Santee Cooper Rig For Catfish

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The Santee rig or Santee Cooper rig is one of my all-time favorites, and I use it anytime I hit the water for catfish fishing. Typically I will have some lines out on a Santee rig and others on a regular slip sinker rig to mix up my presentation.

This comprehensive article will explain why this rig, also known as the Cooper Rig or simply the Santee Rig, is the go-to catfishing rig for many experienced anglers, including myself.

Why Use the Santee Cooper Rig For Catfish

Named after the Santee Cooper lakes, Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie in South Carolina, the Santee Cooper rig has become super popular nationwide and is considered a catfishing essential. Its effectiveness paired with its ability to adapt to different conditions and baits makes it one of the most popular catfish rigs available.

Components Needed For the santee rig

The Santee Cooper Rig is a variation of the regular slip sinker rig, but with some modifications. The slip sinker rig is also known as the Carolina Rig when you’re set up and fishing for bass with a smaller weight, different hook, and lighter line.

The parts include a peg float, a circle hook, a bead, and an egg sinker, all connected with a barrel swivel. The peg float is the most important part of this rig, as it keeps the bait off the bottom, which makes it more appealing to catfish. Not only that, but it prevents your bait from getting snagged, especially if you’re drift fishing for catfish.

The egg weight or preferred sinker keeps the rig on the bottom while still allowing some movement.

Setting Up the santee rig for Optimal Results

Setting up the Santee Cooper Rig: Thread the weight onto the mainline, followed by the bead.

Next, connect the barrel swivel to your main line so that your bead and weight is now secured from falling off.

Next, take a piece of 12 inch fishing line and tie this to the other end of the swivel.

Tie your circle hook to the leader after adding your float. Position the float about two inches above the hook and insert the plug at the top.

This setup is great in handling aggressive strikes from catfish because of the angle they hit the bait.

Step By Step Images: how to tie the santee cooper rig

Step one of the Santee Cooper Catfish rig
Step one: Gather your supplies.
Step 2: add your weight and bead
Step 2: Add your weight, bead, and swivel to the main line.
step 3
Step 3: Tie your cut piece of fishing line to the other side of the swivel.
step 4
Step 4: Add your float with the plug and tie your hook.
last step, how to use peg floats, finished catfishing rig
All done!

Why the Santee Cooper Catfish Rig Stands Out

Among other catfish rigs, this rig is known for being extremely versatile. It’s effective for fishing in both stagnant and moving water, which makes it a great choice for fishing in different bodies of water. The rig’s ability to lift bait off the bottom using a float differentiates it from other catfish rigs that simply lay on the bottom with no presentation.

Santee Cooper Rig For Catfish Bank Fishing

For bank fishing for catfish, the Santee Rig has a significant advantage. Because of the added weight and position of the weight, it allows long-distance casts without messing up the rig or the bait.

This rig is great for targeting all species of catfish; channels, blues, or flatheads.

Best Catfish Bait

Choosing the right bait is important when you’re fishing with the Santee rig. Depending on the catfish species, most people prefer live bait, cut bait, or stink baits. Personally, I prefer a regular slip rig if I’m using live bait.

Experimentation is key to finding the most effective bait, so try some different things.

Leader Length Adaptation in Catfish Rigs

The leader length is also an important aspect of the Santee rig. Adjust the length based on the catfish’s depth and behavior. Longer leaders may be more effective for fishing deeper waters or when catfish are suspended.

Importance of Float Size

The choice of peg float size affects how high the bait is suspended from the bottom. Larger floats can lift heavier baits so they are better for targeting bigger catfish. The type of float also plays a role in visibility and attractiveness to the catfish. If your float is not large enough for your bait, it will ruin the rigs presentation completely.


In summary, the Santee Cooper rig is a great rig for all levels of catfish anglers. Its simplicity, effectiveness, and versatility make it a great choice for those wanting a good catfish rig. Catfish anglers should utilize this rig in addition to other rigs to maximize their chance of catching catfish.