The Grab and Run

here’s the scoop, I got into catfishing a few years back caught alot of small channel cats 2-6 lbs. got addicted caught the bug. wanted to catch bigger and better. started using live and cut bait. started catching bigger flats and few channels. up graded tackle, bait feeder reels, bigger hooks, and so on. I’m fishing a river in michigan, muskegon river. my rig is almost always slip sinker rig sometimes 3way. my problem is I miss 90% of the hits I get on cut bait sometimes even on live bait. sometimes they hit so hard fish almost pull my rod in the water even with a bait feeder reel they go like bad outta hell, and I set the hook and nothing. At first I thought they where smaller fish so I down sized my bait. not the case. and there’s times I do hook them. i just can’t figure out whats with the grab and run. any idea’s on this. please help! oh and i noticed it only really happens in late summer when the waters the warmist.

This question was a tough one! There are several variables that could affect your hookset. The truth is, getting the catfish to your bait is really less than half the battle! First, be sure your hook is the right size for your bait and target. If the bait is too big, or put on the hook improperly, there will not be enough hook open to catch properly. Further, if your bait is not on the hook properly, it can easily pull off (You didn’t say whether you were losing the bait or breaking line in your query) and if you are losing your hook, it could be due to poor tying techniques, weak line, or line of insufficient test strength for some really big catfish. Another reason could be the wrong hook. If you are using a hook that is not strong enough or simply not big enough to hold both the big bait you need to catch these cats AND the cat itself, it could be prohibiting proper hook set. That being said, if you eliminate these reasons for your difficulty try leaving your drag almost completely open (a bait clicker is a nice thing to have in these circumstances) and just let the catfish take your cut bait. Most of the time, once Old Mr. Whiskers nabs your bait, he is going to make one good, solid run. Following that initial run, he is more than likely going to zing some drag as he makes a second run. If you wait until the second run to set your hook, provided you are using the proper hook, line, tying methods, and baiting methods, you are going to hook about 95% of your catfish!


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

One Response to “The Grab and Run”

  1. Doug Barcroft says:

    I would also try circle hooks, Gammas in the 8/0 range. Leave plenty of gap on the hook with the bait as was said. Smaller catfish are not hook shy, so you’d catch whatever was biting. With the circle, the fishing style is different, most people tightline, and when the rod loads up (bends right over) a lift and reel-in motion causes the hook to catch the cat right in the corner of the mouth. A hook-set on a circle hook will yank it out of the mouth. Circles take getting used to, but are effective for what you are saying. Good luck!

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