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whats the best way to rig for cats??
line size & type?? boat or pontoon??
25yrs ago on the potomac in va. we used 3way swivels with drop sinker, 2/0 hook,
uncle josh cat fish bait, frogs, rotted meat.
never been on the red & haven't gone after cats for 23yrs but have an invite on the 14th so going to takeup the offer.
been reading past posts trying to get more informed.
any info would be appreciated.

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Mid summer cats are on the prowl more then ever, this is good, simplifies things a lot.

A good place to start is rod choice. A 7-9 foot med to heavy action rod will work well. I like glass rods and in particular E-Glass rods. E-Glass is a very tough material and helps to keep cats hooked up solid when they roll and brawl there way to the net. A very good E-Glass choice in my eyes is the Berkley Re-Flex rods. They are made to reflect light at night making bite detection an easy deal. Built to last and run on the reasonable side price wise, about $32.

Line may vary upon conditions but a good all around line is Berkley Big Cat in 20-30 range. The new Iron Silk (HI-VIS)is what I like, very abrasion resistant and holds a knot well, good stuff. Super-braids work too, very well with glass rods in fact. I still prefer mono for most conditions through.

Terminal tackle. First off anything you toss in a river is potentially Terminal Tackle, so get used to that right away, stuff happens. Buy large 60-80 pound rates ball swivels in bulk, you will use them up in time, cheaper in bulk too.

Hooks range from 1-6 O/T Eagle Claw bait-holder hooks to my personal preference the Gamakatsu octopus style Circle hook. For most of your circle hook fishing for channel cats stock 6-8 O/T circle hooks.


Match the circle hook size to bait size and range of expected cats in the section your fishing. Six O/T is a good benchmark for frogs, 7 O/T for bigger Kitty's on larger cut baits. Leaders should range from 6-16" depending on conditions. Shorter in faster water or near heavy cover. Longer on less risky flats with fewer snags to hang in.


A basic catfish slip rig, minus the tubing/knot protector that fits in between the bead and over the front half of the ball swivel.

A tip I will share on rigging that will save you a lot of terminal tackle is the weight choice. Try No-Roll weights, they look like a egg weight that has been run over by a truck.


They are flat with the hole running through the center. They lay flat and as the name implies resist rolling on the bottom, thus reducing snags. I use the NO ROLL weights in sizes ranging from 1 oz to 4 oz.


You can get new molds from Do-It Molds for larger sizes yet, but few waters need that much weight. In general they require less weight then other weight options to do the same job.

Scheels has NO ROLL weights in Fargo if you looking for them. Not many stores carry them in the region. Cabela's may have them in East Grand Forks? With the big Cats Incredible tournament just last week they may be short on catfish tackle stocks and not in any big hurry to restock this late in the season?

Another tip is between the weight and the swivel add a 1-2" section of tubing with a plastic bead at either end. This works as a shock absorber and protects the knot at the swivel. Most break offs are due to wear are at that point because of the weight beating on the knot. The tubing will save you lots of tackle and get more big fish to the net. Find some old aerator tubing from a aquarium and cut it up into section. This style of tubing has the right amount of flexibility to snub up to the ball section of the swivel. This will also help to rebound the weight, dislodging it when snagged up.

Location? Hit and run fish, from boat or from shore, fish 20 min in a spot at the most, keep moving. Fresh bait on EVERY NEW BAIT SET will up your odds greatly. Keep it fresh, change baits often.

The more you cruise the more cats that will encounter the baits you set. Snag piles, rock bars, sand bars, inside bends, wash areas below a dam, and backwaters they are all big producers in mid summer and fall. Get and go, catch and run, seek and find.

Please practice selective harvest and know the size restrictions on all the tributaries of the Red.

The limit is 5 and only one of them may be larger then 24", on any and all tributaries of the Red River. If it eventually feeds into the Red, the 5/24 law applies. Cats under 20" are by far the best and safest eating catfish. Let them big Kitty's go, and grow.

Good luck, I hope this was helpful to you.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding "ED on the RED"
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 08-08-2003).]

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I am still set on braided lines, I have gotten away from mono for the simple reason of stretch. I want to feel every little nibble and that Tough line, black & white braid, works wonders. It's life span is much longer than mono also. I run 50# tough line with 20# mono leaders. Circle hooks are ok at times depending on how you plan to fish. If you like the big hook set and the cats are agressive then go with a good sharp off set hook that accomidates your size of bait your using. Circle hooks work well when the cats are turning and running with the bait.

Med-heavy rod 6'-7' and no roll sinkers. 2-3oz pending on your current.

Bait cast vs. spin reels.... That is determined by your prefrence. Just remember that Sumo cats pull like a truck so make sure you choose a reel with a good handle for craking power. Okuma and Mitchell have good spinning reels with bait clickers now so you have the best of both worlds.

http://a1460.g.akamai.net/f/1460/1339/6h/www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/co ntent/Pod/01/14/46/p011446sq02.jpg


Boat vs. pontoon. Well that is going to be up to you and your river and the landings you have available. Boat is always a good choice but a pontoon is much more spacious if you can get it to where you want to go and have the time to get there. A couple lazy boys and good rod holders in a pontoon and even a BBQ grill can not be all bad. Your gonna need some room when you get that SUMO kitty in the boat.
Good luck.

Wiskers Guiding Service
Red River & Minnesota RIver Channel Cats, Flatheads & Walleyes
Crookston, MN
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Wiskers Guiding Service (edited 08-08-2003).]

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Well, Drowned minnow I guess you got your info from the right sources. These pro's know what they're talking about and I know Ed personally. One heck of a fisherman and guide. He knows of what he speaks!!!!!!!!!

I also prefer braid on my Abbu with a 7 ft. rod. 50lb. line and run a 20 or 30 lb leader.

Be ready as you're going to have a great time. You hook into one of those sumos and you'll feel it in the morn. They can rumble as there's no tomorrow. Please let the biggees go so other sportsmen can have fun.

By the way, booking with Ed would be well worth your money and time.


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I'm with Ed on the no-roll sinkers. They're the real deal. I've lost a lot fewer rigs since I switched over to the no rollers.

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Thank you all for sharing your knowledge & wisdom.
Will post a report after my return.
May i also offer my condolence to ED & HIS FAMILY.

again Thank You

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Does anyone stock no-roll sinkers or the molds in the twin cities? Headin' to selkirk next week for the first time. I've been having sumo kitty dreams!

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No-rolls and circle hooks cut my snagging by 90 percent.

Thanks to Stu McKay at Lockport those years ago for putting me on them!

I'm a braided line fan too, because when those fish hit the cover, even a low-abrasion mono abrades, and those E-glass rods work sweetly with no-stretch lines.

Mmmmm, love my E-Cat No. 3. grin.gif Too bad Berkley discontinued the series. frown.gif

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"Cats on the Red" should still have 2's and 3's oz. No-Roll weights on hand.

You can also get them at Sheele's Sporting Goods stores in the Fargo/Moorhead area, if you come through this way. They stock a good selection of Gamakatsu circle hooks and G-Mag hooks here in Fargo too.

Cabela's may have them in stock at East Grand Forks, maybe?

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding "ED on the RED"
[email protected]

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