Catfish are simple creatures. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right place at the right time, using the best catfish rigs that can deliver and hold your bait in a location where active cats can find it. The least number of components in the rig means fewer components to fail and knots to break, and less weight to interfere with a natural presentation. Simple catfish rigs also are easier to construct on the water when rigs are lost to snags or abraded leaders need replacing. And sparsely tied rigs cast farther and tangle less often than more complex rigs designed to accomplish the same task.
All of this is not to say that simplicity is more important than function. Consider how the bait can best be presented to the fish, then choose the simplest, cleanest rig that will put the bait in the right location. The simplest rig of all consists of nothing more than a hook and bait, a setup used by Florida bass fishermen to freeline big live shiners under dense weedmats for trophy largemouths.
This also is the rig favored by Al Lindner for big pre-spawn channel cats on the Red River of the North. Slip a 2/0 hook through the corner of a freshly cut piece of sucker and cast it into the center of a shoreline eddy. The bait drops slowly through the water column, then tumbles along bottom in the slow current.
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