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Double Hook Rig: For Big Catfish Baits

double hook rig catfish

The double hook rig is one of the catfish rigs that is popular when targeting trophy class catfish with large catfish baits, generally large pieces of cut bait (like threadfin shad or gizzard shad, skipjack herring, carp, drum of buffalo).

It is very popular with anglers who target trophy blue catfish, is occasionally used for flathead catfish and rarely for channel catfish.

Although most catfish anglers refer to this is a “double hook rig” it is not actually a rig at all.  It’s a way of attaching two hooks to a piece of line and can be used with virtually any catfish rig.

Popular catfish rigs that this is commonly used with are the santee rig and slip sinker rig. There really is no end to the possibilities of catfish rigs you could use this with though and as long as there is a leader line, you can use two hooks.

 Why Use A Double Hook Rig For Catfish

The double hook rig is popular when fishing with very large pieces of cut bait, which is common practice when targeting trophy class blue catfish. I am not at all saying that you cannot catch big catfish on smaller baits because you absolutely can and will.

Anglers who target trophy catfish on a frequent basis with a goal of only catching BIG catfish (a popular approach for those fishing catfish tournaments and also for catfish guides) will commonly use very large baits as part of their catfishing techniques.

Using larger baits eliminates the smaller fish in the water. A one to two pound catfish cannot get a huge piece of cut bait into their mouth most often, so this allows the angler to keep their lines in the water (although smaller fish will still peck at the baits).

Keeping the lines in the water and not constantly reeling in and casting, removing fish, losing baits etc turns into more time with lines in the water and more focus on putting the big cats in the boat!

When catfishing with very large pieces of cut bait (especially with circle hooks) the bait has to be hooked relatively shallow so the hook gap can remain open (which allows the circle hook to work). This typically means hooking the chunk of cut bait towards the top of the bait.

With one single hook placed towards the top of a large piece of bait, this then requires the catfish to strike and take the entire piece of bait into its mouth for the hook to turn and set. Not all fish will fully take the bait, some will attack the lower portion of the chunk of cut bait and don’t get the hook in their mouth. This results in missed fish.

The addition of a second hook, hooked towards the bottom of the bait helps to assure a hook set on these fish that strike short (only hitting the bottom of the baits).

This is very similar to the concept of bass anglers and anglers who target other species of fish adding a “stinger hook” to their lures or rigs to get a hook set on short strikes.

Now, you don’t absolutely have to use a double hook rig when using large baits, just keep in mind that if you get short strikes, you might miss fish and this is another option to consider.

When to Use A Double Hook Rig For Catfish

The double hook rig should be used in the following instances.

  • When catfishing with large pieces of cut bait or very large baits
  • When targeting trophy class catfish
  • When you are getting short strikes or missing fish

How To Tie The Double Hook Rig

This is a quick and easy process and will be the same regardless of which type of rigging you use. You attach the hooks to the leader and then complete the process of finishing your rigging using the normal method you use based on your preferred catfish rig.

Cut your leader line to the desired length

Attach your first hook to the end of the leader line using a snell knot and cut the excess

Slide the open end of the leader line through the eye of the second hook and snell this hook onto the leader

The spacing between the hooks will be determined by the size of the baits you are using.

The video below walks you through the process of the double hook rig in detail you might also want to check out the quick and easy way of snelling a hook as well.

To get more in depth tutorials on rigging for catfish, click here to check out the other tutorials.  You’ll find all the information you need on catfish rigs to increase your success and catch more and bigger catfish on your next fishing trip.



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About Chad

Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide and founder of Learn To Catch Catfish. Click here to subscribe for more exclusive catfish fishing tips by email and then follow on Twitter or Google


  1. Well i’m going to give the double hook a try as soon as I can
    get to my fishing holes!!
    Have a nice fishing day!

  2. Raymond Rivera says:

    A very good idea ,your illustration was very easy to follow.
    I’ve been fishing all my life and never seen this two hook set up before, very helpful.
    Thanks Ray

  3. Thanks I will add this to my memory bank for future use.

  4. Chad;

    Another very good video presentation. I’ve tried to tie this rig before with terrible results. You make this operation easy to understand/perform, and it’s so quick.

    Thanks for another gem.


  5. Thanks guys!

  6. Grant Jones says:

    I use this same concept as gang hooks for holding up to three and four night crawers at a time to catch Channel Cats. I don’t go after blues but I appreciate knowing how to tie tow hooks together like this.
    Thanks, good video!

  7. Chris Brown says:

    My dad used that set up all the time when we were out catfishing. U mentioned the lower hook as a stinger hook my dad calle the set up a stinger rig and we used it when fishing with live blue gill for yellow cats. Would put the bottom hook thru there mouth and top hook thru their tail.. The yellows we caught were notorious for grabbing just part of the bait and swimming off and never actually grabbing the hook so he tied what u showed and we would hook up on 9 out 10 times..

  8. If im plann on usin this on bluegill and using the top hook to hook them through the dorsal and the bottom hook through towards the back tail end which hook will the cat usually get hooked up on?

  9. as always chad you helped- i`ve used that set up but tied hooks different ways- i see the snelling would be a lot easier thanks

  10. Try using foam snap floats (less exspensive)

  11. Israel Gonzalez says:


  12. Why did you go front to back twice on the second hook……does is really matter?

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