Catfish are one of the most popular species for anglers to catch. But with so much gear and equipment out on the market today, choosing a hook can be overwhelming, especially for newer catfish anglers. For this reason, we went ahead and picked out what we deemed as the five best hooks for catfish. 

We examined multiple styles from treble, circle, kahle, octopus, and bait hooks. In this review, we break down which of these hooks are best for targeting different catfish species, the distinct benefits of each hook style, how to use them effectively, and which ones are best for holding live and artificial baits. After reading this comprehensive roundup, you will find which of these hooks will suit your needs for catfishing.

Hook and Bullet Top 5 Catfish Hooks for 2022

Mustad Classic 4x Strong Kingfish Treble Hook - The Best Hooks for Catfish – Our 2022 GuideMustad Classic 4x Strong Kingfish Treble Hook
  • Hook Style: Treble
  • Finishes: Bronze and black nickel
  • Best for: Stink baits
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Team Catfish Double-Action Circle Hook - The Best Hooks for Catfish – Our 2022 GuideTeam Catfish Double-Action Circle Hook
  • Hook Style: Circle
  • Finishes: Dead red and black nickel
  • Best for: Live and manufactured baits
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Eagle Claw 8/0 King Kahle - The Best Hooks for Catfish – Our 2022 GuideEagle Claw 8/0 King Kahle
  • Hook Style: Kahle
  • Finishes: Multi-colored
  • Best for: Live baits
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Gamakatsu 6/0 Octopus Hook - The Best Hooks for Catfish – Our 2022 GuideGamakatsu 6/0 Octopus Hook
  • Hook Style: Octopus
  • Finishes: Black and red
  • Best for: Live baits
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Magic Big Bite Dough Bait Treble Hooks - The Best Hooks for Catfish – Our 2022 GuideMagic Big Bite Dough Bait Treble Hooks
  • Hook Style: Treble
  • Finishes: Silver
  • Best for: Soft baits
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Why Can You Trust Us?

My friends and I, jugging at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

I am an avid catfish angler with years of experience fishing on Lake of the Ozarks here in South Central Missouri. Just like some of you, when I started catfishing, I had the same questions floating in my head. Some of these questions being:

  • Which hook style should I use?
  • What hook size works best?
  • Which hook will keep me from gut hooking my fish?
  • What hook will keep my dough bait from flying off?

Here at HnB, we genuinely want to help answer these questions and direct you towards which of these products will specifically meet your catfishing needs.

Best Hook for Channel Catfish

dark gray channel catfish

Dark gray channel catfish

Treble hooks are standard catfish hooks for any kind of fishing. They work especially well when you’re trying to hook channel catfish. You can find treble hooks at any fishing supply store or website but you want to avoid a cheap hook whenever possible because poor quality metal, you run the risk of both bending and rust. Trebles are ideal for punch baits and dip baits. The extra hooks allow it to hold better. Simply push the treble into the bait and it will latch on.

    Mustad Classic 4x Strong Kingfish Treble Hook
    Treble hooks are an essential item for anglers targeting channel catfish. Mustad’s treble hooks contain high-quality materials and are durable enough to withstand multiple strikes. Mustad’s hook feature a triple grip design to enhance its hooking and bait holding abilities.

Why We Like It: I love the durability and quality of Mustad’s treble hooks. Not only are they sharp, but they’re also strong, so you don’t have to worry about them bending or breaking off from an aggressive strike. Additionally, the shape of these hooks is great for holding onto punch or dough baits.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers actively targeting eating-sized channel catfish with stink baits.

Best Hook for Flathead Catfish

Large fat brown flathead catfish

Large fat brown flathead catfish

Circle hooks are by far the most popular choice when it comes to catfishing as they are easy to handle and good for both large and small baits. When used properly, the hooking percentage with circle hooks is high and have been shown to increase the survival of angler released fish because catfish are almost always hooked shallow.

    Team Catfish Double-Action Circle Hook
    Team Catfish’s double-action circle hook is an optimal hook for targeting flathead catfish. With these hooks, you can set the hook in three ways: sweep your rod, burn your reel, or let the fish buy your pool and hook themselves.

Why We Like It: Team Catfish’s double-action circle hooks have a tremendous hook-up ratio and are durable enough to withstand the strike of more sizable catfish like flathead catfish. Also, these circle hooks are sharp, making it easy to rig up live bluegill on them. Additionally, Team Catfish has these circle hooks available in sizes 5/0, 8/0, and 10/0, perfect for larger fish.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers looking for a quality, durable circle hook for targetting flathead catfish.

Best Hook for Large Bait

Khale hooks are not for beginners and are intended for a huge chunk of live bait, stinkbait, chicken livers, or whatever else the catfish may be biting. These are deadly hooks, not suitable for catch and release. They hook a fish much farther back in the mouth, often in the throat or gill area.

    Eagle Claw 8/0 King Kahle
    Eagle Claw is known for its reliable and rugged hooks manufactured here in the United States. Eagle Claw continues to prove themselves with this durable kahle styled hooks, ideal for keeping larger-sized baits on your hook.

Why We Like It: I can bait Eagle Claw’s King Kahle confidently with large baits and not worry about it coming off my hook. These Kahle hooks work phenomenally for presenting live gizzard shad, bluegills, or big chunks of cut-up carp. Plus, the wide gap design mixed with its sharp point allows for a deeper hookup than circle hooks.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers who need a reliable hook for rigging up larger baits for targeting trophy-sized catfish.

Best Hook for Live Bait

The octopus hook was originally designed for use with live bait, in situations where the smallest, lightest hook is essential for a natural presentation and they work perfectly for channel and flathead catfish. Using smaller bream or baitfish to an octopus hook lets them swim freely, so octopus hooks are great for drifting or sticking under a bobber.

    Gamakatsu 6/0 Octopus Hook
    Unlike circle hooks, the Gamakatsu octopus hook features an offset point design, giving it more force for a deeper hookup. These hooks are strong and versatile, making them an excellent choice for either saltwater or freshwater fishing.

Why We Like It: I enjoy using the Gamakatsu octopus hook with live bait because they allow for a more natural presentation. Furthermore, to get the best presentation, I like to pair this hook with a uni knot when I’m drifting with live bait. Plus, not only are these hooks sharp and stout, but they’re also dependable, especially when you have a monster-sized catfish fighting you at the end of your line.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers who want a more natural presentation when using live bait.

Best Hook for Artificial Bait

    Magic Big Bite Dough Bait Treble Hooks
    Are you tired of your stink baits flying off your hook after every cast? These Magic dough bait hooks feature a built-in spring around the treble hook’s shank to keep your dough and punch baits secure during a cast.

Why We Like It: Magic’s dough bait treble hooks are my go-to hook when using manufactured baits. Additionally, I like these hooks because they keep my punch bait from getting stolen by turtles in the lake. This hook style works well for targeting eating-sized catfish under five pounds.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers catfishing primarily with artificial stink baits.

How to Pick the Right Hook Size?

Catfish with hook in mouth lying on pebble beach.

Now that you understand what style hook would work for your catfishing needs, we’ll explain picking the correct hook size for your application. At times, reading hook sizes can be tricky for beginner anglers. Here is a simple way to remember how to read hook sizes correctly. For example, hook sizes are categorized in two different numbering systems:

  1. The first numbering system begins with the smallest hook starting at size 32 and the biggest hook being a size 1.
  2. The second numbering system is the “aught” series, which begins with hooks larger than a size 1. The aught series starts with 1/0 hooks being the smallest and 20/0 hooks being the maximum size.

Most Common Treble Hook Sizes for Catfishing

Usually, when catfishing with treble hooks, anglers typically carry between a size 6 and 2. Specifically, anything smaller than a size 6 will likely get swallowed by catfish, leaving you with a gut hooked fish.

Most Common Circle, Kahle, and Octopus Hook Sizes

Typically, the rule of thumb is when you are targetting sizable catfish, you want to use a bigger-sized hook. However, I honestly wouldn’t go any larger than a 10/0 hook for catfishing. 10/0 hooks are great if you are exclusively going for trophy-sized cats.

Furthermore, since these types of hooks set themselves along the catfish’s lip, you want to ensure your hook isn’t too small, or else it’ll slide right out of the fish’s mouth. When catfishing, I like to use a 5/0 and an 8/0 hook on average.

How We Picked

Here at HnB, we wanted to ensure we picked the best style hooks manufactured by reputable brands for each style of catfishing, so we could match the best one to suit your needs. We chose these hooks based on our personal experience with these products, and we conducted extensive research on what style would be best for each catfishing scenario.

To illustrate, the criteria these hooks had to meet to make it on this list is they needed to be:

  • Durable
  • Sharp
  • Reliable
  • Well-designed

Also, these hooks must be proven to have excellent hook-up ratios and keep bait secure, whether you’re fishing with artificial or live baits.

Choosing the Best Hook Style for Your Needs

At times, choosing the right hook style can be challenging because you need to look at all of the available sizes and consider what type of catfishing you will likely be doing. For instance, you may find some of these hook styles work better for you than others; however, one hook proves to be the most versatile from this list.

Overall, the best hook you can use for running jugs, bank poles, limb lines, trotlines, or even your average rod and reel is the: Team Catfish double-action circle hook. Team Catfish’s hook screams quality with its proven durability, making it more than capable of withstanding strikes from average-sized channel cats to massive flatheads.

However, if you find yourself fishing exclusively with artificial stink baits, I recommend sticking to a quality soft bait holder like the Magic dough bait treble hook. The Magic treble hook will surely keep your dip, punch, and dough baits secured, cast after cast.

Which hook style do you prefer to use? Are you excited to try one of these five best hooks for catfishing? Let us know in the comments below. Or, how about clicking that share button if this article assisted you in picking out the perfect catfishing hook.