The Ultimate Guide To Catfish Reels

Catfish is a freshwater or sea fish with a beard around the mouth and a little fin. They are typically bottom-dwelling. Catfish reels are their particular type and do not follow the standards or rules of other fishing reels. But they still keep some more outstanding qualities of primary reels.

Almost all of the reels to cast catfish are baitcasting reels. But you can choose a spinning reel, too, if you are a beginner. We like baitcasting reels because they are better and easy to use if you are an experienced fishing person. Lets move on the ultimate guide to catfish reels artilce.

Catfish In General

Catfish are fish with long barbels coming out from the sides of their faces, resembling cat whiskers. There are many different types of catfish, with the channel catfish being the most commonly found. Catfish can live in both freshwater and saltwater, depending on the type of catfish.

Most catfish have a diet consisting primarily of vegetation. Omnivores are a common trait among fish in nature. Others feed opportunistically, depending on what they find to be most nutritious. Some species of animals are only carnivorous and cannot digest plant material. Likewise, a few catfish types are parasites, meaning they live off of other creatures.

That is why the variety of bait you can catch is so wide. If you can use something that isn’t food as bait, you can tell catfish are not picky eaters. How and what a catfish eats mainly depends on the waterway in which it lives. Numerous catfish are to eat food drifting on the outer layer of water.

Read more: Everything about Catfish

Where To Find Catfish

One of the most attractive aspects of catfish is not an epic fish fry, is that they can be found in many different water places. As a living species in warm water, you can find catfish wherever you find catfish or bass. Most large lakes and rivers have catfish, and many cities raise pangasius in local ponds. Ask around your local fishing store, then find a good fishing hole in your area to start your trip.

Once you find a place of water containing catfish, look for deeper holes and pockets to target. Catfish also love structure, so be sure to place bait near brush piles, submerged logs, stakes, rocks, and other features that catfish might call home. After that, a game start of sitting and waiting. But don’t get too nervous because if you use the tips we’re sharing today, you’ll get caught fish quickly!

Basic Catfish Rod, Reel & Line Setup

You can use any rod and reel to catch catfish as spinning, baitcasting, spin, or spin cast operate. But, if you are looking for a specialized device for catfish, here are some notes to consider when you want to go on a nice catfish trip.

It needs a medium to heavy action rod that provides plenty of spine to fight the giant catfish.

A 7-foot rod is a great rod length that will provide you with all the casting distances you may need. If you meet a big water level and need to cast extra far, consider using an 8 or 9 feet rod.

Spinning reel if you are a beginner, a spinning reel is perfect for you. It is the most flexible reel, works excellent for catfishing, and is easy to learn to use. A good spinning reel for catfish must be in a size that fits your fishing rod and keep at least 200 yards of line.

Braided line or monofilament that great when you doubt selecting the monofilament line in a 20 to 30-pound test. Monofilament has a slight stretch that many catfish experience anglers felt to help catfish committed to biting sentences. You can consider Berkley Big Game a great monofilament line for spending money.

Braided lines are also a good choice for catfish and are often preferred by experienced anglers because the opposite reasons are the freighter wire – it doesn’t stretch, making it a more hook set. In addition, the thinner diameter of the braided lines allows you to spool your reel with more lines or increase durability without sacrificing line yardage.

How To Choose The Quality Catfish Reel? (The Ultimate Guide To Catfish Reels)

What Do You Look For In A Quality Catfish Reel?

It will work correctly in long-term use.

It will retain its value for years.

If you need to replace parts, they will be available as long as you own a reel.

Most importantly, we must dig deep to find a good quality fishing reel regarding features and specifications.

The Detailed Features And Specifications To Choose Quality Catfish Reel

Line Capacity

When talking about a catfish reel, the line capacity of a reel is a big deal, especially for targeting trophy cats, drift fishing, and targeting deep water fish.

The line capacity is how many fishing lines that reel can hold while you roll a heavy catfish. The top quantity of the capacity line determines the weight; the greater the numbers, the stronger the line will be.

In almost all cases, you will be using a much heavier fishing line than commonly used for freshwater fishing. A larger line capacity has a stronger line, occupies more space, and fills rolls faster. It’s hard to break and even more difficult to tangle. And if one of these happens, you have a lot of lines to work. The larger the diameter and the higher the test strength of the fishing line is suitable for roll catfish.

If you had a large enough catfish reel to handle larger diameter fishing lines, it would help to keep enough lines to use many different techniques and an “extra” fishing amount when hung up and breaking. That’s one of the many reasons baitcasting reels are catfish’s best choices.

Fishing in deeper water, creating long in deep or shallow water, or drifting for catfish requires lots of fishing lines, that you can make long casts or take your bait to the correct position, and you have to use many catfishing techniques.

If you use a low configuration fishing reel with a small spool and fill it with a twenty to thirty-pound test line like freshwater fishing reels, you will strip replace the whole day line while fishing. If one or two line breaks, you will be without enough lines to fish.

Braking Systems

Brake uses magnets to help slow down or stop the rotation speed of the spool turning. Backlashes (also reverse responses known as professional overruns) occur when you press the spool, and the cast spins faster than the speed of your transmission line.

A reel works in the “free spool” or no brake system that allows the rotary axis to move completely freely, allowing more outstanding and easy casting distance.

Counter Balance (Spool Tension)

Most modern, high-quality gear has the counterbalance on a reel, also called the spool tensioner. The counterbalance helps you quickly adjust the rotation of the spool only while fishing. It allows you can adjust the rotation for more weight on the line to compensate for more or less weight as needed than you intended.

If you reduce weight, then you will have trouble casting. The more weights you have on the line, the faster the spool will rotate, thus increasing reverse backlashes or opportunities.

The adjustment of the spool tensioner compensates for the weight you are using, the size of the fishing line, and the overall efficiency of the casting and rotating process operation. Increasing the tension of the spool requires more weight on the line and less weight than the requirement to decline.

The Drag System

Good drag systems are essential for catfish. Perfect catfish reels are imperative to a great and adjustable drag system. It keeps the fishing line snapping free when you’re reeling in a heavy catfish, allowing you to land that big one.

Carbon fiber drag systems are always a high-quality choice. A drag washer is placed and pressed against other washers; these washers press on the spool.

There will be considerable force when you hook a fish, especially for a big catfish. It’s like a shock through the fishing line and each tackle you are using.

Drag is a system that helps you easily land with 100 pounds on the 20-pound trial and helps stretch the fish so you can roll them easier. The reel will be stuck or snap if you don’t have the line’s drag system correctly.

Gear Ratio

The gear Ratio rate is really important when you start a catfish trip. The gear ratio is how fast the line you take or the transmission rate determines the speed and decides how many lines are released each time you turn the handle.

When the handle is turned, the more the fishing line is dispensed, meaning the higher the gear ratio. For example, a reel with a retrieve ratio of 5:1 reels in line more slowly than a reel with a ratio of 6:1 reel.

Reeling large amounts of line and pulling giant catfish requires faster access speed. So you can roll easier and quicker in the catfish and give the fish less time to let go of the line or break it. It allows you to pull a large amount of this line quickly and gives you good strength to “winch” big catfish.

You will have to buy a new roll when you have a large line out or meet a monster catfish, and every turn of the reel handle turn pulls a minimum amount of lines.

Most large round baitcasting reels will have suitable transmission gear ratios for catfishing. Important attention to the gear ratio if you decide to take risks from the market’s recommended models.

Bait Clickers or Line Alarms

Bait clickers are also called line alarms because the mouth reel will turn off the click when a fish swims away with the bait. It allows the spool to operate only in the free spool and creates a noise click when the fish starts to swim with your bait. They also leave the spool only freely in the water.

You will use your bait in the desired location, reel in the slack, turn on the line alarm and then press the spool release button to the spool will only move freely. When a fish goes along and bites apiece, it can run freely with the line, and the clicking sound will warn you about the activity.

Bait clickers are used in catfishing applications and techniques, primarily when anchored with sliding or similar catfish rigs.

If you are using the circle hooks, there is a less critical bait clicker or alarm, but they can still be helpful in various techniques, including using circle hooks.

It is an excellent feature to look at and will be a standard feature in most rolls, although the quality of the line alarm system will change a lot in cheaper reels.

Bearings and Bushings In Fishing Reels

Bearings allow the reel to turn when you cast and in all aspects of the operation.

The more or higher the quality of bearings is, the easier it is to cast and the more you can cast. The number of bearings will be listed when you look at the specifications of fishing reels. The basic principle of thumb is that the more shaft drive, the rotation axis will work smoothly and cast farther away.

Like everything else, quality is also essential. In most cases, one good-quality bearing will be better than two cheap, low-quality bearings. Some have bushings instead of bearing and therefore do not cast as well as bearing reels. The general principle is to choose bearings over the bushing, and more bearings will work better.

Level Wind

When the spool turns, a mechanism of moving back and forth on the reel is called the level wind reel. You get back when taking the fishing line and turning the handle of the fishing reel. A level wind moves back and forth and distributes the line.

The reels lack wind function levels and require anglers to guide the line back on the spool only while retrieving. It is usually done with the thumb while reeling.

Level wind reels are usually famous for catfish. Most reels in the recommended size for catfish will have a wind function level. Reels without the level wind are often used for heavier saltwater fishing or surfing fishing.

Standard and Power Handles

There are two options:

Two knobs for the standard “traditional” handle

A larger counterbalance knob for larger “power” handles

Trophy catfish typically come equipped with power handles and large heavier reels often used exclusively.

They were made more comfortable with them and brought them a feeling that they have plenty of cranking power to trophy catfish, some anglers like larger power handles. Other anglers use standard handles, catch tons of monsters, and never think twice about using or needing anything different.

Ultimately, it helps if you determine what feels best to you. If the reel you choose is not equipped with your favorite handle, you can always change it for your handle.

The Basics Reel Maintenance

Quality catfish reels will have a very long life span if they have been cared for correctly. The level of care and maintenance from person to person is different; it varies significantly based on the way they treat them while fishing and the amount used.

Depending on usage, heavier use will require more frequent cleaning and maintenance, maybe once a year or more.

There are some tips to keep your reel in good shape:

  • Keeping the reel clean and dry is the most critical rule of care.
  • Always leave them out in the water and never let them be submerged in water.
  • Keep them away from sand or dirt.
  • Keep the surface’s reel clean. Occasionally wipe with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Sometimes apply a single drop of oil to the outer moving parts.
  • If the reel is not operating correctly or is making noise, it needs cleaning and may require further repair.

Another important thing is to keep the wind system of the reel clean and doesn’t have debris. Dirt or debris inside the Gear Ratio is the fastest way to problems with your reel.

The Sliding Sinker Rig – A Simple, Effective Catfishing Rig That’S Easy To Tie

This is probably the only fishing rig you need. It is a bottom fishing rig, which keeps bait at the bottom of the lake or river, where you will find the most catfish. The sliding sinker rigs are very flexible and can be used to catch catfish of all sizes in all types of water, including lakes, ponds, and rivers.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sliding sinker rig:

– 1 to 4-ounce sliding weight about an egg, bell, or flat no-roll weigh

– 30 to 50-pound test monofilament leader line

– Plastic bead

– Barrel swivel

– 1/0 to 7/0 circle hook

This is how to tie the sink slider rig:

Step 1. After tying up your rod, take a sliding weight and slide it on the mainline coming off the reel. If you are fishing in static water (lake and pond), only a 1-ounce weight is enough. If you are fishing on the river, you need a heavier weight to anchor your bait to the bottom against the current.

Step 2. Slide a plastic bead on the line after the weight. It helps protect the knot we will force when the weight bumps into the swivel in the next step.

Step 3. You are tying the swivel until the end of the main fishing line. The swivel provides a stop to keep the weight not slipping into your bait. Use a simple Palomar knot or Clinch knot to mount the swivel.

Step 4. Then with the other side of the swivel, tie a monofilament line material with a length of 12 to 24 inches. The size of the leader is not very important, so when there is doubt, shrink it shorter because it will be easier to cast.

Step 5. Tie a circle hook to the end of the leader by using a Palomar knot or a clinch. It is also possible to use j-hooks, but the circular hook has a bit advantage because them ideally hooks into the mouth corner of the fish, making it easier to remove a hook.

To cast a sliding sinker rig, drop your bait and slide your sentence to the position capable of containing catfish. As soon as you can feel the weight touch the bottom, any reel is sagged down and then loosens the reel’s drag so that the line can be pulled out of the roll tube without trying a lot if you are sentenced to a river with a strong flow but the traction so that you can draw the line but still keep bait for the current.

When fish bite the bait, you will see the head rod bend, the fishing line started peeling, and the fish swims along with the bait. Wait a few seconds, then quickly tighten and pull back down. When the traction affects the line, the circle is basically set itself, and the match is on.

Tips For Catfish Bait Options

Catfish are not picky when it comes to bait. Living baits such as bluegills or shad are common primers used by anglers trying to catch flathead fish. So don’t worry, you don’t need to confuse bait to catch catfish.

Here are four types of fantastic catfish baits that are widely sold, cheap and attractive to catfish:

Chicken liver: quintessential fishing bait; with chicken liver, you can buy it very cheaply in grocery stores. Blood flows to smoke catfish from all over the lake, pond, or rivers, creating a scent trail downstream that catfish can follow into your hook.

Hotdog: buy a little hotdog from the grocery store, break a piece, and string it into your hook. A great benefit of using hotdogs is that they are easier to handle than chicken livers.

Nightcrawlers: if you are fishing in small ponds for catfish, the nightcrawlers is extremely effective. Try to find the most delicious and biggest worms you can and string the whole thing into your hook.

Processed catfish bait: catfishing bait is a huge industry, and you will find countless types of primers made available in most sporting goods stores. There are tablets, dip bait, doughs, and many other types, mostly created with fragrances and flavors specially designed to attract catfish.

Read more: 5 Effective Catfish Bait Recipes For Beginners


Before you go out, you need to clearly understand the attribute of the catfish species you will target on each fishing trip. Are you targeting one catfish, boxfish (smaller catfish), multiple species, trophy-class fish, or mix all of these?

The wrong catfish gear will give the fish an advantage, and you will have difficulty catching them, leading to an unsuccessful fishing trip. We hope you will follow along and save a lot of time and money knowing the features and setup you need when fishing for catfish.

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