How To Tell If Your Hooks Are Sharp Enough To Catch Catfish

Is there a way to determine whether or not my Catfish hooks are sharp enough?

Here is one way to see if your hooks are sharp enough – run the hook along your fingernail.  If it leaves a little scratch, that means it’s good and sharp.  If it just goes along the nail and leaves no mark whatsoever, you need to sharpen it.

Now, it’s important to drag that hook across your nail lightly.  Don’t go poking yourself.  You should drag it with the point of the hook facing forward (the direction you’re dragging it).  Tilt it at about a 45 degree angle.  You won’t need to drag it along very long before you’ll know.  Basically, if it slides at all, you should sharpen it.  If it gets stuck, or you have to really push it along, you’re all set and good to go.

You can sharpen your hooks with any kind of flat file, and they also make hook sharpeners for just this purpose.

This should be done periodically whether you’re catching lots of fish or not.  Your hooks will dull over time.  Every time they scrape against the rocks at the bottom of the lake, they get a little duller.  They have to be sharp as a needle in order to dig into a cat’s smooth slippery flesh.  Catfish mouths are tougher than other kinds, such as bass.  Your hook has to always be extra-sharp or it will slip on by.

You should also sharpen hooks that you buy new, right out of the package.  There are specialized extra-sharp hooks made with Japanese steel that are supposed to be good for catching cats, but you should still sharpen even those.  Sharpening your hooks and keeping them sharp is probably more important than what brand or style you use.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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