To Circle or Not to Circle That is the Question

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Game_Of_Inches, May 15, 2007.

  1. Game_Of_Inches

    Game_Of_Inches New Member

    Messages:
    63
    State:
    Ohio
    Alright fellow flathead fisherman I have experimented several times with circle hooks on live bait (usually green sunfish, chubs, and bullheads) and have had mixed success. Just wondering what you guys think of them. I personally have a difficult time not setting the hook. Do you think that I should try to use them more? What kind of baits work best with circle hooks. And should I put them away when I'm throwing larger baits?
     
  2. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    You let the rod set the circle hook, u dont set it, i freespool with baitclicker let fish take it out a few clicks then thumb the spool the rod will bend let it until he bout pulls it out your hands then start reeling, I belive in circle hooks they have yet to let me down. i use eagle claw 7/0 circle sea.
     

  3. rivercatsc

    rivercatsc New Member

    Messages:
    1,990
    State:
    South Caro
    I dont like circles for flatties but I have caught alot of them on circles but I perfer king kahle for the larger live baits. I think a circle will work fine if you can get a big enough one to get around that fat lip of theres. Maybe a 10/0 octopos circle.
     
  4. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,788
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    i just started using circles this month and i havent had a flathead on.they work good on blues so im gonna give them a try this weekend on the oushita river.hope i can find some flatheads there.
     
  5. TONTO

    TONTO New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    ILLINOIS
    I use 8/0 Gamakatsu circle hooks all of the time. Have caught Flatheads up to 40 lbs and also Blues. I think I get a higher hookup percentage. Just let the fish set the hook, you will get used to it after awhile. All I do is reel down after the fish has ran a little line out.
    ----------------------------------
    I thought it was a piece of moss but it was a big ol' fish
     
  6. massa_jorge

    massa_jorge New Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    TEXAS
    i have been using circles for 5 years now, and have done really well with them.
    something i have noticed, especially with flatheads, is that people tend to have the hook near the back of the dorsal fin of the bream they are using. i think it can get in the way of the hook point, letting the whole bait slip out of the fish's mouth.
    i always hook bream through the lips with circles now and don't miss near as many fish, even on light runs. remember flatties usually swallow a bait head first... as for not setting the hook, you have to unlearn that, even though you've probably been doing it your whole life!
     
  7. bnorth

    bnorth New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Indiana
    I'm a big fan. I generally use a Gamakatsu 8/0 circle. Hook into a big 'ol bream or cut chunk of something tasty, place your bait, and stick it in a rod holder. In my experience catfish are like deer, they will come from downwind/downstream to check something out. So whether they were swimming upstream to begin with, or circle around to get a better look-see, when that cat figures its something it wants to eat, it'll grab hold then turn downstream and make a run with it. Thats when the hook does its magic, I know I can find it in the corner of the mouth everytime.
     
  8. center12

    center12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,444
    State:
    KS
    Don't like circles for flatheads, great for channels and blues in current but not flatheads. I've had too many fish swallow the circle.............not all flathead run after taking the bait!!! Bang, kill hit, then the fish just stays right there. No run just your line moving up and down, you know it's in the fishes mouth but you can't set the hook because it's a CIRCLE. After several minutes the fish moves off, loads the pole and you reel in a gut hooked fish.........I catch and release all my flatheads from the Kansas river, rather they not be gut hooked. Also had more than a few fish bring the bait upsteam towards the boat, ever see how much a 3oz. no-roll bounces the end of a MH Tiger rod as the flathead is dragging it upsteam........it ain't "loading up" crap!! This is after dark when I only have enough light to see the rod tips, bugs will kill ya if you light up enough to see you lines. Results still the same........swallowed bait:sad2: . I now use 8/0 or 10/0 Gama Octopus hooks. I fish them just like circles and get around 90% corner of the mouth hook-ups on fish that load the rod...........for those lazy fish that like to stay put while they eat, I cross their eyes because I'm not using a CIRCLE!! JMHO.
     
  9. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Messages:
    580
    State:
    Grand River Valley, Weste
    Ditto.
    Never had a circle swallowed, miss only one out of 15-20 hook ups.
    Gama 8/0 Circles are dynamite.
     
  10. Ahquabi_Master

    Ahquabi_Master New Member

    Messages:
    999
    State:
    WDM Iowa
    I've actually set the hook a few times with circles and I think they may have saved me losing fish. Other times you just know the fish has hooked him/herself. i suggest using them so you can personally find out what you like better. 6/0 gamakatsu is my hook right now.
     
  11. fishhook

    fishhook New Member

    Messages:
    658
    State:
    Willow Woo
    I use circles and khales, I've had good luck with both and I've had flatheads swallow both. both types of hooks have there place and the circle was designed for catch and release, I've had a lot of hookups out through the eye with khales an I don't like that either but I don't blame the hook, I think its in the way the hook is placed in the bait is what makes the differance in how the fish gets hooked. I try to hook all my bait length ways rather then cross ways whether its cut bait or live. I use MH tiger rods with 7000C3 reels and I set the clicker an leave the drag engaged using either type hook then let the rod load up which does not mean that line has to be stripping of the reel only having the rod bent down is enough and I've found the hook will set or is set when you just pull back on the rod and start reeling whether its a circle or khale.
     
  12. Game_Of_Inches

    Game_Of_Inches New Member

    Messages:
    63
    State:
    Ohio
    Alright so alot of people like using circles for flatties. So where are you typically hooking the bait at? Massa said through the lips, does this mean if I'm using circle hooks I should abandon the dorsal rig. I have great success on dorsal hooking bait in slack water I think it keeps the bait more active. I typically do mouth hook my baits when fishing in heavy current situations because it looks more natural. And if I'm using circles and letting the fish set the hook themselves is it still alright to use a three way rig or are you generally using a slip sinker rig so the fish can run easily?
     
  13. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Messages:
    580
    State:
    Grand River Valley, Weste
    I hook everything between the anal fin & the tail.
    Looks natural, easy on the bait fish, and since most get swallowed head first- it points the hook in the right direction.
     
  14. bnorth

    bnorth New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Indiana
    The most important thing with baiting a circle hook is to not fill the gap of the hook. The hook point needs to be mostly exposed to be effective. As a general rule, I estimate which size hook I think I need for the appropriate size bait then go one size bigger.
     
  15. rivercatsc

    rivercatsc New Member

    Messages:
    1,990
    State:
    South Caro
    If you are fishing in slack water hooking in the tail area is okay but fishing in current if you hook in the tail area the fish will turn and swim back up stream which will have the hook turned backwards. After so long of trying to turn around and swim back upstream he will turn with the current coming from behind him and it will drown the fish. In current your bait will be more lively longer if hooked through the eyes or the lips.
     
  16. GETHOOKED

    GETHOOKED New Member

    Messages:
    548
    State:
    Arizona, Scott
    I fish lack water both lake, and small rivers. I read in the in-fisherman catfish insider that you should always diagonally hook your baits so when the catty inhales it it doesnt feel the stiffness of the hook. In a diagonally placed hook the hook seem to lay down easier. ALSO, they suggest that you tie on a stinger hook 2-4 sizes smaller to your main hook, and then ONLY insert the stinger into the fish. The larger hook stays un-obstructed, and is easily not felt by the fish. THis article was from one of the flathead guru's so to speak. I have since only diagonally hooked by baits, not straight thru the back or anal fins, and have not missed a run yet. But, when I did it the other way, just straight across, I only missed two fish last year. so was it the hook insertion point or just shy fish? For what it is worth, that is what I read. Best of luck---:0a23:
     
  17. Rhinospawn

    Rhinospawn New Member

    Messages:
    107
    State:
    North Dakota
    I WENT TO CIRCLES 2 YRS AGO AND LOVE THEM. SORT A KEEPS U ON THE FEET IF ROD ISN'T QUIET IN THE HOLDER..
     
  18. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    I was big on circles for flatties for a long time and they are still my go to for channels, but I've come to discover that circles for flatheads have a couple shortcomings.

    1. A lot of times the fish will come upstream at you, or just inhale the bait and sit there. You can do nothing at this point but wait and hope.

    2. It's very easy for a circle (when hooked near the tail) to come around and rehook itself in the side of the body of the bait, it happens all the time.

    I have switched to 10/0 Gammi Octopus and so far so good.
     
  19. SunburntAgain

    SunburntAgain New Member

    Messages:
    78
    State:
    Tulsa, OK
    I know, I know, circle hooks are the most "politically correct" hooks to use, but I just can NOT get the hookup ratios that I can attain with octopus hooks, or my favorite, khale hooks. For one thing, at my number one big cat spot I am fishing off the bank on the cut channel (deep) side. I cast out onto the flat on the other side of the channel. Generally, when I get a pickup on my bait the fish runs straight at me to the safety of deep water in the channel. And i can NOT get a circle hook to set unless the fish pulls AWAY from me. Since 50% or better of my bites move toward me after picking up the bait, that makes circles worthless to me. Circles would work great if anchoring in a flowing river, where the cats turn downstream to swallow their food, but in my river the absolute best fishing for trophy cats happens in slack water, when they're piled up in low water holes. So I opt for Khale hooks. Often they hook themselves from the load on the rod in the holder. And if they want to swim at me and put slack in the line I reel up the slack gently and set the hook soon as the line cones almost tight. And i hook em most of the time. If they swim towards me with a circle hook I dont have the option to set the hook, as it will rip the hook out of their mouth.
     
  20. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    another advantage i have found with circles over kahles is in the river with the snags and such it is a little more difficult to hook the hook in a snag i get more hangups with kahles, i have had two run uup river both of them got hung right in the corner of the mouth, i have had one swallow the hook, that one i had on a 5 ounce bank sinker, i always tie my sinker on the leader with 8# test line so if the sinker gets hung it will break off before the line, in the case of the guthooked flathead i throwed the 5 0nce sinker out to the side in the current to make it stick, with a small stumpknocker on it, i believe that when the flat hit the small fish that he broke off the sinker from the leader , and made it easier to swallow little bream and hook, just a observation.