Catfishing on the Rhine is no gimmick and predator anglers get their money's worth. Especially for catfish fans, the river is an inexhaustible reservoir with a first-class stock of barbel carriers. Although catfish limit their predation somewhat in winter, largemouths are always lurking on the bottom in search of prey. However, it all depends on the right spot and the right conditions. A rising water level with pleasant warm days are the best conditions. However, the balance in winter often looks different: Once the high water reaches a critical level, fishing on the main stream is often no longer possible and the fish migrate to the adjacent oxbow lakes. These often have several connections to the main stream and harbour a great variety of forage fish. An offer that promises a big meal for the catfish and a promising foray for me on the urians.

With big rubber fish and twisters I move into the field to systematically fish the numerous oxbow lakes. When the water temperature is low, guiding the rubber lure is a key point: with a slow presentation, I lift my rod steeply upwards to get as much line out of the water as possible and maintain good lure contact.

"...the bigmouth is always lurking at the bottom for prey."

Peter Merkel, Team Black Cat

The current pressure on the line drives the rubber lure forward, making it bounce over the bottom in short bursts. It can happen that bites strike suddenly and brutally, literally ripping the rod out of the angler's hands. That's when the action really gets going. Now it's up to you: Keep your nerve! To ensure that fishing in the current with a light spinning rod doesn't end in nirvana, I first practise a passive drill technique that I have been using for several years between groyne fields. As soon as the "giant" bites and I realise that there is too much load on the spinning rod, I immediately take the pressure off. Most of the time the fish stays put. I can then gradually guide it out of the hard current into the calm waters of the oxbow lake with a light pull. And then "bang", close the reel brake and hope that the material will now hold.

Normal jig heads are not ideal here, as they would not survive the stresses of a catfish drill and would bend mercilessly. The single hook on the Black Cat Shad Claw Rig, on the other hand, is stable in the current and a real grabber in the fish's mouth. By means of a clamp system, the single claw hook can be anchored anywhere on the rubber bait and later finds an optimal fit in the catfish's mouth.

A rallying cry for any catfish, no matter how demanding, and for all wild catfish anglers.

Stay Wild!


Peter Merkel

Tight Lines!

Some pictures of adventures on the water:

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