When to set the hook on flathead catfish?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Chief, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Chief

    Chief New Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    Indiana
    been havnin trouble getting a good hookset. heres my setup. penn level wind reel (says it has a baitclicker but i cant figure it out) ugly stik catfish rod medium heavy. 40 lb stren high impact. pyrimid sinker swivel and eagle claw baitholder(cant remember the size) with live bluegill. ok i cast it out, prop the rod in a holder, put a bell on the rod, hit the free spool, and tighten the spool back up so a fish can run with out tension. the bell jingles a few sharp times and line starts running out of the spool. i pick the rod up and set the hook into nothing. do i need to let them run longer? do flatheads sit there and munch on the bluegill for awhile?
     
  2. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    cheif, try using circle hooks


    you don't set the hook with them, the fish does it themselves.
     

  3. wishiwasfishin

    wishiwasfishin New Member

    Messages:
    776
    State:
    kentucky
    maybe you should try out circle hooks they seem to hook there self.me my self i use a float 95% of the time so when that float drops......oh yeah yank'em out of the water but it's best when they yank you in the water:)

    also try dynamite it works well for fish that want bite
     
  4. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    It may not be a flathead , gar will run with a bait and are vary hard to hook. Do you get the bait back? If so look for teeth marks on it.Small flatheads sometime only have a part of the bait in their mouth and it pulls out on the hook set.
     
  5. Rat

    Rat New Member

    Messages:
    236
    State:
    Forrest Illinoi
    Chief, if it's a large bluegill and small weight, it might be your bait running around with the reel in freespool.
    On the side of your Penn, there'll be a little knob that you can slide up and down. Slid down, the clicker is on. Slid up, the clicker is off. (it only moves about 1/4 inch up or down) On my Penn 209 the clicker button is on the left side of the reel as the reel is on the rod and you are looking down at it. There's another bigger knob on the same side, but that is the spool tension adjustment knob.
    Rat
     
  6. Chief

    Chief New Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    Indiana
    i have another post about circle hooks in general catfishing! tell me what ya think there! when i do reel it in i get the bluegill back and it is tore up a little. i'm using pretty small bluegill. 3-5 inch.
     
  7. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    If by tore up you mean the skin is riped I would say it is gar.A flat head bit is more of a crush. I can't help you with circles as i don't use them.
     
  8. tdpasser

    tdpasser New Member

    Messages:
    829
    State:
    Gilbert AZ
    Try using a sliding egg sinker because they wont drag the pyrmid lead around. let the fish run for a while then let the line tighten and straighted with the rod lowered then sink the hook past the barb with a good hook-set. I love regular j hooks because setting the hook is part of the fun. circles you just tighten the line and let the fish rip through the blue gill and then the hook goes into the corner of the mouth no thanks I'd rather do the hook setting. Yes let then run steady then whale on'em. I know circles work many brother here swear by them I'm just not one of them. Good luck with the flatties. Oh, make sure you find the clicker and loosen the drag enough. Don't use the antibacklash knob if that's what your trying.
     
  9. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    chief sounds like you are fishing on the bottom but last fall i got into the flatheads with a slip cork in 60ft of water. if i tried to feel the fish before setting the hook i would miss that fish everytime. i found it better to just start snatching tring to set the hook without feeling the fish. might have to set the hook 3-4 times before i ever felt the fish. this increased my hook sets 90 percent. the good thing about the corks too is if it goes down you something is on the other end. i dont use circle hooks doing this.
     
  10. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Messages:
    1,029
    State:
    Akron, Ohio
    Chief

    OPINIONS!!

    The Flatheads will bite many different ways Chief, different on cut vs live too.
    My answer when free lining is you set the hook before they drop the bait ;) !!

    There is a right way and a wrong way to place a off-set hook Cheif, if that is what you are using. The Tabby Cats will take the live bait head first so the hook will then be pointed at the baits tail and at that stage the barb and off-set should be pointed up away from the bait.

    IF, yes I said if you ALWAYS want to be prepared stay with the bait holder or "J" type hooks. From what little I've seen circles will not always work if they are biting real lite and YOU HAVE TO set the hook fast!!!!!!

    On cut I've seen them set on a bait while tight-lining and there be NO SIGN OF A BITE ! Also I've seen them only tap/mouth the bait for days (not hours) and they would not move with it. Seen a few post here with people taking about getting their lines slimmed, catfish body rubbing the baits, little fish botherin their cuts baits, etc., etc.. Up here on the Ohio River and I see that I gets FLATHEADS and I'm still wet behind the ears Cheif!!!!!!!!

    There are times when I'm lucky to get a 10% hook-up ratio and dang proud of it too.

    I know this may not answer what is happening to you but does give you some insight to what they will do. http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6262
     
  11. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    softshell turtles will do the same.
     
  12. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Since you say you're using small gills for bait,I don't think you are missing flatheads. It's Gar or turtles, maybe small channels but you should be able to catch at least one channel if that was the case. Flats engulf the bait, If you still think its flats.then the next time line starts coming off engage the reel as soon as possible and let the fish "load up" on the rod before setting the hook. A gar or turtle will drop the bait then attack it again right away. A flathead will hold on,like the bait is getting away from him.Don't let them run,you'll lose more than you catch if you let them get back into a snag.
     
  13. barbel

    barbel New Member

    Messages:
    486
    State:
    Somewhere
    I didn't read to see if this had already been answered yet, but the baitclicker shouldl be a little metal peg on the left side of the reel. You push it down to engage it. But as far as setting the hook, what I have heard and experienced is that the flathead will crunch the bait in its mouth, which pulls on it a little (thus causing the bell jingles and run) and then they will come back and eat it a few minutes later after it dies. So what I would suggest is to let it run longer with the bait and either let it get it in its mouth, or let it eat it. At that point it would be good to set the hook.
     
  14. lilgriz

    lilgriz New Member

    Messages:
    436
    State:
    Aurora, KY
    in my experiences flathead fishin i let the fish run bout 10-15 yards of line out before i set the hook, but i also use bout a 6-8 inch bluegill for bait so there is good bit to get in there mouth. so far it has worked for me.
     
  15. okiekrawler

    okiekrawler New Member

    Messages:
    147
    State:
    roland ,oklahoma
    i would have to say you are in some gar also. alot of times it seems that gar will chew up the bait and when they feel tension they either turn it loose or you will start getting slack in your line as the gar is running the bait toward you. i see this happen alot while bank fishin. if you want toknow for sure if it is gar, just let that bait set out there. those gar will keep jackin with it til they get the line around their bill and the fight is on. most of the time the line will not be cut and you can land one.
     
  16. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,229
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    From my experience with flatheads using live bait fish, not always but most of the time they have what is called a kill strike. This strike will take out a few yards of line then they will drop the bait, come back and grab the bait again to eat it, the second run will take out more line than the first kill strike. About 90% of the flatheads that I have caught came from setting the hook hard during the 2nd run.

    Now when using circle hooks, the same technique applies only I dont set the hook hard, I just raise the rod and point the tip out toward where the line is and engage the reel. Then let the flathead run the line tight until he is hooked, raise the rod tip toward the sky and start reeling in.

    There are many different techniques used by all, but this has been the most successful for me.
     
  17. slimepig

    slimepig New Member

    Messages:
    666
    State:
    Kerrville Texas
    sounds like gar to me.
     
  18. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    What wolfman said. Gars are a problem, too, but I think you may also be trying to set the hook too soon, if it is a flathead. I seldom hook one on the first short run. When tightlining, they will often pull down, hold it, then the rod will ease up. that's when you get ready and set the hook when he moves off again. Circle hooks make it a lot easier, though. If the bait has tooth marks, it is most likely gar.
     
  19. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    Remember not all runs are flatheads, I get many more runs from gar and turtles than I do flatheads.
     
  20. Chief

    Chief New Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    Indiana
    thanks for the great info. i agree with it being gars cause there everywhere....dang wabash....oh and thanks for the hint on the baitclicker on my penn...who would of ever thought that little knob moved..LOL!