Many years ago there was an article in one of the monthy outdoor sports rags about a fella that fished below a couple of TVA dams for huge catfish. He fished out of a boat and used like 5# sinkers and large hunks of 'aged' meat for bait. His rod of choice was a large casting type reel attached to a rod that was about a foot long with only a tiptop attached. He basicly did just reel in his catch with only the reel. The rod was only a convienent means of holding the reel. He fished out of a small johnboat and some of the cats he caught he had to just lash onto the side of the boat because they would not fit in his boat. He used the rod stub because it was more effecient than a longer rod.