Tips on improving hook ups

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Seth, May 21, 2007.

  1. Seth

    Seth Active Member

    Messages:
    1,807
    State:
    Owensville, MO
    I went fishing with a buddy yesterday on a lake that they catch a lot of flatheads on. We caught a bucket of green sunfish for bait right before dark and then backed off the bank about 20 yards and threw the perch right up onto the bank on bottom. We got three bites, but only landed one fish, a 3 pound channel.

    We use 2/0-4/0 worm hooks and let the fish run when it picks up the bait until it stops and then set the hook when it starts swimming again and loads the rod up. We hook the perch just below the back of its top fin.

    What can we do to improve our hook up ratio for these flatheads?
     
  2. field989

    field989 New Member

    Messages:
    896
    State:
    east central indiana
    bigger hooks!

    i use a minimum of 6/0-7/0 j-hook nothing smaller for whole gills.....

    some people use wayyy bigger hooks... but when u catch a big flat(around 20+lbs) and u look at the hook... there mouths are SOOO big u can fit a 8/0+ easily and it be NO PROBLEM AT ALL...

    but id say bigger hooks...
     

  3. GETHOOKED

    GETHOOKED New Member

    Messages:
    548
    State:
    Arizona, Scott
    I would say use circle hooks and dont set the hook, let the loaded rod take controll. IT may also be that the fish arent big enough to swallow your bait. You may be pulling it out of their mouths. Most decent flats will just eat it and run. Leaving the circle hook the time needed for you to just pick up the rod, engage the real, and hold on.
     
  4. Seth

    Seth Active Member

    Messages:
    1,807
    State:
    Owensville, MO
    What about rigging a treble hook for as a stinger hook and then hooking the main hook through the lips of the perch? Would this make the perch not swim right or have any other bad effects on it?
     
  5. tspergin

    tspergin New Member

    Messages:
    867
    State:
    newark ohio
    treble hooks arent a good option unless you are going to kill the fish
     
  6. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,179
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Bigger hooks ! I reccomend trying the 8/0 Gamakatsu octopus circle hook or the 10/0 Eagle Claw King Kahle hook.
     
  7. Larry

    Larry New Member

    Messages:
    707
    State:
    Minnesota
    8/0-10/0 Gama Octopus.... Circles do work sometimes. But is sure feels a lot better when you cross thier eyes with a drag ripping hook set.
     
  8. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Well - I have to be the odd man out. I'm not so sure you need much bigger hooks, but I would change style. Personally, I like kahles and use mostly 4/0 and 5/0. Worm hooks are not so very strong - they are only meant to hold bass after all. The hook needs to be matched to the size of the bait, not really the size fish you are after. If the hook is too big the bait won't be able to swim with it and will die.

    Personally, I suspect the runs that you are missing are not flatheads at all. They generally suck the bait right in and hook themselves pretty well. (I leave the rod in the holder with the reel engaged and just let the flatheads hook themselves.) The runs you are getting that are not hooking could be other channels or gar. Gar will leave little slicesin the bait and channel cats leave little crushed bands accross the bait.
     
  9. Seth

    Seth Active Member

    Messages:
    1,807
    State:
    Owensville, MO
    They aren't gar I know because there aren't any gar in the lake, but I did catch a channel the other night. They do catch quite a few channels fishing for flatheads with live perch.

    I'll play around with my hook sizes and see if I can get something figured out and improve my hookups.
     
  10. TIM HAGAN

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    State:
    Walkersvil
    Just get you some Kahle hooks and let the fun begin
     
  11. Pylodictis Olivaris

    Pylodictis Olivaris New Member

    Messages:
    257
    State:
    Iowa
    You don't and won't need huge hooks but more of a better quality hook and most importantly you need to leave a lot of hook point exposed to ensure proper penetration and hook up.....this is of course easier to accomplish with bigger hooks but again i would match your hook size to your bait as previously mentioned by others! Trial and error...will be your best guide.
     
  12. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    GETHOOKED has the right way to go!!!!!!!

    Only problem for me would be I get 80% on my Flats with cut and on the "Lite-Bite" ,,,, they will not run with it. Thats why I would have to give up most on my Yellows if I used circles.

    Study rod holders and "J" hooks or Kahles.

    Very sturdy rod holders r a must for me.

    The only time I let a Johnny Cat run is to get pizza and only if he will come back with the right change. Why would one allow them to drop the bait????
    "Oh I got 7 runs and 4 fish" ..... Better if 6 or 7 fish.

    OPINION
     
  13. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Yup.

    As much as I enjoy a good hook set (there's something fun about waiting and hitting them and feeling the line come tight to a good fish), my hook up rate is much higher if I leave the rod alone until it loads up. This might partly because I'm not missing the fish and chasing them away. Sometimes they'll bounce the bait a couple of times before they come back and hook up. If I had tried for the hookset too soon, I'd scare them off or pull the bait away from them.
     
  14. criggster

    criggster New Member

    Messages:
    66
    State:
    Virginia
    You might try letting them run a little before try to hook them. It may be that they are smaller fish and did not get the bait all the way into their mouths.
     
  15. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Seth,

    Throw those worm hooks away and save then for those bass. Use large hooks, I use 7 and 8 gammys.

    As for trebles, don't use them unless you plan on harvesting. It really messes the fish up!
     
  16. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Don't wait for the second run to let the fish load up your rod. As soon as you can get to the rod engage the reel and hold it till he has you loaded up and you feel that first head shake. Then set the hook, there is no need to let a flathead run, when they commit they commit. Giving a flathead more time to feel a sinker dragging or vibrations coming down the line from you will cause them to spit the bait. If this doesn't solve your problem then they arent flats. More likely channels or turtles or whatnot. I use 10/0 gammaktsu hooks and have caught 2lb flats on them. Big hooks means more gap between hook and bait and translates into more hooksets.
     
  17. Ahquabi_Master

    Ahquabi_Master New Member

    Messages:
    999
    State:
    WDM Iowa
    i agree with field989. bigger hooks. i use 7-0 circle hooks too.
     
  18. catstalker459

    catstalker459 New Member

    Messages:
    343
    State:
    state line city, indiana
    i use 8/0kahles, but have to agree that if the fish are smaller then u are pulling it out of there mouth try a lil combo and use a 8/0, 5/0 and maybe a 4/0 an see what u are gettin the best on. i have done that before and then changed setup to match the one biting the best i went from 1 in 5 hook ups to 7 out of 10!:cool2:
     
  19. shellerflat

    shellerflat New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    north carolina
    You did not say whether you used live bait or cut bait. If you use cut perch I can understand why you are getting only channel cat, but if it is live bait then there can be several reasons for not getting any flatheads to the bank. Either it is your location or the size of your hooks. I use circle hooks above 6/0 and the minute that a flathead starts moving away with the bait I pull the line tight. I never have a problem with hook ups with this, unless the fish swims towards me. The most important thing I have learned for flatheads that I have to stress is using fresh and kicking live bait.
     
  20. Seth

    Seth Active Member

    Messages:
    1,807
    State:
    Owensville, MO
    We use live perch hooked right behind the dorsal fin. I have some 4/0 Kahle hooks, but I didn't bring them with me that night. Next time I go, I will try ou the Kahle's. Soon I plan on ordering some bigger and better quality hooks and do this stuff right.