When you first start fishing, one hook is as good as the next, but as time goes by you slowly learn that some are superior to others. Some hooks set better. Some hooks are better suited to certain species. Some hooks are lower priced so you don’t care if they snag. Some hooks stay sharp longer. Some seem charmed. Here’s a list of the ten best hooks for the pursuit of catfish. They’re just the thing for putting a whiskered nemesis on the end of your line.

1. Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp

This is a Kahle hook and the first choice of those who go after the big ones. From an economy perspective, these are also the best hooks to keep on hand because they can be used for a multitude of purposes. You can even use them for saltwater fishing — with fish of similar size, of course. These are the ones you’ll reach for most often.

Catch and release fishing is a common practice among fishermen in Maryland. A catfish just caught is seen on a hook

Image credit: grandbrothers via Shutterstock

2. Boss Kat Super Boss

As the name implies, this hook is designed specifically for catfish and will do the job quite satisfactorily. The Boss Kat features a specialized point that more or less ensures the hook will properly set in the fish’s jaw every time. Use a proper Snell knot with this hook and you can’t miss. You’ll be frying catfish in no time.

3. Mustad O’Shaugnessy

This is a trotline hook and a rather classic choice. Folks don’t use trotline hooks for Catfish as much as they once did, but if you’ve got a bunch of them lying around, they’ll still work just fine. Be careful setting these if you’re fishing in a catch-and-release area. These set well, but they set in the fish’s gut, as opposed to the jaw.

4. Gamakatsu Octopus Hook

This is another circle hook with a specialized hook point. They work great, but they’re literally so sharp that it’s easy to nail yourself with them. Be careful getting them out of the packaging and be careful pulling them out of the fish. The coating on these should keep infection to a minimum, but it won’t do anything about the pain.

two treble hooks

Image credits: ds 30 via Pixabay

5. Mustad Classic Kingfish

This is a treble hook, which you don’t hear of much these days. If you’re going to use a treble hook you need to fish in an area where you can keep the fish. If that’s the case, there is nothing like a good treble hook to guarantee success. Heck, they’re three times the hook others are.

6. Limerick Hooks

These are the hooks to go with when you’re after smaller catfish that require proportionally smaller bait. You can’t hang half a chicken on one of these, but they offer a great feel and will get the job done consistently. They’re also a lot easier to get out, most of the time.

7. Red Dead Red Treble

These are perfect for channel cats. What most folks appreciate about them is the enlarged hook eye that lets you tie them off with less frustration. Keep in mind that these are treble hooks and you’re liable to gut hook the fish with them. This can complicate things in catch-and-release areas.

a collection of fish hooks

Image credits: ds 30 via Pixabay

8. Jackhammer Hooks

In terms of shape, these are a blend of a circle hook and an octopus hook. Some folks swear by them. Others think they’re a half-measure or a compromise. You can get great deals on them from time to time, so, either way, they’re worth trying when the price is right.

9. Double Action Hooks

Here we have another hook design that is somewhat of a blending of the circle hook and the octopus hook, leaning toward the octopus in general shape. The points of these hooks are designed to set quite well and some folks prefer them to all others.

10. Your Hand

Hey, if nothing up above will get the job done, try noodling. It’s not the most refined method for getting a catfish, but it requires a lot less contemplation of hook design. If nothing else, feeling around inside a live fish should give you an idea of what to look for in your next hook purchase. It’s literally first-hand research.

When it comes to buying hooks, anglers have a tendency to mull their options over a bit too much. There’s nothing wrong with taking an interest in your equipment, but you shouldn’t place it above the enjoyment of the sport. Buy a few small bags of hooks to get started and see what works in your area. The testing is half the fun. Good luck and good fishing.