A Look at Circle Hooks and Their Uses and Benefits
Circle hooks have been shown to increase the survival when caught on a rod and reel by a recreational fisherman. With the Circle Hook’s success already proven for many game fish species, these hooks are now used increasingly for many other common recreational species including Dolphin, Black Drum, Sheepshead and Kingfish. The Circle hook is becoming more common every year as fisherman get used to the way they must be fished.
What is a Circle Hook?
A circle hook is made so that the sharp point is turned back to the hook shank to form a general circle. This allows more fish to be mouth hooked as the circle turns the hook into the side of the mouth rather than allowing a swallow or gut hook. Reducing the number of fish deep or gut hooked increases the survival rate tremendously. Although some die hards refuse to change, a lot are and circle hooks are becoming more and more commonplace.
What are the Benefits of Circle Hooks?
- Circle Hooks Reduce deep hooking – improved survival of released fish and decreased loss of fishing tackle due to having to cut the line and leave the tackle.
- Improved hook-up and catch rates for many species.
- The strike time is not as crucial for hook-up of fish.
- Lighter leaders/traces can be used as the line is generally away from sharp teeth and abrasive mouth surfaces.
- Circle hooks offer many benefits for anglers, but they do require a few minor changes to your normal fishing techniques and these changes are against what we were taught growing up.
How do you use Circle Hooks?
- Do not bury your hook in your bait, lightly hook the bait so that the point and barb are exposed or “bridle” the bait.
- Do not jerk to set the hook, allow the fish time to take the bait into its mouth and then apply slow and steady pressure to set the hook in the mouth area. The fish often hook themselves as the swim away with the bait.
- Non-offset circle hooks are recommended for the best mouth-hooking results.
- Use a de-hooker or needle-nosed pliers to assist .
- Occasionally some fish will still be deep hooked. To increase survival rates it is best to cut the line and release these fish with the hook still intact rather than attempt to remove it nd kill the fish.
So far the only fish where a Circle hook is required is a Red Snapper. It is unlawful to catch a red snapper on any other hook besides a circle hook. As more studies are completed and more species are studied there are sure to be more added to the list.
What is your opinion of Circle Hooks? How are you using them and what have been the results? Use the comment section below!