Practical experience has the highest learning effect

 Carp&Cat Expo, the meeting place for the cold season in Germany.
The Carp+Cat Expo, the scene meeting place for the cold season in Germany.

The fairs are always special events for me and my friends. For example the Carp & Cat Expo 2019 in Hannover. New contacts were made, business relations intensified and old friends talked about their adventures of the past sessions. As always, the exchange of experiences is in the foreground and so we philosophized about montages, lures, equipment and tactics.

Traditionally, as every year, Benjamin Angrabeit (Benny) and Michel Sietz (Michi) also visited us at the Black Cat stand. They received some tips from me last year and now wanted to tell us about their experiences. Unfortunately, their success was limited and doubts about the mounting in combination with alternative baits were raised.

After we had talked about the rigs and the right presentation, we spontaneously agreed on a workshop at the Elbe for the coming year. I wanted to show the guys right at the waterfront what is important and what steps to take. Here you can find out more about this two-day Waller workshop on the Elbe. With gripping memories, insights gained and enough "fuel on board" to talk about our time together on the water.

An extensive Black Cat stand is always present at the Carp & Cat Expo.

"Once a hot spot is located, two fishing techniques are used to catch it.

Michael Koch, Team Black Cat

It started - mid May 2020: Benny and Michi visited me at home on the Elbe. All in all they had a time window of four nights at their disposal. The conditions were good, 15° Celsius water temperature, a slight rise of about one meter - that was the forecast. Due to my professional obligations Benny and Michi fished the first two nights alone. Here I could only help with the assembly and the spot selection.

In the early morning of May 13th I sent via WhatsApp the coordinates of a meeting point where I picked up the two in the evening. After a short welcome, there was a crash course on assembly, tactics and spots. The main topics were chalk line, U-pose mounting with double triplet and redirection. After all ambiguities were cleared and the montages were built, we went on board to put the gained knowledge into practice. They quickly noticed that there were extreme differences between us, both in the layout and the diversion. After all rods were in my opinion at the supposed best spots, we talked for a while. I then said goodbye and wished them good luck for the coming night.

The rods are sharp - let's see what the first night brings.
The rods are sharp - let's see what the first night brings.

Early in the morning the first proof photo was ready! During the workshop Michi had caught the first Waller. Not the biggest, but as the saying goes: "better a little one than none". Unfortunately this was the only one of the first two days for the two friends.

First workshop waller landed.
First workshop waller landed.
At, you will get all information about the current water level and its tendency of the next days on different sections.
At all information about the current water level and tendency of the next days on different sections is displayed.

15 May 2020: At home, packing my device, I was lost in thought. What was the forecast for the rising water level and how did it influence our choice of spot? The thought fluctuated between "straight track" or rather "stage"? In a phase when the water is rising, it is always difficult to estimate how much water could come in contact with the flotsam. Meanwhile, there are many apps that predict an approximate rise, but the reality on the Elbe is usually different. Especially as there is no information about existing flotsam. Flooding on the Elbe - a case in itself. Mostly there are only small water rises of 0.5 meters to one meter, which can sometimes carry a lot, or even little dirt. In addition, there are very few or no flood areas along the entire Elbe.

However, if you have a flooded area with you on the fishing route, it may be closed or the slight rise may not be enough to fish here effectively. Therefore, the only choice is usually between a revetment or a groyne. In our case there was relatively little flotsam and so I decided to play poker and try a revetment for the first night together.

The boat is loaded, off to the adventure workshop!
The boat is loaded, off to the adventure workshop!

My boat was now loaded and off we went into the Waller adventure. The first hurdle: On the way to the fishing area my motor broke down! There was nothing more to do. After a short thought I stuck to our plan and we drifted to the site. We still had a working boat. Only motorized with 4 HP instead of 15 HP, but what should we do.

Quickly our camp was set up and the first two rods were already in promising places. But we still waited with the other four rods, because I wanted to use the evening hours with an active fishing method, namely tapping! Michi, who had tried to catch a catfish by tapping several times before, was directly on fire. A rod equipped with a Smelly Teaser and twelve Tau worms should be enough. We did not wait long and directly at the first spot the first knocking whale struck.

The plan seemed to work and gave hope for more in the coming days.

A nice Klopfwaller from the Elbe.
A nice Klopfwaller from the Elbe.

We set the now remaining four rods and let the evening end with some nice conversations at the barbecue. At the end of the twilight the first bite was already coming. Now it was the turn of Benny. Also he hit mercilessly: After a short drill he could land his first workshop-waller.

A beautiful Elbwaller on Tauwurm, unfortunately, this remained the only FIsch of the night.
A beautiful Elbwaller on Tauwurm, unfortunately, this remained the only FIsch of the night.

The next morning I drove back to the base station with Michi and my boat in tow. From there I went to my home to replace the defective 15 HP engine with a 6 HP engine. So we were indeed mobile again.

My boat in tow, up to the base station.
My boat in tow, up to the base station.

Back to the camp: I decided to move despite fish contact. In the past it often turned out that the second night at one and the same place is usually worse than the first. A change of place is indeed connected with a lot of stress and effort, but in the end it is often rewarded. So also in our case. By noon the change of the fishing spot was completed and I started, as planned, to use the daytime hours for active fishing. Although our range was somewhat limited due to the smaller motor, several spots that offered themselves and had brought fish in the past were finally in the immediate vicinity.

For us, the rule was: once a hot spot is located, it is fished with two fishing techniques:

  1. Hauling: Many will hardly believe it, but trolling for catfish with rubber fish is one of the top methods to actively catch catfish in the Elbe. It is important to present the bait very close to the ground. This depends on the depth of the water, the current and speed, the weight of the rubber fish and how far the lure is offered behind the boat. This sounds very complicated at first, but it is not.

An example: At a water depth of 1.50 to 3 meters I drag the 18 centimeter Cat Shad rubber fish on the 30 gram Cat Claw Rig about 20 meters behind the boat. I regulate the running depth solely by speed, which varies between 1 and 3.5 kilometres per hour depending on the current and water depth. If I have a lot or permanent basic contact, I increase the speed. If I have no basic contact, I slow down the speed until the rod tip jerks and then accelerate again slightly. This way I can always present my lure in the hottest zone, just above ground! However, if I get outside the speed range of 1 to 3.5 kilometres per hour, I have to adjust the lead. And that's it! At certain times this technique is incredibly catchy! A brute bite in the main stream, at this short distance, you can believe me - it's addictive!

The sonar in view and the rod firmly in your hand. The brutal bites come out of nowhere and demand a lot.
The sonar in view and the rod firmly in your hand. The brutal bites come out of nowhere and demand a lot.

In CHIRP mode, you can locate the edges and move directly along them (right screen).
In CHIRP mode, you can locate the edges and move directly along them (right screen).



About my towing device: rod Black Cat Spin Stick 2.15 meters, with soft tip for the intake phase and powerful blank for the hitch. Reel: Battle Cat Spin 760, high line holder, stable axle, low weight. Line: S-Line 0,35 millimetre, 8-plait round braid, Jig-Hook: Cat Claw Rig 30 gram, rubber fish is screwed on, very sharp hook, super hook effect, Lure: 18 centimetre Cat Shad in the colour Red Head.

With this method we towed the first interesting area with two rods. After we had passed it about 100 meters, we changed to tapping and let ourselves drift back. Only the paddle helped us here to regulate the drift and manoeuvre the boat almost silently over the deeper areas. I have been using this tactic very effectively for some time now. If I were to knock first, experienced fish would almost certainly be warned at the first drift.

  1. Tapping: Tapping is also a very effective method to seduce catfish in the Elbe. Now some catfish anglers will say that this river with its average depth of about two meters is much too shallow after all, but this is a misconception! It even worked so well on some days that we often ran out of worms. There are just a few things to keep in mind. The waller wood plays the main role. It should be a wood with which one can easily and fatigue-free knock soft tones. In my opinion, this is the key to catching the worm. Actually also logical. Because if the angler uses a wood that emits real pressure waves or one that only produces the desired plopping sound on two out of ten strokes, you will scare off the wallers rather than attract them. Also with this technique the lure should be offered very close to the ground. Teasers are best for this. As the lead is only a few centimetres away from the lure, the angler can react quickly to changing water depths. The advantage is that the lure stays much longer in the "hot spot". I have consciously experienced that the teaser catches much better when served quietly. With a Smelly Teaser, equipped with twelve rope worms, you are well advised. Optionally you can spray it with attractant, which is absorbed by the built-in leather threads and slowly released again under water. This creates a nice lure that the catfish can easily follow.

My knocking combo: rod Battle Cat Inline, soft tip for the suction phase, powerful blank for the fight, no rings, line runs inside the rod, even if the line often wraps around the blank due to wind, for example, it simply slides down when contacting the fish and the angler can start the fight without complications. Reel: Battle Cat Vertical LH: small, light, handy. Line: S-Line 0.35 millimetre, 8-plait round braid. Leader: 60 centimetres of the 80 kilo Power Leader RS, increased protection against the brush teeth of the catfish. Bait: Smelly Teaser 120 grams in glow-in-the-dark, ideal for quick depth changes, leather threads release attractants over a longer period of time.

So we knocked and drifted towards an interesting area. Once there, it did not take long and a hard bite caught me on my inline skating rod. I acknowledged this with a strong bite and made contact with the fish. It spun very calmly until it suddenly shot upstream non-stop diagonally to the direction of flow. Heaven - Lord - sacrament - that's in good fish! Now I handed the rod over to Benny, who had his turn. A hard drill began. There was no holding possible, the fish took more and more line and was already about 50 meters away from the boat. I had to act fast, a buoy from the water shipping office threatened to cross our path. So I took care of the engine, started it and we headed for the fish. Suddenly the line slackened, the fish suddenly swam downstream. Benny couldn't pick up line quickly enough to reestablish contact. And so what had to happen: the fish slit out - he was gone! Totally frustrated we drove to the camp to process this event and to give the place some peace. It is damn annoying to lose a catfish that would have led to the successful climax of the workshop. But that is fishing. You must never throw in the towel, because success and failure will always be constant companions on our tours and make our hobby what it is.

With new motivation we started again in the late afternoon, this time Michi came along. Again we were dragging before we were knocking over a spot. So the time passed and we made distance. In the last drift, before we wanted to get the set fishing rods ready for the night, there was another bite. Michi drifted confidently and the next workshop-waller was on the plus side. It was noticeable that all the wallers we caught were real "camels" - really fat eaten. Obviously a sign of their activity in the past hours or days. The trigger was certainly the rising water.

The second Klopfwaller.

In our absence, Benny had independently started to convert his montages from single to triple hooks, as I had recommended to him on the first day. Now his doubts had vanished and he too had confidence in the worm assembly on the double triple hook. I have been fishing this assembly for a long time and have outwitted many really big predators with it. Rotation U-poses, in combination with two 3/0 triplets and 24 roundworms, are a guarantee for catfish in the Elbe. However, for over a year now I have also been using another U-pose in connection with Tauworms: The Tree U-Pose, which initially caused a stir and joyful laughter in the scene. Certainly their appearance, which could resemble a "toy" from the "quiet basement", is responsible for this. But on closer inspection the advantages are obvious. Under water, the Tree U-Pose breaks the current and emits small pressure waves in a conical shape. The catfish now takes these small, shortly successive pressure waves under water over its lateral line organ and follows them. Why? This question can only be speculated about here, but on closer inspection I could imagine that these pressure waves could resemble a fish swimming in the current and that the catfish here wants to make prey. The waves practically lure the catfish to the bait. So my theory! But it is a fact that in the past the rods that were equipped with the Tree U-Pose brought me more fish than other rods. For this reason I am absolutely convinced of it and used it more often at our Waller workshop.

Super catch: The 20g Tree U-Pose and two 3/0 drillions equipped with 24 Tauwurmers.
Rotational U-poses are always worth a try. Here the Silent U-Pose in 40g. It is important to use hard plastic beads, because only then the Rotational U-Pose turns correctly.

For the last night we positioned five bait fish rods, four with a 20 gram tree U-pose, two red and two yellow, plus one rod with a 40 gram Silent Rotation U-pose, all of which we equipped with 24 roundworms on the 3/0 double triplet system. In the twilight we were able to catch two catfish shortly after each other. Of course we reeled out the rods directly and hoped for the still young night, but unfortunately these remained the only two fish.

Michi with another Workshopwaller.
Benny went right after it. Now at the latest they had full confidence in the installations.

The next morning welcomed us with a beautiful sunrise, I enjoyed the atmosphere and reviewed the workshop. I was dreaming and suddenly I was torn out of my thoughts - bite! A brute entry with hard hits into one of the rods. I knew it, he will come! I started to jump into the boat, Benny went upstream to the pulley to release the main line from the carabiner. Now everything went very quickly. When I reached the diverter, Benny jumped in too and the drill began.

What a fish! That was definitely the crowning glory of the workshop.


The crowning glory captured for eternity.
Very distinctive: the right Bartel, a "T-Bartel".

Altogether we came in less than 48h on seven Waller.

This ends my "logbook" about an eventful Waller workshop, which in retrospect was a complete success. There were many fighting scenes, we had a lot of fun and Michi and Benny were able to take a lot with them in terms of bait, montages, methods and tactics. The theory at the booth or in an article is always one thing, to implement it directly on the water to 100 percent, the other thing. In the end, practical experience wins out. There is no substitute for it and in my opinion it has the highest learning effect.

If you have any questions about waller fishing or would like to experience a workshop of this kind with me, directly on the water, please contact me. Let's get to work! In this sense...

We wish you much fun and success on the water
Your Michael Koch, Team Black Cat
"Make it with Black Cat"

Waller-Workshop at the water

Bait, mounting, methods and tactics

Check the product catalogue

Find your Black Cat dealer