17 Gadgets, Tech, Toys, & Tools Every Catfisher Needs
You can spend thousands of dollars on gear that you may never use… especially when you’re going fishing for catfish. There isn’t much you really need!
However, if you’re like us, you tend to watch your gear budget closely, just in case something comes along that you know you need — at a deal that’s too good to pass up!
We’ve scoured the web — and deleted 90% of our list — to find only the most essential tech, toys, gadgets, and tools every catfishing angler needs. Take a look and realize how much easier your trips can be, when you head out equipped with the right gear!
#1 – Best Fishing Alarm Indicator For Catfish
If you’re like so many other anglers you probably rely on your eye sight to “see” when the line gets a nip, the rod tip shakes a bit, or a fish has “mouthed” your bait and let it go.
Hopefully you can see the issues with this strategy — during the day the sun is going to play tricks on your eyes, force you to focus, and leave you constantly wondering.
At night? That’s when things really get interesting — since you effectively can’t see anything at all and are even more reliant on your other senses than you are during the day.
Old-school anglers used bels on the ends of their rods until they realized the clips tear up the fiberglass or carbon and cause small nicks in the line — which causes fish to break off once you do get them hooked up.
This is where technology enters into the scene to save the day. The FREETOO sensitive electronic fishing bite alarm indicators save your eyes, and your sanity, and only trigger when a fish either hits or runs — so your eyes can finally relax, day and night.
|FREETOO Best Sensitive Electronic Fishing Bite Alarm Indicator (3pcs)||$15.99||Amazon|
#2 – Best Fishing Rod Holder For Catfishing
For the most part, catfishing isn’t a cast-and-scan affair like bass fishing, where you’re constantly casting and retrieving, searching for where the fish are hiding.
Catfishing is on the other end of the spectrum, especially when you’re fishing from the bank.
When you want to pull up a seat and actually relax while waiting for the fish to come to you, you’re going to need a good rod holder that stakes deep enough into the ground to keep your gear protected, while also giving you a free hand to enjoy your trip.
We’ve looked at quite a few different pole holders and very few can compare to what you’re getting with the Roto Metals Adjustable Swivel Pole Stand w/ Cup Holder.
It’s a must-have for any bank anglers that are tired of dealing with backyard rigging and lost gear from fish taking it into the deep with them after they bite.
|Adjustable Swivel Fishing Rod/Pole Stand with Cup Holder- Made in USA||$43.99||Amazon|
#3 – Best Fishing Net For Catfish
One of the biggest causes of broken rod tips (outside of just throwing your gear around) is attempting to lift a heavy fish out of the water and onto the boat or bank.
This one move puts more stress on your rod tip than anything else and can be completely avoided when you head to the water with the right gear — a fishing net.
If you’re tired of replacing gear, tired of losing fish next to the bank, or you’ve been searching for a net good enough to go catfishing with, the KastKing Madbite Folding Landing Nets are amazing, especially when you look at the price.
They’re collapsible so you don’t have to worry about them taking up a ton of space and they come in clutch when you’ve got a fish near the bank that you don’t want to lift or lose.
|KastKing Madbite Fishing Net Folding Landing Nets, 20 inch Hoop Size(Fixed Handle)||$39.99||Amazon|
#4 – HydroWave Catfish Mini System (Banned In Tournaments!)
Every now and then a new piece of technology comes along that completely changes the way we do things — in this case, the way we catch catfish.
The design of the HydroWave has raised eyebrows in every circle of the fishing world, and for good reasons — it makes fishing way too easy and tournaments do not appreciate anglers using “cheat” devices while they’re competing!
Luckily for you, you’re not out in competitions trying to win prize money — you’re sitting around trying to catch a few trophies or put a few small cats on the dinner table.
For times like those?
You need to use every advantage you can get, and the HydroWave Catfish Mini Feeding System is the perfect solution — it may even be more effective than a potent stinkbait!
#5 – The Best Pre-Rigged Carolina Rigs For Catfishing
Unless you’re a professional in tying knots, you’re going to have times where your gear isn’t up to snuff, your knot got weakened, or your swivels weren’t cinched down, or you’re using the wrong weights for the baits, and the problems only seem to get worse from there.
Instead of wasting time (and money) buying everything you need to rig up the potent Carolina Rig (keeps your baits floating 12” above the bottom!) TST has some of the best pre-rigged Carolina Rigs we’ve seen.
They come with a 100lb test fluorocarbon leader, a 2 ounce egg sinker to prevent snags, and a 180lb test stainless steel crane swivel. The heavy duty Monster 8/0 hooks stay sharp cast, after cast. When you’re tired of rigging your own Carolinas, TST has your back.
|TST 3 Pack Carolina Drum Rig Rigs Redfish Rig Catfish [100lb Fluorocarbon - 8/0 VMC Circle Hook] 2oz...||$19.99||Amazon|
#6 – Best Way To Attract Catfish From The Bank
You’ve seen scientists “chum the waters” when they’re looking for predators like sharks. Did you realize the same sort of technology works on your favorite species, too? Especially when you’re fishing from land and can’t trapse back and forth along the bank.
When you know where you’re going to sit and fish and you don’t want to waste time waiting for those fish to come to you, a high-quality attractant is one of your best weapons. You can’t just use any “attractant”, though.
Some are definitely better than others.
Take the BaitCloud Catfish Attractant for instance. Do you know any others who use -only- the species that catfish eat, while also including small scales to help fish see, while they smell, and then come over to investigate further?
You’re right — they don’t exist! It’s why BaitCloud took catfishing by storm with their attractant balls. If you can’t catch fish with these, maybe golf is more up your alley.
#7 – Best Monofilament Line For Catfishing
Not all fishing lines are created equal. Some will break off a fish the first time you get a small knick in the line, while others are nearly impossible to see, so you know when a fish is tapping the line or when the wind is messing with your eyes.
Stren knows this and has gone way above and beyond to create fishing lines that are both abrasion-resistant and highly-affordable. When they released a monofilament specifically with catfish anglers in mind, we took notice.
You have to see it for yourself, in person, to understand how well this stuff works but it practically “glows” during the daylight hours and when you use a UV light on it at night.
With strong abrasion-resistance and the Stren name backing it, their Catfish Mono is hard to beat and we don’t think you can find a better line right now. (The orange color disappears underwater!)
#8 – Best Baitcast Reel For Catfishing
Abu Garcia is a known name in the fishing industry — and it doesn’t matter what type of fish you target on a regular basis, Abu has a reel designed specifically with you in mind.
When we saw their Ambassadeur series was now catering to catfish anglers, we know they had to be onto something. Since we require different specs from our reels, we decided to dig deeper and find out what made their new reel different from the rest.
It’s got everything you need — smooth ball bearings, a strong disc drag, centrifugal brake, and a bent cranking handle that helps give you more power and control. It’s been designed specifically with catfishing in mind and you can tell as soon as you hold it in your hands.
|Abu Garcia C3-7000 Ambassadeur Catfish Special Round Baitcast Fishing Reel||$144.48||Amazon|
#9 – The Best Swimbait For Catfishing
A few years ago, swimbaits as big as your hand were all the rage — and then it seemed like they fell out of flavor. People got tired of breaking their gear trying to cast them and staying patient while only the biggest of the beasts went out of their way to bite.
Even though bass and tournament anglers quit using them (except for rare cases) catfishers figured out that they’re still incredibly potent.
And, if you want to take it up a level, use hook stops or plugs to attach small pieces of Gulp! catfish nuggets or other types of stinkbait to ring the giant’s dinner bell and lead them right to where you’ve got one of these swimming through.
Then hang on! When a fish hits these, they hit with a vengeance!
As with most other lures, you’ll want to “match the hatch”. If the fish in your local area are feeding on bluegills, use the bluegill swimbait. If they want sunfish, use sunfish.
|FISHINGGHOST Fishing Lure Swimmbait Candy, Length: 4.7inch, Weight: 0.63oz, Swimbait Lures/Musky...||$19.95||Amazon|
#10 – Best Pre-Rigged Leaders For Catfishing
You can waste away for hours trying to tie together leaders and hooks, only to have them end up in a tangled mess once you start trying to organize your tackle box.
Leader Feeder knows this problem all too well which is why they’ve built the perfect solution for anglers looking to save time (and money).
The box fits neatly into most tackle boxes and comes with up to 28 leaders in hook sizes up to 9/0 (bigger than you would ever need!), keeping them neatly organized until you’re in need of another one.
When you need to tie on a new leader and hook, undo the straps, remove the hook, separate it from the pegs, and then put your straps back in. Long gone are the days of dealing with a dozen tangled leaders when you knew you left them perfectly organized!
|Leader Feeder, Pre-Tied Fishing Leader Dispenser, Holds up to 28 Leaders. It Works Great for Holding...||$16.99||Amazon|
#11 – Best Fishing Gloves For Catfishing
When you get onto a mess of fish, you may think you’re in Heaven!
That is, until you end the day and realize your hands and fingertips are worn completely raw, you smell like fish slime, and it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to use those worn down nubs you call fingers for the next week.
In other words, you’ll learn real fast how big fish keep ahold of their dinner — using the sandpaper on their lips to keep their meal from moving around!
If you haven’t gotten to experience burned off fingertips yet, it means you haven’t been following our catfishing tips and catching more fish than you know what to do with.
Lucky for you, you never have to experience that level of pain — and you never have to experience it again if me talking about it is a sore spot in your fishing history!
The Lindy handling glove gets rid of the torn up fingertips and fish slime smell completely!
|Lindy Fish Handling Glove (Large/X-Large, Left-hand)||$25.97||Amazon|
#12 – Best Topwater Lure For Catfishing
Ask around about topwater fishing for catfish in most circles and you’re probably going to get laughed out of the room. However, that’s their mistake, not yours!
Even though most people do not think of topwater fishing when they think of catching catfish, one brand knew there was a missing “trigger” for big fish — the ones that will eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths.
Stop and take a look at your local waters, though… are there ducks swimming around? Smaller ducklings that are about as big as the types of baitfish you usually see catfish swallowing hole?
If you want to liven up your catfishing experience, throwing baby ducklings on top of the water while you’re using attractants below the surface is a potent combination. And one that’s guaranteed to never be short of entertainment value!
|TRUSCEND Fishing Lures for Bass,Topwater Lures Duck Fishing Baits with Treble Hooks Fishing Lure...||from $12.99||Amazon|
#13 – Best Digital Scale For Catfishing
What’s the point of trophy hunting if you can’t actually prove how big your trophy was?
Whether you’re trying to prove how big the beast that you just hauled in is, or you’re trying to stay at the “perfect weight” for filets, leaving home without a fish scale and measuring tape can be a recipe for disaster.
If you consistently fish in areas patrolled by game wardens or you have slot limits and “legal” fish, the Dr. Meter scale is lightweight and packs away neatly when you’re not using it. The comfortable handle won’t pinch your fingers and is big enough to use both hands.
Stop telling fish stories without having proof you’re setting records!
|[Upgraded] Dr.meter FS01 Fishing Scale, 110lb/50kg Digital Hanging Scale with Backlit LCD Display,...||$13.99||Amazon|
#14 – Best Gearset For Catfishing
There’s “tools” and then there’s a “gearset” that gives you only what you need, and puts it together in a kit that you can stow away — forget about having multiple tools floating around your tackle box, tearing up your lures, messing up your line, you name it.
And, you can forget about carrying more tools than you actually need. We all know you need a set of lippers, a set of pliers, and some gloves, so why bother with anything else?
Dr. Meter agrees. Their complete 3-piece set is perfect for catfishing and built to last. Corrosion-resistant snap connectors, coiled lanyard, and nylon sheath for storage keep your tools right where you need them, when you need them.
|Dr.meter Aluminum Fishing Pliers, Saltwater Resistant Fishing Gear, Tungsten Carbide Cutters Split...||$23.99||Amazon|
#15 – Best Circle Hooks For Catfishing
Whether you’re practicing catch-and-release, you’re going trophy hunting, or you want to bring home a few filets for you and the family, we highly recommend using circle hooks.
Even though treble hooks do hold onto baitballs better (giving you more time with your line on the bottom and less time re-rigging another bait ball), there’s one major problem with them…
If you’re not keeping the fish you are causing severe damage to the insides of their mouth and throat — which is usually where treble hooks end up. Ever tried taking one out when you didn’t get to the pole in time? Exactly… fish swallow treble hooks whole!
Circle hooks have proven to be better for the fish and better for your fishing holes so if you’re still using treble hooks for catch-and-release, we recommend grabbing some Gamakatsu circle hooks in a 5/0 size.
|Gamakatsu Circle Offset Point Octopus Hook-Pack of 25 (Black)||from $9.04||Amazon|
#16 – Best Stinkbait / Punchbait for Catfishing
`When it comes to catfish, you can get away with quite a few different “concoctions” and baits… some people even use bubblegum soaked in garlic sauce!
While you could make your own at home, and deal with the mess, the stink, and the weird looks you get for storing something that resembles The Blob and stinks like garlic… there are a lot better solutions available.
For instance, Mr. Whisker’s Cheese. You can’t deny how potent it is — the stuff’s been for sale for years! You definitely can’t deny its “punch”… it has a true funk that catfish love.
You also can’t deny that having a label on the front of the tub, no mess left behind in your kitchen or shop, and the constantly lingering smell of “garlic and cheese” roaming around your home is worth its weight in gold.
Ask anyone that’s used Mr. Whiskers before, and you’ll see why they treat it just like that… gold!
#17 – Best Fishing Rod For Catfishing
If you’ve gone catfishing for any length of time, you’ve probably already dealt with broken rod tips, broken ferrules, broken rod guides, and broken reel seats. Catfish put up a fight that most gear isn’t suited for!
Knowing Mr. Whiskers and their love of our favorite fish, it’s only expected that they would release a rod built specifically with us in mind.
The Mr. Whiskers Lews Mr. Catfish Casting Rod is a medium-heavy action, 7’0” length, with an extended butt for extra pressure.
The carbon graphite reel seat and IM7 graphite construction are durable and sturdy. The tip is reinforced to maintain sensitivity and not break when you lift a bigger fish out of the water without a net. It’s one of the best rods we’ve found, and we’ve seen them all!
Do you think we missed anything?
Even though we’ve scoured the web to find the best gadgets, tech, toys, and catfishing tools every angler needs, we know this isn’t the end-all be-all of lists! That’s why we need your help!
If you didn’t find the gear you were looking for, let us know! We’d love to hear what’s working for you, see for ourselves, and possibly even recommend it to our readers in the future!The Tackle.org Team