Try This Simple No-Leader Cat Rig

Try This Simple No-Leader Cat Rig

So far this spring, at least two catfish trips come to mind where an adjustment in rigging made all the difference in catching more fish, and in one case at least some fish. We've written about this rig before, but it still tends to get overlooked, I think partly because of its simplicity.

In the instances I'm writing about here, which were both tailrace situations, we started the day using standard sliprigs, constructed by sliding a slipsinker on the mainline, tying the mainline to a barrel swivel. A leader (about 10 inches) was tied to the other end of the barrel swivel, and a hook (circle hook) was tied to the end of the leader. Hooks were baited with cutbait. Standard stuff.

This rig was successful in getting baits to cats, but success in getting catfish to commit and hook up was low. It could have been that the fish were tentative, but it just as well could have been that the fish didn't prefer a bait that was likely dangling and fluttering in the current on the leader, or a combination of factors. Too much bait movement perhaps?

Having trouble hooking up, the adjustment we made was eliminating the leader, letting the No-Roll sinker slide right to the hook (with a bead added to cushion the sinker on the knot at the hook eye). The result was that strikes were more committed, and hookup rates increased substantially.


The success of the no-leader sliprig must have been due to keeping the bait stationary with the leader eliminated, reducing the bait's ability to flutter in current, and staying pinned more to bottom. I wonder if current pulling on the bait creates some distance between the hook and sinker, pulling line through the sinker. But more realistically, current forces act on the line, which causes the line to bow downstream, which actually pulls the bait into the sinker keeping it tight to the sinker.


//www.in-fisherman.com/files/2012/06/IMG_2295.jpg

Some might wonder if cats might shy from a sinker being too close to the bait, or whether they feel the sinker and drop the bait. I don't think the presence of a sinker is going to deter a catfish from picking up a bait—it doesn't know the difference between a sinker, a rock, or a spark plug. As for the "feeling" of dragging a sinker? Can't be much different than a standard sliprig. A hungry cat is a willing cat is a committed cat.


A few weeks ago, Red River of the North catfish guide Brad Durick and I turned a good day into a great day, filming a segment on channel cats for In-Fisherman TV, by eliminating the leader on the sliprig. You might consider this rig for flatheads, too, especially around wood, and also for blue cats. Sometimes simple is better.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Walleye

Spring Walleye Fishing Tackle Choices

Steve Ryan - October 19, 2017

Spring walleye fishing often means large numbers of fish concentrated in small areas.

Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

Fish Recipes

Catfish Dinner with Homemade Chips and Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Changes for Smallmouths

Doug Stange deploys an one unique in-line spinnerbiat option for smallmouths.

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

X-Factor Smallmouths

The In-Fisherman staff keeps it on the cutting edge, as they use the X-Factor plus topwater lures for smallmouths.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

See More Stories

More Catfish

Catfish

10 Places Worth Trying for Trophy Blue Cats

Brian Ruzzo - June 19, 2018

They thrive in lakes and rivers. They grow to triple digits. And they can be found coast to...

Catfish

Blue Catfish Fishing Methods

David Harrison - March 16, 2018

From Kansas to Northern Texas, the size and abundance of blue catfish has skyrocketed in the...

Catfish

Surface Strategies for Big Flatheads

Brian Ruzzo - September 02, 2018

Steve Green's Topcat attaches to a tree or other structure, and can be fished as a limbline.

See More Catfish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×