The Carolina rig, also referred to as a slip-sinker rig, is probably the most widely used rigging for catfish. It is a great way to present any type of bait to catfish that are feeding on or near the bottom. It is also a very commonly used rig by bass fishermen.
To tie a Carolina rig, we will need some terminal tackle:
- Leader line– usually a mono filament fishing line of slightly lighter test than your main line.
- Hook– j-hooks or circle hook from 4/0 up to 10/0 (for very large baits), #4-#2 treble hook, or your favorite dip bait holder.
- Swivel– large swivels without snaps size 1-2/0 will work for most catfishing.
- Sinker– bank, no-roll, and eggs are favorites for Carolina rigging.
- Bead– a spacer of some sort needs to be between your sinker and swivel on the mainline to protect the knot from being smashed. ( I like to use the connectors from the glow bracelets we use when night fishing).
- Line clippers – to cut leader and tag ends.
First, slide the sinker onto the mainline so it can slide freely up and down the line.
Next, put on a bead or spacer.
Then, tie the swivel onto the mainline using a palomar knot.
Now, cut a piece of line for your leader. This can be anywhere from 6 to 36 inches but 12 to 18 is optimal in most cases.
Tie the hook on to one end of the leader using a snell or palomar knot.
Tie the other end of the leader onto the empty side of the swivel using a palomar knot.
There is also slight variation of this rig called the Santee-Cooper rig which adds a small float, on the leader, in between the hook and swivel.