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Since this if my first thread, let me start it by saying you guys are all awesome and this site has been incredibly helpful!

I'm getting back into fishing after a long time away, and reading around, I've noticed just about every body of water in Northeast Ohio seems to have channel cats.

I've never targeted cats before, but I think it might be fun, not to mention tasty.

The issue is, researching catfishing rigs, they all seem to require very heavy line (30-80 lb), 2-3 ounce sinkers, and the heavy poles that go with line and tackle that heavy.

Is that what people around here are using? I haven't heard of too many cats over 30 lbs here, so that seems like massive overkill. I was envisioning more like a baitcaster with 12-20 lb line and an ounce or so sinker, and some chicken liver. Am I way off?

If it matters, I'd be shore fishing in Lake Erie and some of the smaller lakes around here.
 

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If you are just fishing for channels I would say the rig you described will be fine.Most people that use heavier setups are fishing structure for flatheads.You might want to make sure that your baitcaster has a clicker.
 

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I fish for cats alot. I started off with a smaller setup with 12 lbs line. Worked for a long time just fine. Until I.hooked into a flathead randomly one day. Got.him to.the bank where he decided he no longer wanted to play with me and snapped my line without a second thought. Since then I have gotten a bigger pole reel and 30lbs.braided line. I haven't lost a fish due to equipment malfunction since.



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I fish Erie allot for Channels , the channels in there can get pretty large. I use a Spinning outfit , with a Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder spinning reel, and a 7'0 Heavy spinning rod. I spool it with 50Lb Power Pro Braid and My Rig works like this:

2 Oz Pyramid sinker on the main line, swivel , about a foot of 20 Lb mono leader, attached to a floating jig head, and 90% of the time I use raw shrimp for bait, the other 10% I used cooked shrimp, because the store ran out of raw.
 

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the Susan Lucci of OGF
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Your set up will be fine until he wraps you around a rock then it's by by. If you're going JUST after cats, go with the bigger gear. I fish for cats a lot in the river and it really help control them better than lighter gear.
 

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i think using the heavy tackle takes all the fun out it
i like to have one pole set up like yours with 12-20 pound tackle and some liver for the smaller ones and have one heavy tackle pole with a shad or bluegill and wait for the big one
 

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Jay
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I use 14 lbs braided worm and bobber. If your up fairport way this spring summer time hit me up ill show you some fun easy catting. I average 30 inches. Not huge but very fun. Especially in the canoe. They tow me around some. Beats paddling lol.

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I use an Eagle Claw 8' downrigger rod, sort of a fast tip but with a lot of backbone. We normally use 20# braid and a through hole egg sinker, it acts like a slip sinker and the fish pull the line through it and don't feel it. If you string a bead between the sinker and your hook, it will keep the sinker from battering your knot. We also use shrimp, left out a few days to get ripe, they almost never fail. If fishing at night, the tiny Cylume sticks on the end of your rod will keep you from missing fish.
 

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I personally enjoy the fun of lighter tackle for catfish. I use 8lb braid with 6'6" Med Heavy rods. I almost always fish with 2-3" bluegille with their bellies slit open, 1/4 oz slip sinkers with a 3/0 or 2/0 circle hook.



That's how I got this 20lb flathead in this spring!
 

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I personally enjoy the fun of lighter tackle for catfish. I use 8lb braid with 6'6" Med Heavy rods. I almost always fish with 2-3" bluegille with their bellies slit open, 1/4 oz slip sinkers with a 3/0 or 2/0 circle hook.



That's how I got this 20lb flathead in this spring!
Did you get the flathead in erie?
 

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Cats are where it's at!
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Stealie

Tackle and other gear often comes down to what catches the eye of each individual fisherman.

Line strength is often selected by looks, recommendations, or expectations of the fishermen.

Those with limited experience often spool line hoping to compensate for past difficulties they have incurred.

Few freshwater reels have drag ratings over 16# and most rods are rated for much less than 50 pounds. Any fish "breaking" heavy line on a reel maxxed out a 16# drag is not exerting more than 16 pounds on the line.

Spooling with 80# test does not mean you do not have to inspect/maintain that line on a regular basis (including respooling new line when needed).

Excuses for not catching fish because of tackle failure are normally just excuses :)

For NEO any quality reel and quality line of 20# test will land all catfish as long as drag settings are correct and the fisherman has patience.

Although many will give reasons why they need heavy line, I will suggest they hope to impress me with my line is bigger than your line instead of pictures of big catfish.

In the end it is up to each individual what tackle to use and anyone elses opinion or advice is pretty worthless.
 

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Personally I use the same rod for bass as I do catfish.
Abu Garcia 7' medium light rod
I have a daiwa reel with two spools. One is monofilament I use for only bass and I have the other with 50# braid for cats and bass. Generally when I lose a fish it's due to my knot failing and untying. But when I tie a good knot with the braided line I could pull in a snag. I've pulled tree limbs etc in before
Just a preference I suppose.
 

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catchin my own bait since 1957
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Just FYI, if you're planning on eating them I believe Cats from Lake Erie might have some sort of consumption advisory on them. Could be once a week, once a month or maybe not at all, due to Mercury and other pollutants, especially the larger ones. You might want to check into that ...
 

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For Northern Ohio Channel Cats, you can get by with a decent rod and reel. I typically use a 7ft Med action Whuppin Stick from Cabelas, and an Extreme spinning reel from Bass Pro loaded with 15 lb Big Game mono. That set up can whip a 1 1/2 oz weight and bait quite far, and still sensitive enough to pick up on smaller fish trying to steal the bait.


When I'm fishing Erie or a larger body of water where the cats can push 20+ lbs from time to time; I'll go with my 8ft Ugly Stik Catfish rod, with a good reel and 50 lb braid.

With either set up, Circle Hooks are your friend. The fish sets the hook itself when it takes the bait and tries to make off with it. They rarely end up gut hooked, and most times the hook is right in the corner of the mouth where it's easy to remove.
 

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aka Dr. Flip Phone
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The issue is, researching catfishing rigs, they all seem to require very heavy line (30-80 lb), 2-3 ounce sinkers, and the heavy poles that go with line and tackle that heavy.

Is that what people around here are using? I haven't heard of too many cats over 30 lbs here, so that seems like massive overkill. I was envisioning more like a baitcaster with 12-20 lb line and an ounce or so sinker, and some chicken liver. Am I way off?
If you look at most catfish weight vs length charts, you'll see that a 26" catfish averages 11 lbs and 26" is the size requirement for a Fish Ohio channel cat. Unless you're like a catfish wizard, 95% of the channels you catch are going to be under 11 lbs. You'd do just find on 12-20 lbs line with a 1/2 oz sinker.

You'll do better on cut bluegill and shad than on chicken liver in my opinion, but I'm sure others will disagree.
 
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