What Size Hook For Flathead Catfish?

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When you go for a tenacious fish, something like a Flathead catfish that is going to put up a big fight. One of the most important things that you need to do is to have the right kind and size of hook.

Yes, there are many different sizes of hooks out there, and it can get quite confusing. So, what size of hook for Flathead catfish is best?

Generally speaking, you will want to use either a 3/0 or 5/0 size hook, something that is large enough to deal with a big flathead catfish. Now, with that being said, do remember that the size of the hook is going to depend more on the size of the bait that you are using, not just the size of the catfish you are going for. Let’s explain.


What Size Hooks For Flathead Are Best?

As mentioned above, the two best sizes of fishing hooks for flathead catfish include the size 3/0 and the 5/0 hooks.

In case you are not aware of fish hook sizing, these are some of the larger hooks out there, although of course not the very largest.

However, do also keep in mind that how large the hook does also depends on the size of the bait.

For instance, if you are trying to lure in a catfish using a relatively large frog or another late baitfish, you might want to use a size 5/0 or even a 6/0 hook.

On the other hand, if you are using a small baitfish or a grub, something like a wax worm, then a size 3/0 or even a size 2/0 should do just fine.

What Types Of Hooks Are Best For Flathead Catfish?

One of the things that you might be wondering is if circle hooks are good for flathead catfish.

The answer here is that yes, in fact, circle hooks size 6/0 are usually considered the number one best type of hook to go with when it comes to flathead catfishing.

Circle Hooks

The fact here is that circle hooks have a really great shape for catfish mouths.

Catfish mouths are very large, and they also have a proclivity for spitting bait and hooks back out.

The circular shape of the hook will help to prevent the flathead catfish from being able to spit it out. The rounded shape really digs right into the cheeks with extreme ease.

Circle hooks also have a very large curve with plenty of space to fit a large piece of bait in between the tip and the shank.

Circle hooks also offer a great presentation, especially with large pieces of bait.

Keep in mind that some people use circle hooks as large as size 10/0 or even 12/0, depending on the size of the bait.

Live Bait Hooks

Another great type of hook to use for Flathead catfishing is a live bait hook.

Of course, a live bait hook is best used with lime bait. Flathead catfish will go for all sorts of live bait, particularly things like small minnows, and the larger fish like larger bait.

Live bait hooks are great because they allow the minnows to swim freely in the water, thus attracting maximum attention.

Generally speaking, this type of hook is best used for smaller catfish, although you can technically also find larger live bait hooks.

Suicide Hooks

Yet another type of hook that works well for catfish fishing is the so-called suicide hook, which is otherwise known as the beak hook.

As you might be able to tell, the beak hook features a special point that is turned sideways.

The main advantage that you get with this type of suicide hook is a good hookset.

As you might know, catfish are known for spitting out hooks and bait, which makes achieving a good hook set fairly difficult in some cases.

But getting a good hookset is your main priority. Been using a suicide hook is a good way to go.

Treble Hooks

If you want a good hookset as well as a hook that is very likely to stay in the mouth of the catfish, then a good choice to go with is the good old treble hook.

If two heads are better than one, then three points are definitely better than one.

Treble hooks are fantastic for many different purposes and yes, this includes Flathead catfishing.

What Line Do You Use For Flatheads?

One of the most important things that you need to know about Flathead catfish is that they have a row of very sharp teeth that can easily eat through fishing line.

For this reason, when you go fishing for Flathead catfish, you generally want to avoid monofilament fishing line as it is not overly resistance to abrasion.

Now, you can use monofilament fishing line if you choose, but if you do then you want to use either a braided or a fluorocarbon leader, or maybe even a metal leader.

The main thing to remember here is that you need to have some kind of abrasion resistant fishing line to ensure that those sharp teeth of the catfish cannot chew straight through it.

Although metal wire leaders are definitely very abrasion resistant, do keep in mind that they are also quite visible underwater, which makes a nearly invisible fluorocarbon leader your best bet, and make sure that it features at least 12 pounds tests.

That aside, another important thing to realize here is that catfish can be pretty big fighters, and they can actually weigh quite a bit too, which means that you do also want very strong fishing line that has a high pound test rating.

You need to know how big the catfish in the area are, but with that said, something that has at least 15 or 20 pounds of weight behind it is ideal.

So when it comes down to it, a good Flathead catfishing rig might look something like this: a 20 pound test monofilament line combined with a 20 pound test fluorocarbon leader, attached to a circle hook fitted with some excellent bait of your choosing.

How Do You Target Big Flathead Catfish?

The number one most important thing that you need to know about very large Flathead catfish is the fact that they really don’t eat invertebrates or forage for food.

Although most catfish are known to be scavengers and bottom feeders, the biggest Flathead catfish generally are hunters.

This means that your number one best bet at targeting a large Flathead catfish is to use another live fish as bait, especially a fairly large live fish.
Of course, this means that you want to use a large live bait hook. Various types of fish work really well to were in Flathead catfish ones such as chubs goldfish, bullheads, carp, suckers and sunfish. Just remember folks, do you need to match the size of your hook to the size of the bait.

Also remember that during the daytime with big Flathead catfish will usually go to the deeper waters to hide from predators above.

For your best chances at catching Flathead catfish if it is daytime, go to deeper water, and if it is nighttime, go to the shallows.



There you have it people, everything you need to know about the right hook types and sizes, as well as what kind of fishing line you need to use for flathead catfish.

If you follow the tips as outlined here today, you should have no problems catching large specimens.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.