Know What Sizes of Hooks are Better for Catching Catfish

hook size for catfish

Catfish have thick lips that are difficult to penetrate. To catch catfish without any hassle, you must get creative. Firstly, choose the hook size based on the type of hook you are using and the catfish species.

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Next, be open for a little experimentation. Experts suggest switching the hook types and sizes until you narrow down the right one. This post will help you pick the right size hook for Catfish.

So What Sizes of Hooks are Better for Catching Catfish?

Types of Hooks Suitable for Catching Catfish

1. Circle Hook

A circle hook is a fishing hook with a sharp curve that turns inward. Whether you are planning to catch Catfish for your next meal or just for fun, a circle hook is the best option. The shape of this hook makes it difficult for Catfish to swallow it, hence the low mortality rate.

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The hook catches the fish at the corner of their mouth. So they can be easily unhooked. You can send it back into the water after taking measurements and pictures.

J hook by a circle hook

The hook in the above image is a circle hook. As you can see, the end of the hook is curved inwards and has a notch to secure the fish.

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To catch a Catfish with a circle hook, toss the line in the water with live bait and wait for the fish to bite, and once you feel the bite, lean back and reel in.

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2. J-Hook

A J-hook is a fishing hook with a pointy and straight end. Unlike a circle hook, there is no notch on the inner side of a J-hook. The design of a J-hook makes it very difficult for the Catfish to get away with the bait.

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In most cases, they swallow the hook (also known as “gut hooking”). Or the hook gets pierced through their lips. Before using a J-hook to catch Catfish, make sure they are legal in the region you are fishing.

3. Treble Hook

Treble hooks are meant to be used with artificial lures (mainly, crankbaits and jerk baits). Although, some can be used with powerbait dough. It is the first choice of professional anglers.

Unlike circle hooks and J-hooks, treble hooks do not last long. Most anglers replace them after one or two outings. Treble hooks are vulnerable to corrosion and rust as they are used to catch hardhead catfish in saltwater.


4. Kahle Hook

A Kahle hook is a combination of a circle hook and a J-hook. The hook points towards the eye (instead of upwards or inwards) of the hook. There is a massive debate in the fishing community about whether a Kahle hook is better than J-hook.


Some anglers believe that J-hooks are good enough to get the job done. And, a Kahle hook makes it easy for a Catfish to get away after the bite.

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The fact of the matter is that a Kahle hook has a wide gap between the shank and the point. Hence, they can hold large live bait, such as gills and rotten meat.


Furthermore, Kahle hooks are designed for “self-hooking” a Catfish. Meaning, once the fish bites the bait, you may not reel in immediately. Hence, you have a better percentage of hookups with Kahle hooks than its counterparts.

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What Size Hook is Better for Catfish

Smaller-sized fish hooks are grouped by “sizes.” A “size 1” hook is larger than “size 2”. On the other hand, large-sized hooks are classified by a unit called “aught.” A #1/0 fish hook is considered as median on the scale. #2/0 is large than #1/0, so on and so forth.

When it comes to choosing the right size of a hook for Catfishing, you must consider the size of the fish and bait. Smaller hooks are good at penetrating a Catfish’ tough skin, whereas a larger hook can hold onto the fish till it is retrieved onto the deck.

For medium-sized Bluefin Catfish and Flathead Catfish, I would suggest using a 7-aught circle hook or J-hook. You can go for a 10-aught hook for larger Catfish.

If you are unable to decide the hook’s right size, you can experiment with several hook sizes in one fishing spot. Pick the one that offers optimal results.

Furthermore, if you are going to be using a Kahle hook for Catfishing, you can go for a 7-aught hook for medium-sized bait and 10-aught hook for larger bait. Just attach the bait and relax in the boat. You don’t have to watch the float or the bobber all the time.

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What Sizes of Hooks are Better for Catching Catfish Summary

Unfortunately, there is no international standard for fish hooks. Hence the hook terminology and its size vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

It is recommended that you pick one brand and stick to it indefinitely.

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