Here’s a quick rundown from James Lindner on his go-to catfish rig for fishing around log jams.
There’s a lot of different hooks you can use for catfishing and one of my favorites is the VMC Octopus Hook. We use this in a variety of different sizes, everything from 2/0 to about 5/0 depending on the size of the catfish we’re chasing.
One thing that’s always important when you’re tying heavy line, this is 25 pound test Sufix Siege in bright orange, is to leave a really long tag on there. Catfish aren’t all that delicate and they don’t care about a little extra line sticking out, but when you use heavy line like this, a lot of times it’ll have the tendency to slip. That’s why I leave a pretty long tag on there – just in case. There will be situations where you’re putting a lot of pressure on the fish, you might be fishing around log jams where you need to really lean on them to get them out. I also have 65 pound Sufix Performance braid line as an alternative option.
The one thing that’s really interesting in this rigging setup is the weight of the sinkers. We’re only fishing in three to five foot of water, but we’re fishing with three ounce sinkers, sometimes even heavier than that. The biggest reason you’re using this heavy sinker is once we cast it out, we want it to lock in that position in front of a log jam. Right now, we’re fishing in front of a big sub-surface log pile. You can’t see it with the naked eye, but there’s a bunch of wood underneath the surface. Once you cast your catfish rig out, you want it to pin to the bottom and keep its position in front of the cover. If it slides down current, it could get hung up and stuck on the wood pilings.
Another important aspect of this catfish rig is our leader length. If you have a longer leader, it has the tendency to move around a lot more and you can get hung up on wood or the bottom. When we’re fishing around log jams, we like to use relatively short leaders, as a result.
We’ll setup in an area, cast out this catfish rig, and wait for fish to come to us. It’s relatively simple and you can catch some fairly big channel catfish up in this section of the Mississippi River, like 8 to 12 pounders. We also have oodles and oodles of like 3 to 6 pounder, and the occasional fish over 12 pounds.