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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-19-2008 02:17 PM
kyleh It all depends on the size of catfish you're targeting. I personally like using the circle hook at Braidwood (size 3) and if I'm fishing the IL I use a (5). At Braidwood I'll take Chicken Liver to go along with all of the shad. On K3 I'll use 3-5 depending the current and it's the same with the Fox. I buy #1 circle hooks to catch bait (3-5" blue gill and Bullheads) near my house. Occasionally the blue gill will swallow the hook.

I quit using treble hooks a few years back and if I'm wading K3 use a Barbed #4 with chicken liver.
02-19-2008 10:18 AM
McChou Thanks FishinMatt - Maybe I've just let other gamefish take the bait too long w/circles... (I don't do a whole lot of bait fishing for anything other than cats so mabye my 'sample size' for other fish just isn't great enough to see good results.

With cats, I've REALLY let them eat the bait, and the circles still produce the desired results (ie- right in the corner). I can't recall any gut hooked cats.

back to the topic of the thread (sorry for slightly hi-jacking) -

depending on the size of the cat, like others, thumb and index finger under the pectoral fins and palm against the belly (head pointed up) and middle finger behind the dorsal - that should keep your hands in control of all of those spines! I ALWAYS have a good pair of needlenose with me especially for cats - just b/c their skin is a bit rubbery and barbs stick very well in them.
02-18-2008 07:21 PM
basstrack238 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.
02-18-2008 11:01 AM
big saw 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.
02-18-2008 10:36 AM
FishinMatt 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
02-18-2008 09:30 AM
McChou 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.
02-16-2008 01:22 PM
WaterGuy 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.
02-16-2008 01:09 PM
aekhoff Long needle nose and give it a shake or 17
02-16-2008 09:48 AM
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.
02-16-2008 07:06 AM
basspike 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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