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The other catfish rod


Use that graphite rod instead.  It's far more sensitive than your typical fiberglass catfish rod.  Feeling the difference between bait and sinker in the water tumbling around on the bottom to a soft tap or inhaled bait is what you're going to differentiate.  Fishing in smaller rivers or streams, the smaller catfish tend to be more of nibblers.  Maybe they merely bite down on the bait instead of inhaling the bait and taking off like a freight train.  Regardless, a graphite rod should be held by the hand.  It's less forgiving and second guessing a bite will usually mean you've missed the bite already.  The other downside is feeling all those light nibbles and not being able to give a hook set into fish at all.  It does make me wonder, how many more catfish I've been missing out on with just the typical fiberglass rod.

The rod that I've been using over the years have been a Cabela's XML 7' heavy action rod.  One of the benefits of using a graphite rod is being able to guide a fish more efficiently.  There's more of a direct leverage versus the moderate and flexible fiberglass rods.  Any catfish of under 30# in small rivers and streams can be easily tamed by this rod.

Wow, it is years later and I've found myself in this situation of preference.  To add more onto detecting light biters, I had to go with light wire hooks.  It seems like fishing in a community spot, the pressured fish have gotten used to hooks in the bait.  I was having a hard time with my hook up ratio on my heavier standard wire hooks.  My hook up ratio with the light wire hook made a huge difference.

Yes, I do worry about the light wire bending.  Since I was really after eater sized catfish, I consider the possibility of the hooks bending not so much.  I need to hook up first.

as far as rods go, i think it's reasonable to have a variety of rods for any situation. the fiberglass rods may be less sensitive, but if you're using circle hooks it loads slowly and evenly as the cat swims away, ensuring a decent hookset with the circle. it's what i prefer to use in weed or muck situations.

graphite is absolutely better for overall bite detection and hookset power, for light wire hooks like you're talking about, i reccomend a simple short-shank design, like an octopus or something similar. longer hooks have more gap, but they're also usually less sturdy when they're made with light wire.

and don't neglect sinker and rig choices, a fiberglass rod needs a direct connection to the hook to be as effective as possible, so a sliding sinker rig is necessary; meanwhile a graphite rod will need to have constant contact with the hook, so a set-rig is far more effective than a sliding sinker rig in most cases. i don't recommend a split-shot rig since it's very snaggy except in clean sand or gravel, and the split shot reduce bite sensitivity significantly.


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