catfish you are targeting and the amount of weight you add to your fishing line. Just like catfish bait recipes, catfish rigs greatly differ and everyone has an opinion as to the correct way to rig their line for each kind of fish. Using the best rig is important if you want to land this amazing creature. The following are the best kinds of catfish fishing rigs you can get:

best catfish rig

Row of fishing hooks on board. Different hooks for fisherman. Angling equipment.

  1. Three Way Rig

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This is one of those rigging options that is so handy and is considered in most conditions for all types of catfish. It is a very successful rig for fishing static baits in the still waters of a pond or lake. But it’s unequaled for slip drifting on large rivers like Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi, also for drifting wind-blown flats in big reservoirs.

This rig is best used when you want to move your bait freely, similar to the Santee Dragging Rig, but with a more flexible weight and line. It is also good for shore and boat use and for all catfish in the right environment.

The rig construction is made up of the first swivel attached the line with the hook, the next is where you can tie the mainline and another is where the weight is. The hook and the length of the leader will depend on your preference; however, I recommend that you choose a size between 7.5 and 12 inches. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.


Fishing line: lighter ones like monofilament fishing line are more effective for me.


  1. Zero Rigs

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I think this is one of the simplest kinds of catfish rigs. Zero does not use barrel swivel or leader. It is composed of only a sinker and a line in which you can tie the hook at the end. The rig sliding sinker rests directly against the hook’s eye. And in most cases, there is no need for too much movement of the bait. This is very effective in fast-moving water. Free-flowing baits do not attract catfish in this water, so using this technique will give you a better chance of landing any type of catfish.

One thing I discovered is that when the water is moving fast, what you need is a shorter leader and lesser bait movement. And since this rig doesn’t have a leader, you can fish directly against and around heavy cover, and in the end, it gives very little hang-ups.

This kind of rig is ideal because it has a single point of connecting the hook, which in the process reduces the snag problems, which make it perfect when fishing in a heavy current. In addition to the basic equipment, the only other material you need is:

Egg sinker: you attach it in a way that it lies directly against the hook eye.


  1. Carolina Rig

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This is also referred to as a slip sinker rig; it is one of the simplest catfish rigs that I have found to make fishing activities exciting and easy. This is more useful when fishing in channels and is not as aggressive as zero rigs.

All species of catfish can be caught with this rig. And if you are an amateur catfish fisherman, I suggest that you learn the basics with this rig which is designed for both professionals and beginners.

Carolina rig uses a swivel with mainline and sinker attached to one end with the bait and hooks attached to the rest.  Most time I use this type of rig for channel catfish. These species are known for being very sensitive to resistance, but this rig doesn’t give them any clue that you are trying to catch them. It cast well and works well. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.

  • Leader Line: any monofilament or fluorocarbon leader weighing 40 or 50 pounds can work well.
  • Hook: My most preferred hook is number 6 or number 4 strong treble hooks.
  • Swivel – The most favorite size for this rig is size 1 and 3
  • Weight: You can use an egg sinker or no roll sinker.


  1. Santee Cooper Rig

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This is another catfishing rig that I like because it is suitable to use when fishing from the shore or from a boat. Also, another thing that makes this rig my favorite is the fact that it is easy to tie and quick to cast.

This feature is possible thanks to the cigar float attached to the leader, which makes it easy to lift up the lure off the lake or river. It also allows your hooks and baits to flow with the water and be more unnoticeable than some of the more aggressive ones. It has a pencil sinker, a fixed float, and a strong line.

Santee Cooper rig is very effective when you know where the fish are and it also requires persistence and understanding of the catfish. The rig works with all catfish species when you are in the right environments. One good thing about it is that you can adjust the length of its leader depending on where the fish are holding. No matter the feet from the bottom you can catch fish without difficulty. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.

  • Leader line: Normally you can use any spinning reel, fishing line, or fishing pliers, but I recommend that you use fluorocarbon leader or monofilament leader, maybe something between 40 to 50lbs.
  • Hook: You can use any hook, but personally, I like the octopus style circle.
  • Swivel: It is important to match the size of this material with the size of your target fish. The perfect one for me is the basic brass barrel swivel.
  • Sinker: The material for this depends on where you are fishing. When fishing on an anchor, you can use the egg type. And when drift fishing; I prefer drift fishing sinker with fewer snags.
  • Peg Floats: The perfect size to use is between 2 inches or 3inches.


  1. Drift Fishing Rig

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One of the most difficult fishing methods to master is drift fishing. Therefore, drift fishing and rig of similar names work perfectly well in lakes with a muddy bottom and not too many boulders, rocks, or other obstructions. The reason for this is because drift fishing rigs require sensitivity for the fisherman to detect the lightest bites and also for setting the hook before the fish can spit it out without the bait.

Most fishermen change basic sliding sinker rig for drift fishing for a channel cats. With a sliding sinker, they fix a three-way or cross line swivel to the ending of the line. This enables the use of two hooks and, so, two different baits on the same rig to avoid tangling.

This rig is good for slow-moving water that is not filled with debris or other stuff that your hook will easily catch. You can use it from a boat or from shore. This is the best rig for catching channel and blue catfish because they are less aggressive.

It is designed to completely flow with water and is not visible in calm water. Also, it is designed to mimic catch that catfish may be hunting for, as the baited hook will move at a similar speed. It is a great option for drifting across shallow flats in ponds, lakes, and reservoir creek arms. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.

  • 1 ounce Egg Sinker attach to the main line
  • 17-30 LB Test line (preferable braided)
  • Swivel attached to hold the sinker in place
  • 30” of 14 LB Test Leader Line connected to the Swivel


  1. Slipfloat Rigs

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These are the perfect rig for channels and slow-moving water. Slipfloat rigs are not good for fast-moving water because the fish will not want to catch the bait that is moving too fast. And they are also perfect for less aggressive catfish like channel and blue catfish. These rigs work just like the Drift rig, but incorporate a bobber to prevent the hook from frequent snagging. It also allows you to control the depth of your bait and hook.

This rig will keep baits moving alongside the bottom at current speed, though with less snags often than shot rigs. The Cigar-shaped floats are extra sensitive than the round bobbers; this allows catfish to swim a short distance with the bait without feeling too much resistance.

Slip floats are the best option for catching fish of all kinds at all depths.  Getting these on young fishermen lines early on will help catch more fish in just about any situation that calls for a suspended minnow, leech or crawler. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.

  • Comal Tackle 2 inches Slip Stick float or your favorite slip bobbers
  • Split Shot Sinkers
  • Bobber stops and Beads
  • Favorite catfish hooks. For channel cats, use size number 6 and 4 strong treble hook.


  1. Paternoster Rigs

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This catfish live bait rig is designed exceptionally well for live bait. Paternoster rig will allow your bait to move around and attract the catfish’s attention, and at the same time preventing your line from being snagged easily, and keep it more manageable. This rig is similar to a three-way swivel but uses a lighter bottom line in case of a snag.

Just like the three-way slip rig, this rig is worth the extra time it requires to tie it in several situations, especially for offering livebaits to flatheads. All sizes of live baits must first be wild and lively, and also be presented in a way that allows them to advertise these seductive features to the fish.

The low frequency vibrations made by a stressed baitfish attracts catfish by exciting their sensitive side lines. Paternoster rigs are very successful when you can keep a 30-90 degree angle on your line, from the rod tip to the sinker. The following are the equipment needed for this type of rig.

  • Leader line: Fishing line for the fishing rod and also for the leader line
  • Single swivels and triple swivels
  • Pliers
  • Scissors (to cut the fishing line)
  • Single hooks
  • Sinkers:
  • Fishing rod
  • Bait bucket
  • Filleting knife

Buy a similiar one like picture above or tie your own like this:

Best Catfish Rig Conclusion Choosing the Best Catfishing Rig

In conclusion, the best rig has been improved through clever design to achieve greater success in fishing. Each of these rigs is equipped with the proper weight, hook, and line to meet the purpose and overcome obstructions posed by nature.

So, when choosing the best catfish rig, you need to take certain factors into consideration. Don’t forget there is no one size fits all catfish rig. Each kind of rig has its advantages and disadvantages; therefore you should consider factors like the type of catfish you are fishing, temperatures, climatic conditions, time of the year, the fishing location, the size of the fish and the water depth you are fishing. Also check the speed of the water flow, since not all rigs work in fast or even slow-moving water.

Make sure you understand what the catfish needs and what will attract them to bite your bait before setting up your rig. Because not all catfish like certain bait and many won’t go for certain rigs in different waters. It is important to note that all these works hand in hand when choosing the best catfish rig that suits your fishing needs.