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Jeff88

Catfish Hooks

15 posts in this topic

Hello everyone. I like to stock up on my fishing tackle before Spring comes. I will be fishing for Catfish on the Zumbro River and Chester Woods for the first time. My questions are regarding hooks.

Which style of hooks are recommended to use for Catfish? Circle, Wide Gap, etc? I'm not sure what the average size Catfish you can catch there, so I'm unsure on what size hooks to use.

Any information you can provide me would be much appreciated.

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Just last year Tyler and I got pretty serious about our catfishing. We really fished Zumbro quite hard. Out there you will catch sized varying from less than one pound up to low-mid teens. I would say that an average size fish out there would be right around 4-5lbs though. The biggest we caught was right under 14lbs. We did experiment with different hook shapes and sizes. I think that my almost final decision is a 1/o wide gape finnese gamakatsu. I do like the circle hooks though as well, I had good hook up % with them, I just like being able to giver the onion on the hook set! We also experimented with different bait as well. If you are stictly looking to catch many fish, but also miss many fish, go with chicken liver which can be found in the meat section of most any grocery store. But if you want better quality fish, go with cutbait. We pertty much stuck with cut sucker minnows. Both bait shops in Rochester will have these, they keep any that die and freeze them. Pretty reasonable price considering you will get roughly 3-4 pieces of cutbait from each minnow. I also tried some of the prepared "stinkbait" made by companies like powerbait and the like, this type was by far the poorest performing bait of choice. I can honestly say that I only had one bite all year on it and I missed the fish. When looking for them I would recommend looking to some of the deeper water near shallow water. While that is pretty general, and includes most of the lake, I will say that we caught catfish at EVERY spot that we tried during the open water season, shallow or deep. But the better fish seemed to come from deeper water. Maybe 20+ feet. All of the information mentioned has proven to catch fish on Zumbro, we never did get a chance to target them out at Chester woods, with the time restraints out there, closing at 10 pm I believe, we decided that we would do better where we could be out there whenever we wanted. Speaking of times, there is a "magic hour" that we called the power hour. The actual time of this power hour varies throughout the year, but it remains consistent with sunup. Half hour before and after sunrise there were times we couldn't keep up with the fish. Many doubles at this time of day. I hope this helps you in your ventures.

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My guess is that you are going to be fishing mostly cut bait on these hooks.

My favorite hook for channel cats is a 5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook. I always hook the piece of meat as lightly as possible. The more hook you have exposed the better chance of that circle hook doing it's job.

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i just picked up some 9/0 hooks from jim at gone fishing. these however i will use on teh miss. Tyler would know better than i but i personally have seen some enormous cats at chester and i think it recieves very little pressure and those that do fish it get discouraged quickly because it might be different that traditional cat waters. As far as hooks go i usually use some left over bassin stuff though some EWG hooks or Gami makes an oversized worm hook that is slowly becoming my favorite. Good luck

ike

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Do people catch cats through the ice at chester woods? What type of setup do you use?

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Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it. I will research the hooks you've mentioned. I have never used circle hooks before. Those of you that have what is the hookup percentage between circle hooks and other hook styles?

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As long as you do the hook set properly, I think that there isn't really a difference. With a circle, you more or less pull on the line slowly rather than a nice hard hook set. If you do that, you will pull the hook out of the fish's mouth, but if you slowly pull on it, the hook will slide to the corner of the mouth and the point will then penetrate the corner of the mouth. Once you have established that initial penetration, then you can give a little bit more of a pull, but not too much. Sharp hooks are key with circle hooks in my opinion.

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As crazy mentioned, we did tons of experimenting with hooks out there. Tru-turns with the bait holders seemed to take many chicken liver cats. Size 2-1 is what I mainly used. For cut bait I went through the gauntlet of hooks and landed on the Gamu finess wide gap hook being my favorite at this point. 1/0 - 4/0, with a red 2/0 being my preferred most of the time.

Change bait often! If your serious about cattin, a bait clicker reel is nice for detecting bites after dark. Also a rod with a softer rod tip and a rod tip light are nice. I use all braided lines for cattin.

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I had another quick question regarding Weights. Didn't want to waste space making a whole new thread. The rod that I use right now is a 7ft 6inch medium Heavy spinning rod. Rated for up to 1 ounce weights. What size weight should I be using on the Zumbro? Would my current rod work?

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It should work just fine. As tyler mentioned, if you don't have a baitfeeder reel yet, get one. They are amazing fish catching tools. Without them they will feel your rod and reel almost everytime. We have used everything from 1/2 oz up to 1 1/2 oz. Just depends on water depth, and current.

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Currently I don't own a baitfeeder reel, however do you think I will do okay without this feature? I fish for Carp without a baitfeeder reel and do fine, but I don't know about Catfishing. Maybe I could set the drag really loose, then when I get a fish tighten it back up?

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You certainly don't need a baitfeeder/clicker. Your current setup will work just fine. When you say Medium Heavy, that sounds a little stiff for the smaller channels, but it will work. It would be best if its a light tip (not a musky style MH rod). In Lake Zum I normally don't even use 1oz weight. 1/2 - 3/4 is plenty, rigged slip style.

Setting the drag really loose to detect bites might be something to try if they are bitting light, or dropping the bait when the feel the tension of your rod.

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Thanks for the help.

My rod is Medium Heavy Power with a fast tip action. What type of sinkers do you prefer? I use Egg type sinkers for Carp fishing on Silver lake, would these be appropriate for Zumbro?

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egg sinkers are fine. Rarely does lake Zum have enough current to push a 1/2 oz weight, so pretty much any weight will work. I've grown fond of the bass sinkers because they are easier on your line as they have the brass line through swivels.

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With no bait clicker you may want to try circle hooks. I rarely use the clicker when fishing with circle hooks. Just put the rod in the holder and let the cat hook itself.

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