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Thread: James River Catfishing - My personal setup

  1. #1
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    Default James River Catfishing - My personal setup

    I have had several people ask me about my setup for catfishing the James River so I figured I would put up a post breaking it all down. This is just my personal setup so tweak it based on your budget and preferences

    My reel is a Penn International 955, this may seem like an expensive setup, but I also use it for casting spoons and plugs to stripers in the bay, flounder fishing and drum - so it's a multi-use reel. The most important thing about a reel for me is the drag. It must be smooth, if it's jerky it's yeah, or will be trashed. We are catching 40+ pound catfishing in the current - it will test your gear. Our largest in the James River in the shallows (above the fall line) is over 60 pounds.

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    For my rod I use a St Croix Tidemaster series rod - again this is also my inshore saltwater rod. It has plenty of backbone for moving heavy fish, but also limber enough for slinging large sunfish into the current. If you are going to use your typical bass gear, I would tell you to stick with your extra heavy rods - like a big flippin stick or something. It has to have plenty of backbone to move large catfish in the current. You will break smaller rods on big fish.

    This rod is a little older, but this is the current model with the same specs - click here for details http://vao.tips/4AC2

    • St. Croix Rod Model , TIC76MF
    • Length: 7' 6" / Sections: 1
    • Power: medium / Action: fast
    • Line: 8 - 17
    • Lure: 3/8 - 3/4 oz.

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    For my leader, I tend to stick with either Ande http://vao.tips/4AC3 or Sufix http://vao.tips/4AC4 - I dont worry about using flourocarbon, these fish arent line shy. My preference is also 40 pound leader material. I have never had any issues with 40 pound test, but I also check my leader regularly. After big fish of 40+ pounds, I usually cut and re-tie just so I am not risking it. My leader length is usually 4-5 feet.
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    For this kind of fishing, I stick with Sufix Siege in 20# http://vao.tips/4AC5 given the amount of rock etc, I tend to not go below this. It casts really well and doesnt have a memory.
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    Last edited by Brian; 07-16-2016 at 06:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    Part 2

    My hooks are typically team catfish brand http://vao.tips/4AC6 - typically in 8/0 or 9/0, I like their strength, but comparable Owner and Gama's are used regularly, but any hook needs to be a 4x in strength or you will bend them and lose fish. I always use circle hooks - I am not going to use anything else. They are easy to hook up and I never risk gut hooking a big catfish on live bait. Hooks needs to be sized based on the size catfish you know you are targeting. Big catfish need a large hook so that the gap of the hook isnt too small for the jaw.

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    for swivels, I like Tsumani and Spro swivels - some question Tsunami but I can tell you I have never had a failure at all. I tend to stick with 75# and up. Spro makes some great swivels as well, just remember that the swivel needs to be large enough to easily tie up a new leader. Again these catfish are not really leader and swivel shy at all.
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    You have to have some bobber stops, everything I throw is on a slip bobber set around 8 feet or so. The depth I set the bobber stop is all based on the water level. Most of the holes I fish are easily 8-10 feet in depth at normal river flow. This keeps it just off the bottom. Its not that catfish wont come up higher, but its where they tend to feed. Numerous times we have witnessed large catfish chase a large bluegill to the surface, where it then crushes it - this is always awesome to see.

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    For floats, most stores just have the cheap styrofoam floats. Most arent large enough given the size of sunfish we use - sometimes they are the small little 4-5" dinks, other times we lob the larger 6-8" sunfish. The float needs to be large enough to keep the sunfish from going where you dont want it to. I like the non weighted Little Joe 5" balsa wood float http://vao.tips/4AC7

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    Last edited by Brian; 07-16-2016 at 06:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Great write up Brian. You do realize you are supposed to take the black plastic bobber stop piece off before tying on the bobber right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kickin bass View Post
    Great write up Brian. You do realize you are supposed to take the black plastic bobber stop piece off before tying on the bobber right?
    Oh my...This is awesome.
    Wishin' I was fishin'...
    www.lds.org


  5. #5
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    C'mon Macon... thats a rookie move. When I tie up a new rig, I leave it on until I get on the water and set it to the depth I want it at. This way if the water is up high I can set it deeper - and I didnt already tighten it down un-necessarily and then have to move it. The knots on those bobber stops arent that great and constantly sliding them and pulling the tags ends will loosen them up over time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    C'mon Macon... thats a rookie move. When I tie up a new rig, I leave it on until I get on the water and set it to the depth I want it at. This way if the water is up high I can set it deeper - and I didnt already tighten it down un-necessarily and then have to move it. The knots on those bobber stops arent that great and constantly sliding them and pulling the tags ends will loosen them up over time.
    Do you break it off to get it off the line after you set your stop at the right depth? I know what you mean on the knots, they can be a pain sometimes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickin bass View Post
    Do you break it off to get it off the line after you set your stop at the right depth? I know what you mean on the knots, they can be a pain sometimes.
    Aw hell no Macon. Don't let him fool ya. He thought the sleeve goes between the bobber and the knot .

    Crank That Jank!

  8. #8
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    Don't let him fool you Macon. I've seen him fish. Looks something like this.



    or this:

    Wishin' I was fishin'...
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  9. #9
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    Nothing surprises me with Bianca these days...

  10. #10
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    Oh... My.... Gosh....

    The black plastic sleeves have a slit in the side so you can add them, set it to the depth after its all rigged and the slit allows it to come right off the line. Have you folks ever used bobbers before?!?!? These are the Eagle Claw ones.

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