What type of hooks work best on catfish?

I’ve been told that the type of hooks you use when catfish fishing are important. What type of hooks work best?

The type and size of hook you use is more of a personal choice, than a necesity, but there are a few guidlines you can go by. For general Rod and Reel catfishing with small to medium baits, dough baits or smaller cut baits, it’s hard to beat the venerable Eagle Claw 2/0 Baitholder hooks. They’re cheap, available everywhere and don’t miss many hook-ups if you keep them sharp. I like them because they don’t feel like you have a harpoon sticking in your bait. With a rod and reel, I prefer to finese the fish, rather than hit them over the head. Also, sometimes large gobs of bait will attract unwanted attention from gar, turtles and other undesirables. These hooks are good for fish up to around 20 pounds. They don’t bend easily. For Juglines, you need something a bit more substantial. I go with the Kahle hooks in sizes 4/0-6/0. These are perfect for large cut baits and whole shad or bluegills. They have a twisting action that alweays orients the hook point to the catfishes mouth. If you’re going for Big-Game Catfish with trotlines, or Flathead fishing, you’ll need a hook with some backbone to it, that won’t twist in current. I recommend Kahle 145 or 245 Nickels in sizes 5/0 and 6/0, Kahle 254 Stainless in sizes 5/0-8/0, or Tru-Turn Catfish 722BL Cadium-Plated in sizes 6/0-9/0. Remember, the sharpness of the hook is more important than the style. Always keep your hooks sharp. Catfish are very strong, and the only way to be sure they won’t ‘throw’ the hook is for it to be embedded deeply in the mouth tissue. Use a small whetstone to hone your hooks, and sharpen them in a ‘diamond’, triangular shape with the flat area facing the shank. One way to tell if your hook is sharp enough is to drag the point gently over your fingernail. If it slides, then your hook is not sharp enough. The point should catch and stick in your nail. Hone it until it does. Happy Fishing


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 “What type of hooks work best on catfish?”

  1. james says:

    i bought some 14/0 eagle claw circle hooks. do you think those are to big for 30 to 75 lb flathead

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