Top Gear for Scoring Winter Blue Cats

Three essential items for your cold-weather quest

catfish reel
[1] Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 700 C3 Eberwien favors this reel not only because it's a smooth caster but because it holds loads of 50-pound mono—a big plus when an 80-pounder eats. $170; abugarcia.comAbu Garcia
catfish rod
[2] Ugly Stik Tiger Big cats require a stout rod. The 7-foot, medium-heavy Tiger is practically unbreakable, Eberwien says, but maintains good bite ­sensitivity. $70; uglystik.comUgly Stik
catfish sinker
[3] Modified Bank Sinker You can buy special flat cat sinkers, but Eberwien says a bank sinker smashed with a sledgehammer works just as well for less money. $5–$7 per pack; basspro.comBass Pro