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).
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.