Can't stop missin' channel cats. - Chicago Illinois Fishing Forum, Information & Reports
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can't stop missin' channel cats.

I been fishin' the kank a lot for channel, and last wednesday I hooked about a 10lb channel and missed him. I know it was a channel because I saw it come to the surface. When he dove for the bottom the hook came out. I let 'im take it for about 15 seconds and I'm using a whole chicken liver with a #1 gamakatsu octopus J hook with an egg loop knot. What am I doin' wrong?? I'm really pissed I lost this fish. Thanks- Perchey.

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Old 08-23-2015, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Try a treble hook or a circle hook.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll give that a shot and let you know if it works.
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Try using a 3/0 circle hook with that liver setup. You want to can keep the point exposed and not buried in the livers. Keep a bit of tension on the line. When the fish bites, drop the tip of the rod to parallel with the water then raise it up and just start reeling it in. The hook will set itself.

Cat's don't care if the hook point is exposed. Remember they eat pinching crayfish all the time.
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree I believe your #1 gamakatsu octopus J hook is to small. I use 4/0 circle hooks for cats and love them. I don't use liver I usually use fresh cut shad but I would suggest increasing the size of your hook.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Treble hooks are great for lures. I won't fish them on a line where there is a chance the fish will get gut hooked or just plain hooked too deep. I catch and release a lot more than I keep. A good circle hook gives the fish a better chance to survive the whole experience. Plus your hook-up percentage is a lot better with the circle or single hooks.

Even when I fish dip baits I replace all those bait holder treble hooks with circle hooks, J-hooks, or Tru-Turn hooks in at least a 3/0 size. When fishing with cut bait for channel cats I use from a 3/0 to 5/0 hook size and keep the point exposed. Larger fish need even bigger hooks and bigger bait fish.

Truth is, I have not fished a treble hook rig for cats since 1992. That was the last time I fished livers also. I missed three very good sized cats in one 3 hour period. Caught only 2 small cats that swallowed the treble hooks and were bleeding really bad. I felt stupid because I missed 3 better fish. I was also burying the points in the livers. I had a talk with Dave of Dave's Bait and Tackle here in town and he told me to get rid of the treble hooks and just use single hooks. So, I have been "treble free" for a long time.

I hope this helps. Here's hoping for better hook-ups in the future.

Edited because I can't type, spell or read.
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Old 09-01-2015, 04:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have 2/0 octopus J hooks are they too small?
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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"They" say not to set the hook on a circle hook, but once I am certain the fish is hooked I like to sink it in with a solid Hookset just in case the fish rolls close to shore and to make sure the hook digs in good. Not sure about a loop knot either; it might impede the circle hook(or j/kahle style hook)from catching the corner of the fishes mouth like it's supposed too. Also maybe try a traditional clinch or fisherman's knot. I use 1 Ott true turns and they do well for smaller and larger fish. But even on a good day a cat will throw the hook occasionally. Stinks when a bigun does it .
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd like to try the Indiana side of Lake Michigan for channels. I heard they get huge there. Any advice on where to go??
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I rarely use circle hooks, but would agree with those saying a #1 hook is small for channel cats. If you're rigging small dip worms for channel cats, you could get by with #1. I still prefer 1/0 or larger...

I fish live baits like suckers and sunfish for flathead and it's not unusual for a channel cat to whack one of those baits and it doesn't matter that the hooks I'm using are 7/0-8/0. You can still hook a 4 pound channel on a good sized hook like 4/0-5/0 no problem.

One thing I started doing, I was having trouble with the hookset timing... even though I don't actually fish circle hooks I keep the rod in the holder with the reel engaged and let the fish start to load up the rod. If you're using a wide-gap hook like an octopus or Kahle hook, the fish will often hook themselves when there's an aggressive pick-up. I'll usually "burn the reel" a bit in the holder to make sure I have the fish solid with the hook point buried. If you get a light or tentative bite, or very tight to cover, you still have the option for a sweep hookset.
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