i fish the Delaware river and it is much more suited for smallmouth then catfish. shallow and rocky! my problem is when i fish from the bank i always seem to get stuck. Ive tried a few different rigs with out much luck. the channels are on the small side so i use smaller poles and not much weight so i can feel the bites but the bait always seems to be moved down under rocks. i also need to cast almost out 90 degrees to get into some deeper water. any tips would be great.
I've had the same problem here in Iowa. The best solution I've found
is to stop using 'egg-style' sinkers. 'Bell sinkers' seem to escape the
rock problem better than others I've tried (even "snagless" flat sinkers).
I tie the sinker above the snap and bead...then add a 12"-18" leader
with hook to the snap...with a test of 25% less than the reel line.
I sometimes break a leader, but lose 90% less snaps and sinkers
than when using egg sinkers.
I fish in similar situations (lots of rocks) and the best I have been able to manage is just accept that the weight is going to get hung up. I tie the weight below the hook so that when the weight does get hung up the bait is still up and about. Sometimes I will get lucky and a fish will bite and take the bait in a direction that will free the weight, sometimes I loose the weight. Usually end up with some bites though. If I used 8 oz or more I might avoid the hang up problem, but with 4 and 5 oz weights I can usually get them out or a fish does it for me. I did find that the "no-roll" sinkers work a little better. They are flatter and while they will still get hung up, a some pressure will pull them through in between the rocks where the regular sinkers won't go.
I've never tried this, but you could make a break-away sinker rig, by tying two leaders to your swivel and on the end of one have your sinker, then on the other, your hook and bait. Or, if there isn't much current, maybe you could use a cork and float above the rocks. Hope this helps.
i find that 3-way rigs with "bank" sinkers works best for rocky areas. when using a 3-way your pulling the sinker straight up when retreiving rather than digging the sinker in the rocks when using a "slip rig" set-up. i used to fish a spot where i sat on slabs of concrete that were dumped in to stop erosion and the 3-way rig worked best, also a rig with a 2oz rubbercore sinker attached a foot above a hook worked well too. i would cast right along the concrete and after that rubbercore set-up hit bottom i made sure i didnt move it at all. when you attempt to move it is when you get stuck. if and when a fish takes your bait it should dislodge the sinker if it happens to fall into a small crevice.
I agree with the statement that if your not getting snagged, your usually not catching fish. I fish several shallow, rocky streams here and I just be sure to have plenty of hooks and sinkers before I go out. One thing that does help though is keeping your rod tip elevated, it angles your hook and sinker up some and keeps it from dragging along the bottom and getting snagged on rocks.
I also agree that if your not getting hung your probably not catching fish. Since I started boat fishing I have exchanged the rocks for stumps and trees but still get hung often. Occasionally I will still get the big poles out and bank fish. When rock fishing in current or no current I will use 5 oz. wire sinkers. Tie your sinker on the bottom and spread the wires out in the shape of a trebble hook this will hang you up in the rocks. About 15 inches above your sinker tie a drop loop if you want to run two hooks tie another drop loop above the first one. This will keep your bait(s) suspended off the bottom out of the rocks. When a fish hits it will usually jerk your sinker loose by straitening out the wires the wires are made of a soft medal so they will bend easy I make my own by stripping #12 copper wire but you should be able to buy these. If you dont get a bite you will need to use about 40 lb. test line on your reels so it will be stout enough to jerk the sinker free from the rocks you will still lose some lead but this will work most of the time.
The only other option that Ive used is using a slip cork adjusted to keep your bait suspended just off the bottom this method has also produced alot of fish.
Hope that helps.
thanks for tips guys, i also agree with if i wasnt getting stuck i wouldnt be fishing in the right place and thats why i continue to fish there. its just hard to upgrade to larger weights or lines when im catching mostly small channels anyways but ill try the 3 way rig and a few others now i just gotta get out on the river!