What Size Hook for Catfish

Catfish usually have different physical attributes that require suitable fishing gear for the perfect execution of the game plan. Using a particular size hook can ultimately influence the success ratio of catfish hunting. You can also use the older one if you are an experienced angler. That said, what is the perfect hook size for catfish?

The rule of thumb in deciding on an appropriate hook size is that you should first try using a smaller hook. These smaller hooks will help you with easy penetration. However, it largely depends on the kind of catfish you want to catch. If you fail to catch one with a smaller hook, you will undoubtedly go for a larger hook with a sturdy build quality.

A proper understanding of the different types of fishing hooks and how they work will help you select the best one that meets your requirements. This blog discusses the variety of multiple fishing hooks available on the market before recommending appropriate hook sizes for catfish.

What are the Different Styles of Catfish Hooks?

What are the Different Styles of Catfish Hooks

There are 3 different styles of fishing hooks that we deem highly important for catfish hunting. The following section of the blog will describe them in detail.

Circle Hooks

The most common hook style used for catfish hunting is a circle hook. The reason why we prefer circle hooks over others is that the design of circle hooks prevents any possible harm during the process, and catching becomes easier. 

Circle hooks use a more curved design than a traditional J-shaped hook that results in the harmless execution of the hunt. Additionally, it features a curved point that also prevents catfish from getting injured. As a result, the chance of catching a live catfish increases many folds.

Moreover, the overall design and build quality of circular hooks require targeting the catfish on lips that prevent mortality. As a result, circle hooks enjoy more preferences when it comes to catch-and-release fishing. 

What Size Circle Hooks Do You Need for Catfish?

The size of the circular catfish hook depends on the size of the catfish and the type of bait you are going to use. You can utilize any 5/0 or higher size hook for catching medium-sized catfish. As far as large species such as Blue Catfish are concerned, you can go with bigger sizes such as 12/0 and higher. 

In general, you should avoid using too-small hooks as they eliminate the possibility of catching a living catfish. The struggle and effort required to successfully acquire a catfish also increase manifold when you use a smaller circle hook. 

However, you should also avoid excessively oversized circular hooks that may not yield the desired results as the fish will not bite them due to their size. In this regard, the only thing you need to remember is always try to maintain a balance between the catfish’s size and the size of the hook. Never use too smaller or bigger a circle hook for catching catfish. 

Treble Hooks

The presence of 3 hooks connected to the same shank increases the desirability of treble hooks for catfish catch. The chances of having a successful catfish catch increase manifolds as the hook contains multiple points for a timely trap. However, treble hooks are not suitable for release and catch fishing.

The overall design and presence of multiple points for trapping on a treble hook make it a highly damaging tool. As a result, the chances of catching a living fish plummet when you use a treble hook for catfish hunting.

What Size Treble Hooks Do You Need for Catfish?

For medium-sized species of catfish, any size that is between 4 and 8 works fine. However, always prefer a size 1 treble hook if you want to use a normal scale hook for large fish, including the Blue catfish family and others.

As there are 3 hooks in the case of treble hooks, you should always pay detailed attention to the size of the hook. For instance, some sellers use the collective size of a hook for advertisement. In this regard, a 12-size hook means 3 hooks of 4 inches each. 

On the other hand, some manufacturers use different hook sizes in their advertisements. To that end, a size 8 treble hook means the length of every hook is 6. That is why we would advise you to check sizes carefully before you make a final choice.

Kahle Hooks

If you use a larger bait for catching catfish, you better go for a Kahle hook. The presence of a wide gap is the defining feature of this type of fishing hook that allows users to utilize a more extensive, attractive bait for a successful catch. In essence, you can use live bait, grasshoppers, chicken liver, and stinkbait with a Kahle hook.

What Size Kahle Hooks Do You Need for Catfish?

The size and physical appearance of Kahle hooks resemble J-shaped hooks. The success of using a Kahle hook depends on the type of catfish species and the type of bait you want to use. However, there are some basic guidelines in this regard too.

For lightweight catfish, you can use any size between 2/0 and 4/0. However, it would be best to use Kahle hooks of size 8/0 or higher for hefty blue catfish. That said, you can adjust these sizes based on your experience and expertise in the field.

Different Types of Fishing Hook Scales

There are two generic scale fishing hooks that you can try for angling. The normal and aught scales are the two possible options in this regard.

Normal Scale

Normal scale, as the name suggests, uses numbers to describe a hook size. The greater the number, the smaller the hook size. In general, you will find a hook size of 1 to 20 on a normal scale. This thing represents that you have a variety of options on the normal scale too. 

It is pertinent to mention here that any number on a scale does not represent the absolute size of inches. For instance, if you are using a 12-size hook, it does not mean the size of the hook is 12 inches. Instead, the number 12 describes the relative hook size compared to others.

Another thing to keep in mind is the absence of manufacturing standards for fishing hooks. That is why an 8-size hook from one company may not be similar to an 8-size hook from the other company. 

Aught Scale

The hook sizes on the aught scale are described by any number divided by zero, i.e. ( 1/0, 8/0, 6/0, 12/0), etc. Contrary to the aught scale, the smaller the first number on the hook, the smaller the hook. 

What is the Difference Between the Two?

The noticeable difference between normal and aught scales is the presence of distinguishing notations on the hooks. As already discussed, you will have a different number notation on aught and normal scales. In addition, the measurement of sizes varies significantly between the two.

The smallest size on the aught scale is larger than the smallest one on a normal scale. For instance, a size 8 hook on a normal scale is smaller than an 8/0 size hook on the aught scale.

If you are dealing with smaller fish species, you will probably require a normal scale hook size. On the other hand, hook-sized by aught scale is preferable in terms of significant categories of fish. As far as catfish is concerned, you will probably require an aught-scale hook that is generally suitable for bigger fish.

Different Types of Fishing Hook Gauges

The hook gauge determines the sturdiness of any fishing hook. It would help if you always considered opting for a heavier-gauge hook because of the added strength and reliability. Using a sturdy hook gauge will undoubtedly assist you in enjoying a high success ratio. 

You can estimate the sturdiness and thickness of any hook based on the number it denotes. The gauge number is termed 1X, 2X, 3X, and so on. The greater the number of the gauge, the greater the thickness. For instance, a fishing hook with an indicator of 2X is double in strength to a 1X hook gauge and vice versa.

When it comes to catfish angling, we always recommend our readers go for heavier-gauge hooks. As catfish are more significant and more substantial than many other common types of fish, they require a sturdy hook with a heavier gauge. However, a professional angler with considerable experience can use any normal gauge hook for a successful catch without involving any hassle.

What is the Best Hook Size for Catfish?

The appropriate size for larger species of catfish revolves around 8/0 on the aught scale and size 1 on the normal scale. For medium-sized catfish, you can go for any size between 4/0 and 6/0.


The only thing that can help you decide the accurate hook size is understanding the desired catfish type and size of the bait you want to use. In general, we recommend our readers opt for circle and treble hooks for giant catfish. However, you can also use the Kahle hook if you know how to use it properly.

Related Articles: