Veteran Catfish guide Rodger Taylor use completely different rigs depending on whether he is fishing at anchor for catfish or when drifting or trolling for cats.
“You want the anchor rig to lay flat on the bottom and hold your bait in place,” said Taylor. “The drift rig is designed so it doesn’t hang up when it’s pulled across bottom structure like stumps, logs, and brush.”
To make an anchor rig, the guide starts with a standard Carolina rig set up, incorporating an 18- to 24-inch length of heavy duty mono between the main line and the hook. Above the barrel swivel, which is rated at a minimum of 120 pounds breaking strength, he threads a flat, teardrop-shaped lead weight. This type of weight is commonly referred to as a “no-roll” sinker for its tendency to lay flat on the bottom. The most common weights used are 2 and 3 ounces. Taylor slides a small section of surgical tubing between the weight and the swivel to protect the knot from abrasion against the weight. Another accessory that is sometimes used between the swivel and the hook is a small ice float, which provides enough buoyancy to keep the bait up off the bottom.
The drift rig is essentially the same set up as the anchor rig with the exception of the weight used. He credits the creation of the drift weight, which is also called a snake weight or no-snag weight, to catfish guides who fish the Santee-Cooper lakes in South Carolina.
“You can now buy these weights for sale commercially, but they’re not hard to make,” said Taylor. “Start with a length of parachute cord that’s hollow in the middle, then stuff buckshot, ball bearings, or small round split shot into the middle of the cord. The ends of the nylon cord are then heat sealed with a match and a snap can be attached to the top of the weight to allow the line to slide through.”
The most popular weight for the drift rig is 1½ ounces, which Taylor claims is light enough to bounce across structure, yet heavy enough to keep the bait near the bottom in shallower water out of the flow of heavy current like in a slough or chute.
“I use a small crappie float which can be adjusted closer to the weight if I want the bait to ride high or closer to the sinker if I want it to ride low,” he said.