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Smaller Circle Hooks for Bait Fishing - - - 3 messages. Showing 1 through 3.
MineralMan
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Joined 02/01/2005
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Daily Subscription Msg 1 Posted: 10:43 AM 04/11/10 (CST)
One of the best new things on the market for bait anglers in 2010 are the new small sized circle hooks that are now available in sizes down to 14. That's small enough for panfish. For anglers who practice catch and release, this is really good news. As everyone knows, there's a high risk of fish mortality when using standard hook designs and live bait. Fish are often hooked deeply in the throat and die after release. With circle hooks, over 85% of fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth, allowing safe release of your catch.



Eagle Claw Laser Sharp Circle Hooks to Size 14



Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks to Size 8

Circle hooks have been used for salt-water fishing for years, and are required by law in some areas, particularly in Florida, where many species must be released. They've revolutionized catch and release practices. I started using them a couple of years ago for river fishing, where I almost always fish with nightcrawlers, and have released many catfish and carp. Every one is hooked in the corner of the mouth.

Using circle hooks takes a little getting used to, though. Instead of the standard hook-setting procedure, you must let the fish hook itself. Jerking on the rod only pulls the hook out of the fish's mouth. Instead, when you have a bite, you simply point the rod at the fish and start reeling. As the hook exits the fish's mouth, it turns and imbeds itself in the corner of the jaw. Once you get the hang of this new process, you'll find that you actually hook a higher percentage of fish who take your bait.

This year, I'm going to be using the smaller sizes for panfish and see how they work. You can find these in the Eagle Claw and Gamakatsu hook displays at your local tackle shop, usually in the form of circle hooks or octopus circle hooks, both made of fine wire. Buy a package and give them a try whenever you're fishing with bait. You'll kill fewer fish and the hook removal and release is much easer.


MineralMan

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WebDude
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Daily Subscription Msg 2 Posted: 12:19 PM 04/11/10 (CST)
Good post, MineralMan!



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MineralMan
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Joined 02/01/2005
Posts:751

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Daily Subscription Msg 3 Posted: 01:31 PM 04/11/10 (CST)
Thanks, Dude. I was originally pretty skeptical of circle hooks. When I tried them for catfish and carp in the river, though, I changed my tune pretty quickly. It did take a little getting used to letting fish hook themselves, but once I did that I started catching more fish.

I fish with a variation of the old fishfinder rig, with a sliding sinker. I kept getting my bait stolen, but not actually catching fish on the hookset. Part of it was sheepsheads nibbling away at the nighcrawlers, but part of it was something else I couldn't quite figure out.

Once I switched, I started catching the sheepsheads, along with the big cats and carp, and even a few walleyes on that rig. As an added benefit, I didn't have to constantly stare at my rod tip, since the fish would swallow the crawler and hook, then swim away and hook itself. I even caught a nice big largemouth buffalo on that rig.

I don't use bait for most of my lake fishing, though, except for panfish, so I didn't think of circle hooks until this year. I take kids fishing pretty often, and I suspect that the circle hooks will cause lots less deep-hooking and mortality with the inattentive kids. We'll see. I can't imagine that it won't work, though.


MineralMan

O So Minnesota Blog -- Fishing Page
Smaller Circle Hooks for Bait Fishing - - - 3 messages. Showing 1 through 3.
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