Catfish angling is one of the oldest and most popular forms of specialized fishing there is, and it’s not hard to see why. While available in abundance, the buggers are rather hard to catch, and some of them weigh so much that pulling them out of the water can be an achievement on its own. They also come in different species, with the most sought-after being the channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish.
To distinguish between them, you simply have to notice each of their distinguishing features. Channel catfish have a deeply forked tail and a protruding outer jaw, blue catfish also have forked tail, although not as much as the channel catfish, and a distinct slate blue color. As the name implies, flathead catfish have a flat and broad head, with a protruding lower jaw.
Catfish also require that you use a particular type of hook that is customized to maximize your performance and better your chances of catching them. The types of hooks used include treble hooks, circle hooks, Kahle fish hooks, and the more traditional Baitholder or J-hooks.
The Treble hook has a distinctive three-pronged design and is known for having a high mortality rate when compared to other types of hooks like the J-hook. It’s often used when working with artificial lures which significantly decreases the risk of mortality. However, these are not recommended for catch and release fishing as fish tend to swallow them, causing injuries.
The Kahle hook is round shaped and has a barb that’s pointed towards the eye part of the hook. It’s also quite similar in appearance to the round hook, with one of the major differences being the fact that the distance between the point and the shaft in a Kahle hook is much larger than the one found in a round hook.
Kahle hooks are also known for gut-hooking, which contributes to their high mortality rate, and they’re typically recommended for catching channel catfish.
The Circle hook comes in two varieties; offset and non-offset Circle hooks.
J-hooks are most effective when an angler jolts the rod as soon as they feel a bite on the line, which then effectually hooks the fish. They’re shaped like the letter J and are mostly used with natural bait. Fish hooked in the gut and throat have a mortality rate of up to 16%, while the ones hooked in the mouth have an almost non-existent mortality rate.
Here are a few important features to look out for when shopping for a catfish hook.
Size is usually determined by a combination of factors, namely personal preference and the type of catfish you’re fishing. Smaller cat fishing hooks are often preferred for their ability to accurately penetrate the fish quicker, whereas bigger hooks are better at holding onto the fish. So you might want to consider matching the size of your hook to the size of the bait that you’ll be using and the size of fish that you’ll be catching, for better efficiency.
If you still prefer smaller hooks make sure that it’s not too thin, so it doesn’t straighten up when a fish finally takes a bite.
It’s important to use a sharp hook, as it’s more efficient at inserting itself to the fish once it’s had a bite. On the other hand, a dull hook will cause you to lose a lot of catches because it won’t always hook suitably onto the fish.
Your hook needs to be sturdy and durable, so that it doesn’t break under the weight of a fish as you’re trying to reel it in. Generally, thicker hooks tend to be stronger than the thin variety.
Now, on to the fun part! Below is a list of our top picks for catfishing hooks. As you’ll see, we’ve selected a wide variety of the different types of hooks, including circle, kahle, treble, and j-hooks.
This circle hook is made from double action nickel and features a very sharp and strong needle. It also has quite a sturdy shank that’s able to hold the bait when you need it most, as well as a super wide gap for effective hooking and a bait stop barb.
Each package that you purchase comes with three hooks, which makes for great value for money, and it’s available as an 8/0 size.
Constructed from resilient high carbon steel for strength and durability, these circle hooks are then coated with black nickel finish for a distinctively glossy finish.They’ve been meticulously designed with a sharp octopus-shaped offset point, special barb hooks, and circle hook design to decrease the risk of mortality.
As evidenced by the deliberate inclusion of the swept black eye design, along with the pronounced circular bend, the short shank, and inward bending point, these hooks were specifically made to hold onto a fish. They’re also resistant to corrosion, which leads to an increased lifecycle and is available in different sizes, from 1/10 to 10/10. Plus, you get 50 pieces of these hooks with each package you purchase, which makes for great value for money.
This well-designed J-hook is made from tough high carbon steel and has a uniquely designed octopus hook with two sharp barbs. It features a needle-sharp point for precise accuracy when hooking onto the fish, and is available in sizes that range from 1/0 to 6/0. Did I mention that each package comes with 200 of these at an unbelievable price? Yep!
This is a Kahle hook with an off-set point and an eagle-claw like shape. Each pack comes with an assortment of 101 hooks, which are field tested for quality, durability, strength, and reliability of performance. They’re ideal for catching heavy-set catfish and come in sizes 1.0 to 3/0.
This eagle claw-shaped treble hook has a regular shank but with a curved point and a bronze color finish. They’re available in different sizes of 2/0 to 8/0 which makes them versatile, and you get 20 of these with each pack that you purchase.
These circle hooks from the popular Mustad brand feature a sharp in-line point and are made using the company’s patented wire technology technique which makes them very lightweight and easy to use. They’re also quite sharp and can maintain that sharpness for a long period due to Mustad’s UltraPoint Technology. Each pack comes with 25 hooks, which come in sizes that range from 3/0 to 10/0. All are great at holding onto a target, and work great for catch and release action.
This Kahle hook is field tested for durability and quality, which is reflected in their strength and ability to fasten onto a target quickly. They’re also extremely sharp, as well as rust and corrosion resistant. These are available at 50 pieces per package and come in 5/0 size.
These strong J-hooks are made from hard-wearing stainless steel with a silver color and are corrosion resistant for versatility of use. They’re carefully designed with a special barb design which reduces mortality rate and has a long shank design that makes it easier to remove them from the fish. They’re also tremendously sharp and feature a closed eye which is perfect for trolling and jigging. Each package comes with 10 pieces, which range in size from 6/0 to 12/0.
This hook has a closed off-set eye and is a bit of a hybrid cross between a J-hook and a circle hook. It’s made from forged steel and has a barbed detail and distinct black coloring for better visibility. Available sizes are from 1/0 to 7/0, and each pack comes with 25 pieces inside.
These bronze treble hooks are designed according to Mustad’s patented wire technology and non-tempering process, which makes them very lightweight and easy to use. They’re also very strong and sharp and can consistently hold onto fish. The sizes are 1/0 to 12/ 0, and each pack comes with 25 pieces.
Catfish angling can be a fun and exhilarating experience, but like any recreational activity, you have to have the right gear to get the most out of it, and having the right catfish hook can enhance your fishing experience. A good hook should coincide in size with the type of catfish that you’re angling for, it should be sharp enough, and it should be the right shape.
When it comes to the specific type of hook, well that's a matter of personal preference, and as you can see there are plenty of options to suit different preferences out there. That said, we hope that this article has helped to solve your catfish hook conundrums and that you'll enjoy this season's fishing adventure and be sure to have fun out there.