Although they caught catfish in about equal numbers, the two men had different philosophies when it came to choice of rods and reels. 

Rudy wouldn’t be caught dead with anything but baitcasters, explaining that they better handle the braided line he likes. 

He prefers braided line because it floats. “There’s a lot of structure in the lake; fallen trees that lines can hang up on, especially on the rod that’s laying on the deck. And if I do hang up, braided line is stronger — strong enough to just straighten the hook sometimes rather than lose a rig.

“I can just straighten the hook with pliers. It saves time. And there is no stretch. When you set the hook, it’s set. 

“Also, the line is stronger for the occasional 15- to 20-pound blue cat we hook.”

He likes 25- to 45-pound PowerPro lines.

Dad Larry is more laid back. He fished with one baitcaster and one spinning rig. He admitted that baitcasters handle big fish better, but also likes how his spinning reel can cast light weights longer distances.

His choice of lines is 12- to 15-pound Trilene Big Game monofilament.

On the subject of hooks, Rudy is again more particular, only using 2/0 Mustad hooks — essentially trotline hooks with big eyes. Larry is not so discriminating, but does prefer long-shank hooks because he finds the fish easier to unhook. 

The men agreed on choice of corks, though. Both want weighted, elongated, clip-on foam corks in bright colors. Bright colors make it easier to see the corks, and weighted corks sit upright in the water, giving better indicators of strikes.

“The weight also helps you cast further,” said Larry. “Wind can be a big factor in the spring,” agreed Rudy.

Neither placed any additional weights on their lines. 

They like clip-ons because they are easy to adjust. Their goal is to set their corks to fish their baits 2 to 2 ½ feet deep, near the bottom — but not on the bottom.