Catfish Basics #021 – Head Hooking – Cindy Herndon
The head portion of any baitfish is usually most folks favorite. It is very durable so it can take multiple strikes. When cut properly, just behind the gill plate, it will retain quite a bit of blood and connective tissues that will last much longer than other select cuts before being washed out and rendered useless. You can avoid a costly mistake of missing a fish by hooking your bait correctly.
My boat is circle hook only and when using the head portion of the bait I like to spread the gill plates and bring the point of the hook up from the bottom and out the head in the thickest part of the skull near the eyes. How deep you hook it depends on the size of the fish head. You want the nose of the bait to be just below the hook gap leaving it open to do its work and turn when the fish runs.
Hooking this cut of bait this way serves two purposes. It keeps the bait from being able to flip around and foul hook itself and cover the hook point. It really stays put this way. Second it will keep the mouth of the bait closed in heavy current. There is nothing worse than the mouth of a half-pound skipjack head coming open causing so much drag that it floats the bait way past the hole where you were trying to stick it.