Using a Knocker Rig for Catfish

I am always experimenting and trying new things. If I think something can possibly give me an edge or help me catch more fish, I don't hesitate to try it. The kayak is a great platform to test out new ideas. Because your rods are so close together, it is very easy to determine if fish show a preference toward one thing or another. Through the years, I have tested various baits against each other and I even once spent a month with half my rods baited with frozen skipjack that had been wrapped in aluminum foil and half baited with skipjack that had been vacuum sealed just to see if it made a difference. (It didn't.) Last year, I spent the summer with rattles on half of my rods and half without. It's not that I don't necessarily trust the word of other fishermen, its just that I like to prove things for myself.

My latest experiment has involved testing out a new rig for suspend fishing. For the last few weeks, I have been using the knocker rig. The knocker rig is a bottom fishing rig that is very popular among saltwater fishermen who target species like grouper and snapper. While I have no doubt it would work well while anchor fishing for catfish, when I saw it, I immediately thought about the benefits it would have over the traditional carolina rig for suspend fishing.

The main difference between the knocker rig and the carolina rig is the placement of the sinker. With the carolina rig, the sinker is above the leader. On the knocker rig, the sinker is actually on the leader and sits directly above the hook. For suspend fishing, I think having the sinker sitting directly above your hook has some advantages.

First off, it helps offset the pendulum effect that happens when you dealing with a wind that is causing your kayak/boat to move faster or slower than the current. When this occurs, it causes your bait to rise up in the water column and makes it very difficult to control your depth. Historically, I have combatted this by using a heavier sinker on my carolina rig. Even though the sinker would immediately return back down to the depth I had it set at, there would be a lag time as the bait made its way back down. With the knocker rig, since your sinker is directly above your hook, they both return to the correct depth at the same time.

I believe the knocker rig will also help with getting your baits unhung when you get them snagged. When you get hung with a carolina rig, your sinker is hitting all around your hook as you pop your rod up and down. With the knocker rig, your sinker is hitting your hook every time you raise and lower your rod which should help knock it loose from whatever it is hung in.

My only concern when I started using this rig was that the sinker may interfere with getting a good hookup since it is right above the hook. Over the last few weeks, those fears have proven to be unfounded. I haven't had any issues with hookups and have caught several great fish while using it which I have posted below. Overall, I am very impressed with this rig and plan on using it in place of the carolina rig for suspend fishing going forward.

Here is a video I made where you can get a better look at the rig:

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