I have had pretty poor luck with that set up on handsized units also. Try a #2 treble hook instead of a single and you'll see an improvement. You also need to give them time to get the Whole fish in their mouth. For 3"-4" inchers I just use a single... lightly hooked... but if you have to toss them a long ways I generally go thru the eye sockets. Either way you will have a few baits get off. For cats you can do better hooking them just behind the vent fin. Just avoid the backbone.
Cats will chomp a bait, then turn it to go down head first.. I hook up under the bottom jaw and out an eye socket. If i hook below the backfin I use a "stinger hook" like used for kings. I attach a few inches of line to the eye of the first hook and tie a treble hook to the other line and stick one point in the tail with enough slack to allow the fish to swim freely..
For catfish I always hook just in front of the tail fin on the bottom of the fish. One trick I learned when using live bream is to cut the bottom tip of the tail off. It keeps the bream off balance so instead of just sitting on the bottom trying to hide, he has to struggle to stay upright. Catfish seems to really home in on the struggling.
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