Bumping.  Bouncing.  Slipping.

The terminology can be argued, and the equipment can be debated but there is one thing we can all agree on… it’s one of the most addictive catfishing tactics you’ll ever use.

Bumping works so well because of its natural presentation, that in the sense that it mimics food coming downstream towards, eagerly waiting, bottom feeders. These, actively feeding, catfish lie facing upstream behind ledges, rocks, logs and any other current breaks they can find.

If you’ve reached a dead end on dead sticking and you’re ready to give bumping a try, its just a few easy steps between you and your new favorite style of fishing.


Face Upstream

This is where having a trolling motor is really going to pay off.  You’re going to want to face upstream while floating downstream.  Use your trolling motor to cut the current down by, at least, half.



Cast your rig out behind your vessel a little way.  Let your line out until you can feel your weight hit bottom.  You may have to let out a lot of line and you may not have to let much out at all, this all depends on where you’re fishing and the current strength.  Also, starting out with a heavier weight will almost always ensure that you know when you’re hitting bottom.


Walk Your Bait

It’s called bumping for a reason.  You’ll walk your bait out by simply feeling for your weight to hit bottom, and then lifting (bumping) your weight up and down off the floor, letting out line as you go.  Slow and small bumps are best because they’re the most natural looking.  Make sure that you’re making contact with the bottom and that you can feel that contact every time you drop your weight.  Continue doing this until you can either; no longer feel bottom (in that case you’ll reel in until you can feel your weight hitting once more), you hook the monster you’ve been anticipating, or your arm has passed the point of exhaustion.

This isn’t an easy way of fishing, but most find it more hands on therefore more fun and it can be very rewarding!  The first time I tried bumping I was at it for, what seemed like, forever.  I wasn’t even sure I was doing it right until the moment I hooked that pig!  Despite the hours I spent anticipating that hit, nothing could have prepared me for when it happened.  It took me by such surprise, my rod was almost ripped from my hand.  Reeling in that beautiful 40lbs of hard work was so gratifying.  It’s safe to say, from that moment on I was hooked.



A big part of the bumping process is to come prepared.  So let’s talk rigs and tips!  Here is what You’ll Need


Bumping Rod

You’re going to make your life a lot easier when

 you break down and get a rod that is designed for bumping.  These rods tend to be a better fit in your hand, and they are more lightweight.  This will greatly reduce the fatigue that comes with bumping. Luckily, there are some great options out there when it comes to bumping rods! Tangling with Catfish, Catch The Fever, and Rippin Lips all offer top of the line bumping rods that you can’t beat!


Bumping Reel

Bumping reels are smaller than casting reels and typically have a thumb trigger to lock the spool when you get bit.  Having a low profile, light reel is important when it comes to being comfortable having it in your hand for, what could very well be, hours.

Braided Main Line

This is another must have when it comes to bumping.  Braided line is simply more sensitive and will aid you in how much you can feel.  Since bumping is dependent on what you can feel, its obvious that the more sensitive line will be the better.



Leader Line

You never know what you’re going to run into when you’re making your way down any river so you’re going to want to use a leader line that will break easily if you find yourself hung up.  We like to call this a “breakaway leader” for that reason.  Personally, we prefer a 10-20lb test.

3 Way Swivels

3-way swivels help to coincide your main line and your break away line so that you can feel straight contact better with the weight.  The whole point of bumping is to imitate food that would normally come with the current… therefore, this assists so that the leader line is off to the side and floats more naturally with the current.

Cannon Ball Sinkers

Before leaving the ramp, you’re going to want to make sure that you have plenty of options available when it comes to sinkers.  There is a good chance you’re going to have to change sizes multiple times a day depending on the terrain and current.  As stated earlier, we recommend that you start with a heavier weight.  This way, you can get a feel for the bottom and you’ll be able to differentiate from a snag or if you’re going over a hump.

This all may seem like a lot of work and I will admit that on paper it sounds way more complicated than it actually is but it won’t take long for you to find your groove and when you feel that bite, it will all be worth it.  Good luck!