When a big Flathead catfish runs...

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by catsrking, May 4, 2006.

  1. catsrking

    catsrking New Member

    Messages:
    777
    State:
    Iowa
    When using live bait, say large chub, a bullhead or sucker and a big flathead takes off with it - How long would you let them run to ensure a good hookset? Do they need to turn the bait once they take it? Also, are circle hooks most effective when fishing with larger live baits over standard hooks?
    This year will be my first attempt with larger live baits, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I dont let them run long, as quick as I can get to my rod I am setting the hook.
     

  3. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,181
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    From my experience with flatheads, about 80% of the time they will hit the bait and drop it (kill strike, short run). Most of the time they will come back to eat their kill which sometimes will be up to 15 to 20 minutes before they run again,(long solid run). This is when I usually try to get the fish hooked. There have been times when a big flathead will take the bait on the 1st run and run like a freight train. So I would say let them run for at least 5 seconds.

    Although the circle hooks work great, Gamakatsu makes a 10/0 and 12/0 Big River hook (standard J style), that works good when using large live baits. A lot of the members here like using the big Kahle hooks also. Good luck.
     
  4. claycntyjoe

    claycntyjoe New Member

    Messages:
    83
    State:
    Northern Kentucky
    Tom - When I am using 4-6" live bait (chubs or gills) I like to let my fish run for at least a slow 10 count, then I let them load the rod at least 1/2 way, I seem to get better hookups this way. When I miss a good run it was usually because I jumped the gun and didn't follow my normal routine.

    I haven't tried any circle hooks yet so I wouldn't want to say which would be better.

    Hope that helps, It works for me almost some of the time. :baffle:
     
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    me neither. now if its a bait 12inch or longer i might let it run about 10 seconds just so im sure he has got a good hold on it. if i use anything over that size then in going to use a double hook rig (one in tail, one in skin above head) anyway just in case. when using up to hand sized gills i will set the hook as soon as i get to the pole and turn off the clicker. even a 5lb flat can get a hand sized gill all the way in his mouth with one gulp if he wants to. if you keep missing fish after waiting 5 seconds then they are no doubt gar, smaller channels, or those pesky turtles.
     
  6. shortbus

    shortbus New Member

    Messages:
    459
    State:
    indiana
    What I do is,,, when you get the first big run (on a baitcaster) pick up the rod and engage the reel. I hold the rod at about 20/25 degrees from the ground. When you feel him pulling real good and hard I nail him. I always wait untill he pulls hard. He will bend your rod down good. Now when you pick your rod up and he's still peeling line and not stopping then I engage the reel and nail him right away. It all really depends on how he's running with the bait. If it's a fast hard run= get him NOW. If it's a slow kinda jerky run+ wait till he pulls down hard. The main thing for me is to wait untill he pulls. This lets you know that he's facing away or sideways from you. If he's facing towards you and you set the hook you have a better chance of your hook and bait popping out of his mouth.

    I don't like circles for live bait at all. I feel the gap between the point and shank is way to close. When you hook a live bait on a circle it makes the gap even smaller. I've had bad problems with circles getting the point stuck back into the baitfish. Even with big circle hooks it's been a problem.
    I like to use 9/0 octopus hooks for live bait.
     
  7. BigCatSteve

    BigCatSteve New Member

    Messages:
    638
    State:
    Huber Heights,Ohio
    it all depends on how its running,if the flat is running fast and peeling line i will set as soon as i pick up the pole and disengage the baitrunner,if its running slow i let it run a little before i set the hook
     
  8. Damian_Storm

    Damian_Storm New Member

    Messages:
    117
    State:
    indiana
    if the flat starts running , i start leaning..i'd say ten feet or so but, he'll be that far before ya grab your rod anyway...
     
  9. Drum Andersen

    Drum Andersen New Member

    Messages:
    221
    State:
    Nebraska
    Where I fish I can't let those big flatties run w/ it because I like to cast as close to the log jam as possible. I usually get one big thump on my rod then a few seconds later it will double over, then I grab the rod put it about parallel w/ the ground and set the hook hard. When you fish close to log jams you have to get that flatty away from it or he'll break your line.
     
  10. catsrking

    catsrking New Member

    Messages:
    777
    State:
    Iowa
    Wanted to say thank you to all who shared info from their experiences on hooking the Flathead. Though experience is the best teacher, I am feeling much more prepared for this weekend's flat fishing trip now - knowing what to expect, and more importantly, what to do when they do "run". Can't wait, this should be a blast!
     
  11. Justin

    Justin New Member

    Messages:
    53
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Tom welcome to the BOC and good to have you on board buddy. Funny thing is that as you can tell from the different answers, there is no right answer here. It all depends on wether you have a circle hook or a regular hook or if your gonna tightline or use a baitfeeder. Not to mention every fish is different. You'll have some just smash it and take off, some will take it very slowly, and some will just take it so lightly you might not even be able to tell hes there if you don't have a very sensitive rod. But we only use circle hooks and tightline so thats what i'll tell you about. Now since we do use circle hooks and tightline we wait for the fish to load the pole. No matter what, you do not touch that pole until that rod bends atleast a quarter bend. Then pick up the rod and slightly pull back to feel for the fish, if you feel him, pull back a little more to help bury the hook. If you don't feel the fish, leave it laying where its at and put it back in the holder for atleast a few minutes before checking the bait or anything. Sometimes the flathead will take it again.:big_smile:
     
  12. cathunter28

    cathunter28 New Member

    Messages:
    136
    State:
    Iowa
    i would like to know what loading the reel is never heard of it before. i have had some flats just sit and not move the only time i know is when i go to check my bait but that isent very often.
     
  13. BigCatSteve

    BigCatSteve New Member

    Messages:
    638
    State:
    Huber Heights,Ohio
    good luck on the trip,i am planning on getting out tomorrow and chasing some ftals myself,hopefully we can come back with some pics of some nice fish
     
  14. catsrking

    catsrking New Member

    Messages:
    777
    State:
    Iowa
    Good luck to you as well. I am hoping to find some of them big 'ol good ones. I will definately have the camera on hand for the occasion.
     
  15. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    If you've ever seen a flathead over 25lbs you can see they have a huge mouth. They can eat anything you can throw out as bait. They will have the bait in their mouth if they are running. If it was a kill strike they wont be running, you'll just get a few clicks then nothing. Just wait for him to come back it'll be any where from 5 to 15 min. But when he's pulling steady he definately has the bait so don't wait to set the hook. I would advise that you engage the reel and wait for him to load up on the rod before you set. He will feel the bait slipping and will clamp his mouth down tight. You will lose less fish that way.
     
  16. catchinghogs

    catchinghogs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,558
    State:
    Pennsylvania
    All depends on the size of the bait and the type of run it is slow steady runs are usally big fish. What i do is disengage the baitrunner and keep the rod tip low and reel up the slack if I feel the weight of the fish i bury the hook, and what a great fealing that is. If i miss the hookset i leave the bait there for a couple of minutes to see if the fish comes back if the bait is still on the hook the catfish usally comes back.
     
  17. blackhorse83

    blackhorse83 New Member

    Messages:
    1,008
    State:
    missouri
    I don't let them run at all, if you are where the good ones are, they are close to cover and if you let them run you won't get'em.
     
  18. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    These guys gave you some real good advice. Sometimes a flattie will pull it stop and pull it again. You can fell what they or doing once you have the pole in your hand. When he pulls try to jerk him out of the water. I also am a kayle hook fan. To me half the fun is hooking him and felling that pole bending over. The key to the bait is "big bluegils", the bigger the better, as big as you can catch. The only thing better is a big ole rock bass .