Easiest way to take catfish off the hook - Chicago Illinois Fishing Forum, Information & Reports
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Easiest way to take catfish off the hook

What is the easiest way to take it off the hook and how?
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If its a flathead you can grab it by the lower jaw, if its a smaller channel or a bullhead I wrap my hand on top of their backs and make sure the dorsal fin is between my index and middle fingers. Then with either fish you work the hook out like you would with any other fish. Sometimes you have to bust out the needle nose, but other than that...
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Old 02-16-2008, 07:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I usually grab them by the belly, and put my thumb and ring finger under the fins, middle and index over the fins, and just pull the hook out. Sadly I've never caught a big catfish to tell you how I could go about that.
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sheesh!

The big boys will clamp down on that thumb and nothing short of jaw spreader will open that maw.........

The little fellas will give you a nasty poke with those pointed pectoral fins unless you have sure fingered grip behind the pectoral fin on the gill plates.

too many of them swallow the rig so cutting the leader is my first choice followed with using a very large pair of curved jaw hemostats for wedging the mouth open and letting me get hold of the shank on my trebles.

Catfish don't like giving up a meal even out of the water.
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Long needle nose and give it a shake or 17
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If they are small enough I've found the best way is to hook your thumb and forefinger around their belly underneath the pectoral fins....you'll want to have some hemostats or needle nose pliers cause catfish seem to have real tough skin.

you can grab flatheads by the lower lip, just make sure you have it pretty well played out. If not they will thrash like mad and that little strip of sandpaper will tear your hand up pretty good.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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all of the above are good answers... but I'd like to add:

use circle hooks - then 99% of the time you just need to pop the hook out of the corner of the mouth ...

Catfish are the only game fish that I feel comforatble using circle hooks on... I suspect it has something to do with how their mouths are shaped, but 99% of the time, cats are hooked right in the corner of the mouth with circles.

Unfortunately, I cannot report the same results when using cirlces with other game fish...

Anybody have any similar experiences? I wonder if it's just me or if this is happening with other anglers.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Circles work great for everything, but there is a misconception that fish will not swallow them. If you are live bait fishing with them and give the fish too long, they will get swallowed the same as a standard J-Hook. Personally I like to use them for all species for live bait fishing as well as wacky rigging senko type baits.

For catfish handling I prefer getting the dorsal spine on a channel cat b/w my middle and pointer finger. If the cat is small enough I will brace my thumb behind one of the pectorals to control the fish. For bigger channels or flatheads, Lindy Gloves are very beneficial to avoid any cuts or scrapes. Sometimes I fish the river by canoe, and have found that Boja grips invaluable for bigger fish as well. Just make sure you have the safety cord looped around your hand or you may be apted to lose your fish as well as your equipment
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I use small treble hooks and let the fish run for a couple minutes thereby allowing the bait and hook to settle in the lower end of the stomach ! After reeling , netting, and getting the fish in the boat, I smash his head in with a billy club to paralize him. I then perform an autopsy to get my hook out, and I also can see what he's been feeding on that day.

RELAX ! Just a little monday morning humor. Actually I've been using barbless hooks more and more. Makes cpr a LOT easier.
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Old 02-18-2008, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree on the circle hooks. I dont like to damage the fish more than needed. The hook usually ends up inthe corner of mouth and pops free pretty easy. The key with circle hooks is steady tension on the line, and a forgiving rod and the fish will hook itself. Kinda like a limbline or a trot line, same principle.
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