The Kentucky rig is and has been a very common and effective fish catching rig among crappie anglers for years, and if you talk to anglers that target many other species of fish you will find that Kentucky rig has been around for a long time. In recent years it has gained popularity among the bass anglers which has dubbed the rig as a drop shot rig.
This is a great method of fishing but it is not commonly talked about in catfishing industry. Kentucky rigging is more commonly used where structure is present. Unlike the Carolina rig which is probably the best all around rig for most situations, the Kentucky rig has some specific applications that can make this a very effective way to setup when targeting catfish around structure, the Kentucky rig is also effective when bottom bouncing the weight on the flats for blue catfish in open water.
Why use the Kentucky rig in heavy cover?
The dynamics of the rigs usefulness is that the weight is on the bottom, when fishing amongst heavy cover, if you get hung up or snagged, just potion you boat above the snag and lift the rig up then let the weight drop down briskly a few times and allow the weight of the sinker do the work to free the rig from the snag. If done properly the weight of the sinker will be enough to dislodge or knock the hook free. Keep in mind though, you do not want to jerk and pull the hook hard when you first get snagged to try and free it, this will only embed to hook deeper into the wood and make it tougher for the weight of the sinker to break it free.
been my experience that attaching the hook to a dropper loop knot works best, this allows the hook/bait to be taken deeper into the catfish’s mouth insuring a better hook up ratio. I have tried it by tying the hook directly to the line but feel as if I’ve lost more fish than I’ve caught, my thinking is, because the weight is on the bottom pulling the mainline taught at all times, the catfish can feel a taught mainline above and below the hook as they are trying to take it, creating sort of a restriction/barrier, not allowing the hook to be taken freely and as the fish feels it, they will back off of the bait and move on.
When to Use
The Kentucky rig/drop shot rig is an excellent choice when fishing heavy cover and the fish are holding right on or in that cover and you need to get right on top of them. This rig will work for blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish; you just need to be sure to tailor your hook size and baits accordingly for the type of catfish you are targeting.
Flathead and channel catfish often hang out, in and around structure such as brush piles, log jams and other structure oriented areas that hold crappie, blue gills and other bait fish. So this rig is great for probing deep into the structure where the catfish reside for the ambush.
30-40lb. mono leader line
2-5 oz. bank sinker
#5-#9 circle hook
Keep in mind though, this rig is not recommend this for all catfishing situations but when fishing in or around cover or open water bottom bouncing, you will find this to be a very effective setup, reducing snags and losing tackle.
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