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

Panfish

Dock Shooting Crappies

Matt Straw - July 03, 2018

Catch those weary crappie with this technique!

Bass

Rigging Soft Bass Baits Correctly

Matt Straw - May 15, 2018

Balance is the goal when tipping jigs with trailers.

Walleye

Spring is Prime Time for River Walleyes

Dan Johnson - February 22, 2018

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

See More Stories

More Catfish

Catfish

Top Destinations for Trophy Flathead Catfish

Steve Ryan - June 18, 2018

The allure of flathead catfish is multifaceted. With a broad distribution across the U.S. and...

Catfish

Sound Strategies for Catfish

Cory Schmidt - June 12, 2018

We've lately been considering various notions regarding the sensory superiority of catfish.

Catfish

Pinpointing Summer Flatheads

Dan Anderson - June 13, 2018

Flathead catfish, the reclusive rulers of many North American rivers and reservoirs, are...

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.

×