What are the best situations to use cricle hooks for catfish?

I’ve tried using circle hooks for catfish and while they work great with a strong current – I can’t seem to get the hang of using them in the lake when there isn’t a current. Any tips for using this hook when the fish doesn’t swim away from the boat or should I try something else instead?

You’re not the only one to have this problem. The circle hook is actually designed to set your hook without too much involvement from the fisherman. When the fish takes the bait and pulls the line taut, the pressure from the bow in the rod forces the hook into the corner of the fish’s mouth. Consequently, the fish really has to grab the bait and swim away from your boat. A strong current will encourage this. In still water, however, it’s difficult to determine where the fish is going to go once he’s grabbed the bait. If he swims towards or parallel to the boat, the circle hook has a tendency to slip out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your circle hooks are useless in still water though. As a matter of fact, Daiichi created a modification (Circle Hook Lite) to the circle hook that works in both strong and still water. When using this type of hook, it’s important that you pick up your rod as soon as you’ve determined that the fish is not moving away from the boat. Begin reeling in as much line as you can until you just start to feel the pressure of the fish on the line, if you’re not getting any resistance from the fish, lift the rod in a long sweeping motion – it should bury your hook.

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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