The real secret to the catfish rig used by angler David Magness is the weight, a specially designed model made and sold by his fishing partner, Rusty Jackson of Olive Branch, through his website, bigrivercatfishing.com

Jackson named the weight “Structure Snake” because of the flexible way it bends and crawls around heavy cover. The Structure Snake is a long, slinky weight, coated in high-density polypropylene thermal plastic that allows the weight to drag across and through obstacles without hanging up.

 “The Structure Snake won’t hang up on the bottom,” he said. “That’s what you want. You want to be able to troll through standing timber, across rocks, laydowns, whatever, because that’s where the big catfish will be.”

Jackson discarded several shell materials before settling on his current design. Many anglers use parachute cord stuffed with buckshot to make homemade weights, but the material and design rarely stands up to tough conditions.

“I also designed this weight with a snap so you can change out from a heavy weight to a lighter weight when you change water depths, and so you don’t have 5 ounces of weight slapping against your rod when you’re running down the lake,” Jackson said.