“The catfish is a plenty good enough fish for anybody…”
Mark Twain wrote that in 1883 when catfish probably were at the peak of popularity. In fact, prior to the 1960s largemouth-bass-fishing boom, Americans always considered catfish highly desirable.
That changed when bass tournaments became the rage. Catfish and catfish anglers suddenly became nonentities in fishing. Tackle manufacturers ignored the fish.
All the while, however, Americans continued catfishing. And recently, the fishing-tackle industry has reexamined the catfish’s admirable qualities and realized it made no sense to ignore millions of anglers who pursue these abundant, good-eating sportfish. As a result, more catfishing gear has become available: tough rods and reels, unique baits, special hooks, bobbers and line, plus many accessories. Among recently introduced items are these.
Renegade Tackle Ming Yang CL70A Baitcaster
Renegade’s newly redesigned CL70A baitcaster is a big-cat tamer. A smooth star drag, dual brake system and powerful 4.2:1 gear ratio quickly land trophy fish. The high-capacity, free-floating spool system allows longer casting with up to 260 yards of 25-pound-test line. Features include all stainless ball bearings, a loud clicker design, stainless bail and counterweight, and a big power handle. $68.
Penn Defiance Combo
This new Penn combo costs very little but packs enough punch to give big blue and flathead catfish a quick trip to the boat. The level-wind, star-drag reel features graphite frame and sideplates with anodized aluminum spool to cut weight, four stainless-steel bearings for smooth operation and a large-handle knob for comfortable retrieves. $109.
South Bend Ready 2 Fish Combos
New for beginning catfish anglers are these combo kits from South Bend that include hooks, sinkers and bobbers for catfishing packed in a durable plastic tackle box. Features an oversized aluminum-spool spinning or spincast reel pre-spooled with mono and paired with a 7-foot, medium-heavy-action, two-piece fiberglass rod. $39.
Big Ten Tackle Bobber With A Brain
When the Big Ten bobber hits the water, it lays flat. The sinker sinks, pulling line through the float, and when it hits bottom, the bobber fills with water and tilts up. As it tilts, the steel-ball “brain” rolls down to the magnet, locking your line inside the bobber between ball and magnet, keeping line straight from sinker to surface. $5.
Team Catfish Super Cat Hooks
These big durable hooks land big hard-fighting catfish. Super Circles feature heavier high-carbon wire and a slight offset that makes loading big baits easier. Sizes 9/0, 10/0 and 12/0. Super J-hooks feature a European design used to catch 200-pound-plus wels catfish. Sizes 4/0, 6/0, 8/0 and 10/0. $12 for 6- to 10-hook pack.
Team Catfish Sinker Slidez, Sinker Bumpers
Sinker Slidez from Team Catfish allow you to change sinker sizes or remove sinkers whenever you want without cutting line. Line moves through the slide so catfish don’t feel the weight. A soft-rubber Sinker Bumper added to your rig protects line and knot. $7 for 12-pack Slidez; $3 for 14-pack Bumpers.
Cabela’s King Kat Braided Fishing Line
This new, small-diameter, braided superline from Cabela'sfeatures Spectra fiber-nylon tracer construction that increases abrasion resistance and strength for battling strong cats in cover-laden environs. Nylon tracer makes the line neutrally buoyant and increases line stretch by 5 percent for welcome extra hookset forgiveness. Dirty green color in 20- to 80-pound-test, $14-$39.
Berkley Trilene XL Armor Coated
Berkley's Trilene XL has long been a catfishing favorite. But anglers often need something tougher when fishing around line-damaging cover. XL Armor Coated was made with that in mind, using a tough sheath and flexible core to make it 40 percent more abrasion resistant than regular XL and 30 percent more flexible. Clear, Green. 6- to 20-pound test. $8-$9.
Vicious All Purpose Line
Made with advanced copolymer technology, Vicious Fishing’s new All Purpose Line features low stretch, extreme sensitivity, high abrasion resistance and low memory, characteristics all smart catfish anglers seek in a quality line. Low-Vis Green, Low-Vis Clear. 10- to 50-pound test. $8 for 1/4-pound spool.
Magic Bait Cebo
Catfisherman have long used asafoetida, a highly aromatic resin, to entice catfish. This hard-to-find ingredient is now blended into Magic Bait’s Cebo dip bait, so anglers can take advantage of its unique odor to attract catfish. $5 for 15-ounce tub.
Magic Bait Big Squeeze, Bait Pod
No need to get smelly catfish bait on your hands with Magic Bait’s new Big Squeeze prepared bait. Just squeeze it in Magic’s Bait’s new Bait Pod, and you’re ready to fish. Scent disperses into the water. $4 for 4 1/2-ounce tube. Bait Pods, 2 for $4.
Team Catfish Sudden Impact
Poke a No. 6 treble hook in the Sudden Impact bait bucket and pull out a loaded hook ready to cast. Sticky so it won’t fall apart in extreme summer heat. $4-$29.
Team Catfish Fish Grips
Save your fingers from the crushing jaws of big catfish with this tool specially made to snap on the fish’s jaws without letting go. Grips float and have a handle hole for a scale. $16.
Plano Bucket Top StowAway
Snap the Bucket Top StowAway on a standard 5-gallon bucket to turn it into a versatile carrying container. Eighteen compartments separate hooks, sinkers other gear beneath see-through lids.
Frabill Crawler Can
This handy-dandy insulated container works great for cooling live crawlers, leeches or cut-bait on hot days. Put different baits in the dual compartments, or keep ice in the bottom to cool bait in the top. Gasket on lid keeps water in. $14.