Circle Hooks


Circle Hook Design Pierces Fish Through Jaw, Promotes Catch and Release.

 Even if they look kind of funny, "Circle hooks" work great. Unlike the traditional “J-shaped” hook, the circle hook has a circular shape and a point that turns inward to the shank at about a 90-degree angle.

“When anglers look at the circle hook, they don't thinkit will catch fish,”   But despite its unusual appearance, the circle hook has a very good set rate.

Not only does it promote catch-and-release, they also hook more fish.

Catch and release striped bass fishermen are urging their use because the design will results in a higher hook through the jaws or lips, increasing the fish’s chance of survival after release.

The commercial long-liner began using circle hooks in the 60's and ‘70's because they were more efficient in catching fish and keeping them alive until they could be brought in.

Circle hooks are one of the best hooks for putting a rod in a rod holder.
The kids and ladies almost never miss with circle hooks giving them the excitement of hooking the fish themselves.

Here’s how the circle hook works:

When the fish grabs the baited hook and starts to swim away.
The line tightens slowly and usually pulls the hook out of the throat and to the corner of the mouth, where the point rotates and pierces the jaw hinge or cheek.
Once the fish is hooked, it cannot escape.

Advantages of the circle hook design include:

  • Higher catch rate
  • Higher lip hook rate, which greatly reduces mortality.
  • Ease of use because the fish hooks itself
  • Less snagging in bottom fishing application.
  • Avoids Typical "cross their eyes"  Hard Hook Set, the fish hooks itself; making it easier for kids and the ladies to hook up.

Circle hooks rewards you for not being quick on the trigger. Don't raise the rod in a quick hard motion, You need to more or less reel and lift at the same time. If you do the typical hook set, you’ll pull the hook right out of the fish’s mouth.
Remember with circle hooks you "Crank don,t Yank".

Circle hooks are easy to use, but it is important to use the appropriate size. The hook you use is largely determined by bait size.

The first thing that fishermen and women "balk" at, when first seeing a circle hook is the fact that the gap of the hook (distance between the point and the shank) is relatively small. The point of the hook comes directly in towards the shank the distance of the radius (1/2 the diameter) of the circle. Pointing the "business end" of the hook away from the fish goes against everything we were taught as young fishermen. For those of us who hunt the Striped Bass it is a re-education. "That's the hard part."

Some interesting facts are that this design was primarily used in long-line fishing, and before that, by our ancestors. They were used for a good reason.
Simply stated, the fish hook themselves and 95% of the time, in the lip. This meant that they were usually still alive when the lines were checked.

Circle hook effectiveness is based on Math and Physics, specifically, Newton's second law of motion and centripetal (center-seeking force). Just as when you drive around a curve in your car and lean towards the door. As velocity accelerates on the circle, the centripetal force (the car door) is towards the center.

  • It is important to note, that using Circle Hooks is not a complete "no brainier". It's been my experience using these for the last few years, that there are some tips you should follow:
  • All Circle Hooks are NOT created equal. Size & sharpness vary from brand to brand.
  • Offset circle hooks WILL gut hook fish & defeat one of the main purposes of using them?     SURVIVABILITY!  Use flat circles?
  • Do NOT use stainless steel hooks; if broken off it will never deteriorate
  • Go with large sized circles for Stripers. You still have to get past that big jawbone.
  • Crank don't Yank. Do NOT jerk back and set the hook when a fish picks up. You may yank it right out of it's gullet without catching the jaw.
    "Patience" let them run a little, Pick-up, keep the rod tip up, and reel Fast (and don't panic?)  have fun - Catch A Memory!
  • If you practice catch and release. RELEASE IT! Excessive handling will often degrade the protective mucous and will often result in death by parasites.

Circle hooks Work for Stripers.

They result in the fish almost always being hooked by their own momentum & being landed in good condition.

We should all keep in mind that the large Stripers are older mature breeding stock. Releasing most of them in good shape is the right thing to do.

Some Run and Gun Bass casting fishermen look down their nose at bait soaking Striper fishermen to begin with? Using a hook that eliminates more of the "fisherman factor", will, I'm sure only add to the prejudice.  But so be it! (IMHO)

  Catch a Memory of a Life time


About Ben Sanders Striper Guide Lake Ouachita
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