Catfish Basics March 2021 Techniques

Catfish Basics #107

Keep it Simple for Channels with Bill Ladlee

Keep it simple and use the right tackle when targeting channel cats. There is no need to make it complicated. No concoctions of ingredients all mashed into a ball. No chicken livers or hotdogs soaked in Kool-Aid.

I start my terminal rig by sliding a 3-ounce no roll sinker up my 35-pound test braided main line. I follow that with a bead and then attach a barrel swivel. The bead will protect the knot at the swivel. Next, I add a 12-inch piece of 60-pound leader line with an 8/0 circle hook snelled to the end.

For bait, I use 3 Canadian nightcrawlers. That’s right, 3 nightcrawlers! I cast the bait, take out the slack, and tight line while I wait for the bite. For me that is the most effective way to catch channel catfish.

Editor’s Note: Bill Ladlee is the creator and tournament director for the Lake Erie Catfish Challenge Tournament Series. The series will launch its first tournament on Sandusky Bay, May 15, 2021. The Challenge is an ACA Tournament Alliance Member. Participating ACA anglers can earn credit in the ACA points race. For more information contact Ladlee at 419-602-4292 or visit the website at

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