A few questions from a noob...

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Gibbzilla, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Gibbzilla

    Gibbzilla New Member

    East Texas
    These questions are a bit embarassing to ask, since most of you here are pulling in the 50+ pounders, but whatever...

    1) What size Kahle hook should I use when hooking a 6-10" live bluegill behind the dorsal fin?

    2) When my rod is in my rod holder, is the reel supposed to be set to where line can go out, or should the line be tight as I wait for a while for a bite?

    3) I hear people here talking about their bait-clickers, and I'm not entirely sure what this means....Explanation please?

    4) When I see my rod bend or see line going out, should I reel in the slack and set the hook immediately?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    welcome to the boc gibby
    1 i dont use kahles but i do use cattmax j-hooks in 8/0 or 9/0

    2 i usually tightline this way you can see the slightest bite

    3 on bait casters and some spinning reels you can release the the spool but still have the clicker set this will prevent the line from going out without first making a clicking noise to alarm you of the strike

    4 this depends , if the line goes out in a hurry and keeps goin yes by all means set the hook , if goes a little way and stops close the spool release an tighten the line holding rod in hand you can feel the fish take the bait then feel for him to start his run then set the hook

  3. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    I would basically agree with Chuck.
    Other things to consider are:
    Q1. If you are fishing the bluegill under a float you can use a 10/0 king kahle with no problem as the float is taking the weight of the hook. If you are not using a float the the bait is carrying the weight and too big a hook in it's back will tend to turn it over.
    Q2. If you are fishing close to snags, NEVER use put the reel in free spool. You don't want the fish running into the snag.
    Q4. If your rod id already bent then there is no slack line. Just maintain the tension. With a Kahle you can set the hook or let the fish hook itself, whichever you are most comfortable with.
    And no, most of us aren't all pulling in 50+ pounders. Some of us do and some of us don't but that is not the point. There is no more angling knowledge needed to hook a 50lb blue as there is to hook a 5lb channel. the basics are the same. Landing them is a different matter but first you have to hook them. There are no stupid or embarrassing questions, we are all here to learn...W
  4. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Triadelphia, WV
    Walter Flack
    Use only 8/0 and bigger, I like the 8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks for flatheads.

    You will get different suggestions on this. Myself I let them take the line and run, until Im sure they have taken the bait completely, then I lock down and let the flathead load the pole up and set the hook himself.

    On baitcasting reels, there is small knob or lever on the reel's left hand side that allows the reel to click when a fish starts to run with your bait. Also you have to set the reel on free-spool then engage your baitclicker.

    Some spinning reels will click when loostening the drag and letting the fish run with the bait. Other spinning reels have a baitrunner option lever on it. When set to baitrunner, the reel will click.

    The clickers on the baitcasters are louder and last longer.

    A kahle hook will work either way from what Ive been told, set the hook yourself or let the fish hook himself. If using circle hooks,definately let the fish set the hook on himself. If the rod is bent there is no slack, "FISH ON".
    If free-spooling, its just a timing thing you will have to experiment yourself and what works for you.

    When Im targeting flatheads, I free-spool and usually wait on a second run if its taking line out slow. If the line is peeling off fast and solid, I lock down the reel and let the fish load the pole up.

    Good luck with the flatheads !!!
  5. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    South Carolina
    Don't ever be embarassed to ask. Ignorance should be embarrassing, a desire to learn is great.

    You are going to find quickly that there's not one right answer to most questions, though. Here's MY opinions and answers to your questions:

    1) I do use kahle hooks exclusively for cats. I don't like to hook them behind the dorsal, though. Instead I hook them through the top jaw (in the mouth and out the top of the nose). I hook them this way because I am fishing in a river in current. Hooking them in the nose keeps them facing into the current. I believe that if they were hooked in the tail or back, they'd get turned backwards after a few minutes, and would drown. Hooking in the nose this way also makes it most difficult for the hook to become turned back into the bait, which makes it impossible to get a hook set. For baits the size you mentioned I use 5/0 kahles, the biggest I use. I don't like real big hooks, because I feel that they wiegh down the bait so it can't swim and it dies.

    2, 3, & 4) The "clicker" is mostly found only on baitcasting reels (a few very special spinning reels have a "baitrunner" feature). It puts slight tension on the line and provides a clicking sound when line is going out. Some catters prefer to leave their reels disengaged (in free spool) with the bait clicker on. Then when they get a bite they pick up the rod, engage the reel, and set the hook after some length of run.

    I prefer to leave my reels engaged, with the drag set at a moderate level, so that a fish will not break the line (or the rod or the holder - this requires sturdy rod holderes). The cats pick up the bait and turn to move off and hook themselves. Kahle hooks work great for this, and will hook almost all fish in the lips or corner of the jaw. I believe that I get a much higher hook-up rate by letting the fish hook themselves. I believe that I (and many other fishermen) miss more fish by letting the cats run with the bait and then trying to set the hook. This is true for a couple of reasons: many cats will sense something is wrong while running with the bait (some say they feel/hear the clicker - quite possible, or maybe they feel tension) and drop the bait. Also, trying to set the hook at the wrong time (line's not tight to the fish, fish is facing the wrong way, etc.) will simply pull the bait out of their mouth. Plus, letting the fish run gives them more of a chance to get into cover and become tangled. There is no way for the fish to hook themselves wrong - what I mean by that is that it happens when they take the bait in their mouth, turn (facing away = good) and begin swimming off (tension increases gradually until hook is set). About the only thing that can go wrong is that some fish (very few) can swallow the hook without moving off. Also, if the fish fails to hook up on the first try, you haven't scared him off and most times he will come back and try again.

    Anyway, like I said, there's no one right answer. This is what works for me. You will probably want to try both and figure out what works best for you.

    Keep in mind that you will have missed strikes any time you fish, especially with live bait. When flathead fishing, most of these misses are likely not flatheads, but instead are smaller channel or blue cats or gar. (You can often tell by examining the bait after the miss: other cats generally crush the bait about half way back, gar will leave slices in the bait). You'll also get to where you can tell a flatheads bite by the way the rod acts.
  6. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Montgomery, Alabama
    Welcome to the BOC, Gibby.