Catfishing Equipment is very similar to carp fishing equipment. That is a real good thing, because in United States there is not very many fishing gear manufactures making specifically designed catfishing equipment. However, in the UK and Europe carp is king. So if you want specialized high quality cat fishing equipment you can turn to the overseas carp fishing industry for help.
Here are some examples of things to look for in your catfishing equipment.
Catfishing Equipment: Rods
Catfishing rods need to be strong enough for the size of fish you are targeting. A rod with a recommended 8-15 lb line weight is an approximate minimum for beginners targeting average sized catfish. If you are after20+lb catfish you are going to want something beefier.
If you are fishing for catfish from shore, you need a rod that is long enough to give you the distance you are going to want. If you are tall and fish in open areas I love 12′ rods, but the most versatile rod length that is better for beginners would be about 6′- 7′ feet.
A rod with a slow or through action is preferable piece of catfishing equipment for beginners because the rod will be lots of fun to play smaller fish and will be forgiving if you jerk too much when fighting the fish.
Catfishing Equipment: Reels
A bite and run spinning reel is the ideal reel for most cat fishing situations but a if a bite and run reel is too much money then a normal spinning reel will do just fine. Match the reels line weight to you rod.
Catfishing Equipment: Bite Alarms
Bite alarms or bells are not strictly necessary pieces of cat fishing equipment but they are loads of fun and they allow you to relax more when you are on the bank and make night fishing much easier. If you are just starting, buy yourself a set of $2 bells to clip onto your rod then save up for an electronic bite alarm. Here is a great video demonstrating why bite alarms are an awesome cat fishing tool.
Catfishing Equipment: Rod Holders
There are a wide spectrum of rod holders for the boat or bank. A cut stick can work in a pinch but the nicer your rods are the more you want to invest in a rod holder that will protect your rods and keep your reels out of the water and dirt.
Catfishing Equipment: Hooks
There are hundreds of different types of hook on the market but here are the most basic principles. If you are going to hold the rod in your hand and then set the hook when you feel a nibble use a traditional “J” hook. If you are going to put your rod down and wait, then use a circle hook and don’t bother with setting the hook. If you are going to do catch and release, use circle hooks because the fish are much less likely to swallow the hook and hurt themselves.
Make sure you use the right size of hook. A 4/0 circle hook is a good average sized cat fish hook. If you get a lot of bites that get away then decrease the size of your hook. If you are catching 15 lb catfish or bigger than increase the size of the hook.
Catfishing Equipment: Weights
In a river use enough weight to keep your hook pinned to the bottom without dragging. In still water, use a weight that is about in the middle of your rod’s recommended lure weight.
Catfishing Equipment: Head lamp
If you are going to go night fishing (and you absolutely should) then get a quality headlamp. A good head lamp will make your life so much easier and is one of the pieces of catfishing equipment that really make your life easier when night fishing.
Catfishing Equipment: Chairs, Tents & Beds
If you are going to spend all night or a couple days fishing then you are going to want to be able to pitch your tent and set up you cot right by your rods. There are some incredible carp fishing tents, chairs and cots which will allow you to night fish in luxury. Tents are not absolutely necessary for catfishing but tents do make fishing more enjoyable.
Catfishing Equipment: Spods, PVA bags and Method Feeders
Chumming is a powerful technique for catfish and carp. Spods, PVA bags and Method Feeders are all great pieces of catfishing equipment for chumming from the bank. If you want to draw large schools of catfish closer to where you are then get a spod, some PVA bags and a method feeder and learn how to use them.
A great video on how to buy a beginner cat fishing rod, reel and rigs for under $35.