My hooks are 5/0 and 8/0 with three to four foot leaders. I like to use a med to med/hvy rod with a good flexible tip so it can load up and set the circle hooks. Stiff rods that are like a broom handle don't work as well in my opinion. The slime doesn't always indicate the size of the fish because I've caught small fish that slimed up the entire leader, it is more a good indication that there is bluecat a in the area that you are fishing. Sounds like you had a fish that just came off.