I have been using a 1/2 oz. egg sinker and a 12 inch steel leader with a 6/0 octopus hook and cut shad. I am having bites but I can't hook up with them what can I change or do to make a better hook up ratio?
Not trying to down you in any way but are you sure the nibble's you're getting are big enough to get the hook in the mouth? Had this same thing happen to me earlier in the year, I down sized the hook and started slaying them. However they were dinks, beat the skunk, but were dinks non the less.
Here is what I would do, Id loose the leader, put sinker about 12" above the hook above a swivel and then id switch to a circle hook, usually a 3/0 when im fishing a lake loaded with dinks and then use baits no bigger around then a quarter, slightly smaller even. if there worth hooking, youll get them, use a strong rod holder and let the circles do there job of hooking them before you even get out of the chair, if there dinks and cant eat that size bait, trust me you need to move, that will catch them down to about 9-10"
Any chance your in a lake with perch, they will peck the crap out of baits, as will gar, hybrid stripers and saugeyes. what lake you fishing? if we knew we could give better info based on ave fish size there as well as what other species are in their
Even a 2 pound channel can drag your rod into the drink if he decides to run with and get a good grip on cut bait. Smaller cats can still hit hard. I have had little one almost get away with my rod a few times.
I use a 6/0 for flathead, and a 3 or maybe a 4 for channels. I would go down to a 2 if I just wanted to catch anything. I use Gama Octos but many guys like circles.
How big are the shad you use and how big do you cut them.
I dont think steel leaders are needed but that just my opinion
I use a " clicker " reel when I cat fish ! That way if they want to run with it let them , then set the hook . But I still use a steel leader with a circle hook & I'm using a 0/7 , & 20 lb line . My biggest so FUR is 28 lbs - 39 inches got that one at Atwood night fishin !
With bait that size there is a lot of room for small cats and turtles to get a good grip and never touch the hook. I assume you are fishing strictly for sizable channels so catches will be few and far between with lots of nibbles and misses from smaller fish. If not, what exactly are you after and what size.
I would try a second rod with a 3/0 hook and bait half that size. It will give you a good idea of what is out there (dinks) and I commonly catch 4-6 pound channels on that setup also.
fishguy, I often fish both lakes and I would say the majority of cats there at both lakes are those pesky 13" fish just big enough to jerk a rod in but you tend to miss some of them. Both lakes harbor some really nice fish so Id do what Rusty said and use one rig with the bigger hook and bait and another with smaller baits and hooks. Also most channels have smaller mouths then you think so instead of cutting bait into 2" squares, cut them into 1" X 2" pieces so they can at least get it into there mouths.