Keep losing big ones what am I doing wrong

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by dragon86, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. dragon86

    dragon86 New Member

    Messages:
    51
    State:
    west frankfort illinios
    i keep losing some big fish they usally throw the hook. i've had a lot of ppl tell me differnt ways to help me get a better hook set on them. an i think i know what i'm doing wrong but i want some more info on the best ways to hook the bait on (bluegill or other small fish) and some better ways to set the hook after the fish bites.
     
  2. fcrnnngbck25

    fcrnnngbck25 New Member

    Messages:
    205
    State:
    Lafayette, Indi
    Maybe your hook isn't big enough. Also a simple thing but just as important after hookin a bluegill make sure there are no scales on the point of your hook.
     

  3. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    What type of hook are u using and Flats have a few tough spots in their mouths so one must use sharp hooks plus allways keep the line tight.

    :eek:oooh:
     
  4. Swampy

    Swampy New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Fl.
    You can try a different style of hook. You may want to try Circle Hooks in the 4/0 - 6/0 range,these hooks will set themselfs.

    If your using Circle Hooks the key is to - NOT set the hook.
     
  5. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,447
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    Steve,
    You haven't given us much to work with as far as info on your set up but as mentioned above if you are sure these are big fish then don't be afraid to use a big hook with the point clean and well exposed.
    Rule # 1 with any type of hook is that it must be SHARP. With modern hook making techniques they are getting better at making a sharp hook straight-out-of-the-pack but never assume a hook will be sharp. Check every one. If you don't have a sharpener, get one. Learn how to test the point on your thumb nail.
    Also, as mentioned do not allow any slack in your line. I have seen size 8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks fall out of a flathead's mouth the second they were in the net. The hook was in the bony part of the jaw and the only thing holding it in was the tension on the line.
    Be sure to hook your bait in such a way that the hook comes clear on the set and not dig back into the bait.
    I use Gama's 8/0 Octopus and circles and have total confidence in them.
    Do not set the hook if using circles. Let the fish or the rod do that by the tension they put in the line. If using J hooks set and set it hard.
    Good luck...W
     
  6. GUNTZ

    GUNTZ New Member

    Messages:
    169
    State:
    CLEBURNE texas
    BE SURE THE FISH HAS THE BAIT ,I THINK SO MANY TIMES PEOPLE ARE SETTING THE HOOK BEFORE THE FISH HAS THE BAIT,I HAVE SEEN THIS FAR TO MANY TIMES!
     
  7. slikk03

    slikk03 New Member

    Messages:
    2,507
    State:
    illinois
    i let them pull my cliker for a second give the time to get the bait in that mouth if u set it as soon as your poll bends they will just slide out
     
  8. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    You can improve your chances if you use a stinger hook in the tail of your bait. A flathead is sometimes like a cat playing with a mouse, it will run and stop and pick the bait back up and run again, the second run is the best time to hang him. I use a 10/0 Kahle and don't have to set the hook, I just let the rod load and let the fish hook himself. I lost a lot of fish without the stinger hook and when I started using them, most of the fish were hooked on the tail hook.
     
  9. dragon86

    dragon86 New Member

    Messages:
    51
    State:
    west frankfort illinios
    thanks for the adives every one

    i usally use either 4/0 circle hooks or 5/0 j hooks and i was think my problem was that i was tring to set the hook to soon but now i think it could be a few other things that i need to check as well.

    and thanks again.
     
  10. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,690
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    it might be the amount of line u have out.if useing mono it has a lot of strech in it.i was loseing fish to because i had out over 100 yds.of line.i went to powerpro braid and it works a lot better.
     
  11. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Dont be afraid to try different techniques and tackle. Try a wide gap circle hook, (8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle or 7/0 Daiichi Circle Chunk Light). Set your reel on free spool with the clickers on. Wait for a second run or strike then just lock down the reel and let the fish load the pole. FISH ON !!! I have caught more flatheads doing this with live bluegills,creek chubs and suckers.
     
  12. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    If your getting the big ones to bite, I'd say your doing nothing wrong. The odds was just against you at that time. Keep trying...you'll succeed. It's called experience.
     
  13. mjghunter

    mjghunter New Member

    Messages:
    22
    State:
    Rising Sun, Indiana
    It sounds like you may be using too large of a bait for the hook. I've had cats that just held on the bait and ran. They never really had the hook in there mouth, they were just tugging on the bait.
     
  14. JAYNC

    JAYNC New Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    I normally hook up with most of the fish quite well, recently I have lost two giant fish. Thats the way it goes sometimes, maybe I hooked them weak in the skin and the hook pulled out. Also dont forget about Gar, not sure if they are in your area but they are almost impossible to hook and maybe you are getting bites from gar thinking they are catfish. Just make sure you are using big hooks, I use a minimum of 7/0 gama octopus for cutbait and I use 10/0 for live bait. Sometimes I use a 12/0 if the live bait is really big. A flathead has a huge mouth that even dwarfs a 12/0 so dont be afraid to get some bigger hooks. There are so many variables, are you using braid or mono, do you use a swivel, how is your drag set, do you use a leader, what knots do you use. All of it plays a role in why you aren't hooking up, but sometimes you are doing nothing wrong and you just happen to get a weak hookset and it gets off. Gamakatsu hooks are really good though, I have pulled up many catfish where the hook went right through the bone on top of their mouth. Just keep getting out there and you'll get them.
     
  15. jlingle

    jlingle New Member

    Messages:
    1,036
    State:
    Altus, Okl
    These guys have all given really good advice. I didn't read through the whole thread & everybody else's posts, but the ones that i saw offered the best advice that I could think of. To recap:

    1. GAR!! If they are in your waters, then this may be some of your missed hooksets. The gar will pick up a bait and run with it, and they are nearly impossible to hook.

    2. Use a bigger circle hook. Just like everybody else has said, these hooks will have a wider gap (I like an 8/0 Gama octopus circle) and they can be scarey sharp. Let the rod load, then catch your fish. I personally still set the hook with circles (I know... most folks don't, but I just love to set the hook!), but I wait until the rod is loaded well.

    3. Pay very close attention to your knots, if you don't already. Big fish will exploit every weakness in your setup. It's a real heartbreaker to get a good fish on, then lose him due to a bad knot. I had tied clinch knots my whole life, up until a few months ago. I started tying polamar knots and haven't had one fail yet.

    4. Not everyone does this, but I like to use a leader going from my hook to my swivel, and I like it to be about 2X as heavy as my main line. Sure, this causes me to lose more tackle, but I think it improves my catch rate. This is the part of the rig where all the abrasion normally takes place, and the stronger it is, the less likely you are to lose a good fish.

    5. I like to hook a live bait below and a little behind his dorsal fin. Make darn sure you have plenty of hook left exposed and don't use up all your gap with bait. In other words, hook the bait towards the top of the bait, leaving plenty of your hook exposed. Make absolutely sure (every single time) that you don't have a scale on your hook after running it through the bait. A scale on my hook cost me the biggest catfish I've ever had on a rod & reel (talk about feeling stupid). If you have a good lively bait and the bite is aggressive, experiment a little.... try hooking them in the lips, or wherever else you'd like to try. I caught a 28 lb. blue Monday night on 2 very small perch hooked through the lips on an 8/0 circle hook.

    6. If you're going to be after big fish, make sure you're using fresh line. If you need to change your line out every year, do it. If you need to change it out 2 or 3 times a year, do it. You put too much thought, time, and effort into getting into a good fish. Don't let $3 worth of old line cost you a new personal best fish.

    7. Make darn sure your rod & reels are equipped to handle big fish. Everybody knows a story about a guy who caught a 50 pounder on a Zebby 33..... but a wise man goes out well armed. Use rods, reels, and mainline big enough to handle the big fish you're going after.

    That's about all I can think of. Good luck, and stay after them!
     
  16. radish

    radish Member

    Messages:
    640
    State:
    ms
    SWAMPY is right use circle hooks and never set the hook
     
  17. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    This is some very sound advice, couldn't have said it better myself!!!