Standard Two Hook Rig
There are several terminal rigs used for catfishing in Clear Lake. The most common is the standard two hook rig. This is a good all-around rig for all species of catfish in the lake. This consists of an 18 to 24 inch leader with a snap swivel on the bottom end and a barrel swivel on the top with two evenly spaced dropper loops in between. You can purchase these pre-tied in most tackle stores as "surf leaders". Attach a sinker of your choice to the snap swivel and the line to the barrel swivel. Sinker weight and type depends on a variety of conditions such as required casting distance and holding bottom in windy conditions. Hook size and style choices vary greatly among the local fishermen. I prefer #2 to #1/0 baitholder hooks with this rig. See the directions for making a dropper loop below:
This drawing and the text description courtesy of Fishing Cairns
A very informative site
Form a loop in the line.
Take hold of one side of the loop, and make 6 or more turns around the line itself.
This is the tricky part - keep open the point where the turns, or twists, are being made.
Take hold of the other side of the loop, and pull it through the centre opening. use a finger in this loop so that it is not lost.
Hold this loop between the teeth. Pull gently on both ends of the line, making the turns gather and pack down on either side of the loop.
Draw up the knot by pulling the lines as tightly as possible. The turns will make the loop stand at right angles to the line.
Click here for some great animated knot tutorials.
Slip Sinker Rig
A typical slip sinker rig:
A good rig for both shore and drift fishing from a boat for channel cats is the sliding sinker or slip sinker rig. There are many variations of this rig but the basic idea is a 12 to 18 inch leader with a kaley style #4 to #2/0 hook on the business end. Thread either a barrel sinker of your choice or a sinker-slide through your line and a small plastic bead then tie a swivel to the end of it. Tie a loop to the end of the hook leader and snap it on to the end of your line. The plastic bead keeps the line from being damaged by the sinker. With the snap swivel you can quickly change hook sizes by simply having extra hook leaders tied up. If you use the sinker slide (a tubular device with a snap on it found in most tackle shops) you can change weights quickly.
Drift Fishing Rig
I have modified the basic sliding sinker rig for drift fishing for channel catfish in the north end of the lake. I use the sinker slide but I attach a three way or crossline swivel to the end of my line. With this rig you can use two hooks and therefore two different baits on the same outfit. To the other two swivel eyes I attach one hook leader of about 20 inches in length and the other about 10 inches. This prevents most tangles from occuring. This rig is not recommended in rocky areas because it will snag easily. The north end of the lake is primarily a mud bottom so it works well there.
Slip Bobber Rig
This is the best system for shallow water catfishing especially in the spring and summer months. In a way the slip bobber is similar to the slip sinker. First thread a slip bobber on your line then a small plastic bead and tie your line to a small barrel swivel. Attach a short leader (18 to 24 inches ) with a #2 to #2/0 hook attached to the barrel swivel.
After determining the water depth put a bobber stop above the bobber on your line and set it at the appropriate depth ( so the bait is a foot or so above the bottom ). Bobber stops can be anything from a tiny piece of rubber band tied on your line to a variety of commercially made ones. Attach a split-shot that is heavy enough to submerge your bobber approximately 3/4ths under the water to your leader about half way from the hook and the swivel. If your using large heavy baits such as live crawdads then use a lighter split-shot or your bobber will sink.....Go Gettem!!!!...Catfish Ed.