Do you love big bluegill?
Here are the hooks I typically use for Catfish. I carry a range of sizes, and different types of hooks, but these are the hooks I seem to always fall back on.
Gamakatsu Octopus Circle size 4. Bought these at a Dick's Sporting Goods. As you can see, these are fairly small. This hook will comfortably hold a small Shad hooked through the eye sockets (my typical hooking method for live bait in calm water). This hook is probably the best size option for Bullheads, at least in Oklahoma. Up north, Bullheads seem to get to decent sizes, so a bigger hook can be an option.
I'm pretty sure this is an Eagle Claw L702. I bought a couple 50-packs from a baitshop back in OK that was buying in bulk and repackaging. They had a code number on it, but called it a "Hybrid hook". This is an excellent hook for Hybrid Striped Bass, thus what they were calling it.
Here's a link to where you can buy a 100-pack of L702 at a great price, probably 1/4 of what I paid for these:
The ones I bought also had a size of "3/0" written on the bag. I do not know if these hooks are, in fact, L702's in size 3/0. I'd have to buy a pack and see, and it's going to be quite a while before I need more. You'll also notice that the hook I have pictured has an upturned eye, while the hooks, as bought, have a straight eye. I used a pair of forceps and bent the eyes myself. I prefer to upturned eye for use on a dropper loop, as it keeps the loop in line with the shank of the hook, and increases hookups. If I use this hook below a float, or on a bottom rig, I typically snell the hook.
I also picked up a 50-pack of the same hooks from that bait shop, but slightly bigger. These had "5/0" written on the package. I don't use these as much, the 3/0's are perfectly usable for most catfish.
This is an Eagle Claw L197 in what I believe is 5/0. I bought these at Wally World several years ago, for when I know there are bigger fish swimming around, during the annual Spring high-flow event (I won't call it a flood, because it's managed by the Corps. of Engineers), which also times up with the Catfish spawn in OK. I would also use these when I was fishing larger live baits for Flatheads, such as small Green Sunfish.
I bought mine at Wal-Mart, but Capt. Hook's also has them, and at probably a better price/hook than Wally World, but it's a 100-pack. I rarely use these, and haven't since I moved to MI (hooks this large are illegal to use in streams for all but two months of the year).
And this is the biggest hook in my inventory. Eagle Claw L197 in 7/0, I believe. Capt. Hook has them up to size 10/0. You'll notice these still have a straight eye. I tried a couple times to bend the eye to make it upturned, but all I accomplished is to break the hook. I would use a Palomar knot, with 40 lbs test Big Game, as my leader material. I've only used these a few times, but larger live Green Sunnies as bait for Flatheads.
Great info I hope to employ in my future Catfishing adventures! .You are a real " Dan Gapen " Allen. Thanks for your help .
Hooks I have been using this year include #2 Bait Holder (Eagle Claw I believe) and the smaller #1 Octopus Hook I got from an Eagle Claw Dropshot kit .
August was a good month for Catfishing (Brown and Yellow Bullheads and Channel Cats) .The baits I used with success are: Hot Dog chunks, Frozen Livers and Blue gill chunk. I don't recall catching anything on the Yellow and White Perch chunks I tried. Lures that have caught Yellows and CC's are Squirrel Tail Jigs and 3"Plastic Minnows.
BTW, aren't you the guy who uses a Buffalo Nickel for scale? This is a 1953 'Wheatie' I got for change not long ago .It's the year of my birth.
You got me there! I forgot to grab the Buff for the pics. I would really like to use some older coins, like a good Mercury dime, or an Indian Head penny, but the few I have left are sealed up in coin holders, and I'd rather not get them out. Might have to power up a metal detector and see if I can get some more :)
"Octopus" style hooks are defined by the shape of the bend (they look like of like the suckers on the underside of an Octopus' tentacle). "Circle" hooks have a different shape of bend; the bend is smaller in comparison to the shank, and the shank itself is longer. And, of course, the point is bent inwards towards the shank. An "Octopus Circle" is basically an Octopus hook, with the point bent inwards. I've had good luck with both regular Circle hooks and Octopus Circle hooks. The main point is matching the hook size to the size of the bait, and the size of the fish being targeted.
I think that's an Octopus hook I show .I notice yours completes more of a circle though to the shank by the point bending in . I thought yours would be a circle hook and mine an octopus?!
These hooks are in my arsenal in chasing after carps as well. We commonly use 7/0 to hunt for 40lbs+ flatheads, wipers/stripers, and ocean front surf species. Good selection Allen.
Thanks Leo. The ones pictured are about a third of the actual inventory of hooks I carry in my backpack. This is not counting all the hooks I have/use for tying flies.
LOL. For fly-tyers, unaccounted hooks will eventually be found, usually by someone's toe.....
Here's one I forgot to post up. This is a "stinkbait hook". I use it for punchbait. Typically this is a dog-days-of-summer thing, when it's hotter than Hades out. Night fishing, with the bait suspended about 4 - 6' below a float with an LED on it. I can easily see that float further away than I can throw it. I don't normally catch any "big" catfish with stickbait ("big" is a relative term). I think I've caught a couple 5 lbs Blue Catfish on this stinkbait, but the bulk of my catches were small Channels and Blues, many too small to keep.
I'm not terribly fond of these, even though I do carry them. The problem is that cats tend to swallow them. You can buy Circle Hooks with the wire on it, but it's just as easy to sacrifice a push-ballpoint pen and use the spring out of that. Makes for easier hook removal.
I usually use an Improved Clinch Knot for this hook. The Palomar Knot works as well, I just find it easier to use the Clinch Knot.
Haven't seen one of these in ages.
Here are my current setups this year for some Catfishing /Bullheads.In my home lake (Cupsaw Lake ). In years past I have caught four species Yellow and Brown Bullheads ,White Catfish and Channel Catfish . Nothing over 5.3# yet . PB is 12# 30" CC and 2nd best 10# 29" CC but those were in other lakes . Most of my Catfishing is done down the road I live on .
1) 5'6" one Piece Medium Action Ugly Stik, Penn Silverado Reel ,15# Power Pro Braid
2)7'2" "Action" rod, a fly/rod Spinning Rod Hybrid I guess you'd call it .Slow action Rear Drag Lews Reel Pro PS 200, 8# Cabelas Mono
3) Zebco 6'6" 2 piece Medium Action/ Med Slow Tip Rod,Penn 4300 SS Reel, 20 # Power Pro Braid