You don't need to speed alot of cash to start chasing Mr. Whiskers! If you are switching from fishing for other types of fish (bass, carp, etc), then you are probably already setup with what you need to get started. If you were primarily into panfishing (bluegill,crappie,etc) and used ultra-light tackle, you will most likely need to upgrade your tackle some. Keep in mind; Old timers were using willow branches they would cut out of the nearest tree and use any kind of cord, string, or rope they could get their hands on that they thought they could use. The main thing to remember, Just have fun, Relax, Enjoy getting out, and if you catch fish your way ahead of the game This is by far a NOT a complete list of tackle, rigs, or baits you can use. These are the most commonly used and most recommended by the members here on BOC from what I have seen. There is a ton of really good information in the BOC Library . If you have not visited it yet, you are truly missing out on some great information that could help put you onto bigger fish. Reels: Abu Garcia and Penn's are by far the most BOC recommended reels for every species of catfish. For Channels, Abu Garcia 5000 and 5500's seems to be the order or smaller Penn Models. You could also get by with a Zebco 33, or Small-Medium Spinning reel.. For Large Blues and Flatheads: Abu Garcia 6500 or 7000 or a Large Penn such as a 209 or larger. Large Spinning Reel will also work. I hear some are having success with the Tidewater series from Shakespeare for a cheaper route. Rods: The Ugly Stick and Ugly Stick Tiger is by far the most recommended rod I see here on the BOC. Most that use them love them. They are tough, can handle even the largest of fish and can be picked up for a fair price from large dept stores or a sponsor here: www.catfishconnection.com . Rigs: Rigging for catfish usually consists of some type of slip rig. The weight is thread onto the mainline, a bead, a swivel, then a leader with the hook. The BOC Library has a lot of good information on rigging and pretty much everything else. I would suggest checking out This Thread in the Library for Basic Catfish rigs. Tackle: Hooks in various sizes for different size of baits. The circle and the kahle seem to be the two most used by BOC members. The main thing to remember is match the size of hook to the size of bait you are using. You dont want too small a hook when trying to use large bait. Swivels are your standard barrel swivel. A #5 or bigger should be plenty. I would stay away from the snap swivel for large flatheads/blues. Many fish that got away stories have been told from the snap failing in the middle of the fight. Weights/Sinkers: No-Rolls, Bell, Bank, No-Snag and more. It is enough to make the new anglers head spin. There are many different types of sinkers because there are many different ways to fish. The main thing to keep in mind when selecting sinkers is try to match the size and style with the type of water and size of bait you are fishing. So be sure to have an assortment of sizes. A heavy river current with a large live bait will require a bigger sinker than fishing cut bait in your local pond. Experience and your first couple of casts into your fishing spot will dictate what you should be using. Line: Berkley Big Game/Big Cat (color solar green) is very popular and highly recommended with the BOC members for a Mono. 20# -40# appear to be the most talked about strength used. Very popular for nite fishing, as its quite easy to see with blacklight. Most of the more popular super braids in 40-80# tests are also used. Use a mono line to start the spool on a baitcaster, or the super braid will slip on the spool. Bait: For Channel Cats, its hard to beat a good Stink/Punch bait. Sonnys, Junnies Super Sticky, and Danny Kings Punch bait are reported to be producing nice numbers of channel cats consistently.. Worms, Crickets, catalpa worms, Chicken Livers and a huge selection of home concoctions are used. While you may occasionally catch a large cat using dip baits, you will mostly catch channel cats 10# or under BIG Channels and Blues: Cut bait is the name of the Game for these large fish. Cut Shad, Skipjack, and creek chubs are most widely used with success. You will consistently catch bigger catfish with large chunks of cut bait or live bait. Flatheads: Flatheads prefer LIVE bait. Shad, Skipjack, Creek chubs, Bluegill, GoogleEye, Goldfish etc are feature baits on this menu. Whatever bait fish that is local to the water your fishing is the most recommended. While you can catch flatheads on stinkbait, livers, cutbait, and even odd stuff like chewing gum, you will have far better success catching them using live baits. Getting live baits or fish for cutbait, use a cast net. You will see Shad flipping the top of water. You can usually find them near Damns, bridges and coves. They show up as a cloud on a fish finder. Bluegill, Googleye, etc. are easily obtained using a tiny hook with a small piece of worm fished next to rip rap or log pile/blow downs.