Everyone has catfish tackle that they prefer when they are fishing, and really whatever catfish tackle works best for you is the one you should use. The best way to make sure, when it comes to catfish tackle preparation, that you have made the best choice for you, is to choose a good quality catfish tackle based on considerations such as the area in which you plan to fish and the conditions present at the time you plan to fish.
There will be a little bit of difference in catfish tackle preparation to be used in various seasons and in fresh or salt water, as there is in small ponds versus large tributaries or rivers, but the only approach is one of trial and error, so you can discover what works for you.
Still, it is always best to get as much education as you can in advance, so that you can make informed decisions. If you are fishing for smaller, pan size catfish, almost any tackle will do just fine (just be sure to use at least an eight pound test line) but if you are fishing special conditions or for larger cats, you will have to adjust your catfish tackle preparation accordingly.
Light or medium tackle works well enough for smaller cats, but everyone who has ever caught old whiskers on a line, especially in any type of cover, knows that even small catfish can put up a heck of a fight on the end of a line, and even when you are fishing in waters you think you know, an occasional monster catfish can take your bait and leave you with a “one that got away” story that is sure to be told time and time again, so consider that when you are making your decisions in regards to fishing tackle choices and preparation.
If you are fishing for larger white or channel catfish, you will need a more sturdy fishing tackle. This is particularly true if you are fishing around structure. Most catfish anglers use at least 16 pound test line and rods from seven to ten feet long. Just remember that the longer rods will allow you to cast farther with better control, particularly in heavy cover and when you are fighting an angry channel catfish.
You should also have a good drag system if you are going to handle those long, high energy runs that channel cats put up from time to time. When drift (sometimes called drag fishing) fishing, many catfish anglers prefer medium saltwater gear. The most avid spinning reel fans often change over to conventional reels when they are drift fishing as well.
Often a ten pound test superbraid line is called for in these circumstances. Some catfishing enthusiasts also prefer surf casting rigs for fishing from the banks and from docks, especially if they are fishing at night.
Even surf fishing rig lengths as great as twelve feet are used regularly with good results. These longer rods provide the ability to cast greater distances and allow anglers to cover more water. Just cast out as far as you can, and move your bait a few feet every few minutes. This movement in the water will rouse those sleepy cats and get them interested in the bait you are offering.