Cecilia Foley Hooks May 13th, 2019 - 12:51:57
Circle hooks have created a debate in the last few years between anglers who fish rivers and those who fish lakes. When using circle hooks in rivers, I haven't had much trouble fishing in good current. Although they performed well in current, fishing calm water areas such as the big reservoirs I ply for giant blue cats, the hook design gave me a bit of a problem with the hook-up ratio in the slack water. I began having hook-up problems when I fished areas with no current because the bait wasn't held straight on the hook. Full circles were oftentimes double hooking back into the chunk or live baits causing me to miss a lot of fish. What would I do when I am anchor fishing in a lake with a lot of slack in my lines due to boat sway from the wind? I went back to my old standby treble and J-style hooks for quite awhile.
CIRCLE Perhaps the best innovation in hooks to come along, circle hooks promote healthy catch and release. The design of the hook itself, when used properly, prevents fish from being hooked in the gut. Many sea anglers have a problem using these hooks because they require no hook set. If you do try to set the hook, it will generally come out of the mouth of the fish. These hooks are designed to move to the corner of the fish's mouth and set themselves as the fish swims away from you. Anglers feel a bite and simply begin reeling, slowly at first, then faster as the hook gets set.
This might sound like a strange title for an article, but it seems to me that most people don't realize 'how to bait a hook'. Of course they can "thread" a worm or mold some synthetic bait onto a single hook, but is this really the most effective way to bait a hook? No it's not, it's just the way baiting a hook has been done for eons. The funny thing is that doing the way things have always been done, is rarely the best way to do something, and baiting a hook is no different.
A common misconception is that small trout hooks (size 8 to 12) aren't large enough to hook and land large trout. This is simply not true. Very large trout can and are hooked and landed using trout fishing hooks that are quite small. If you don't believe me, just ask any seasoned fly fisherman. Flea flickers have to use hooks that are very small to match certain hatches. Just as a reference, I regularly hook and land trout in the 3-5 pound range using size 10 gang hooks. When it comes to trout fishing hooks in most instances smaller is better.
Whichever hook you prefer to use, remember that when setting the hook, two different methods should be utilized depending on the type of fishing hook being used. J-hooks should be set with a solid swing of the rod, while circle hooks should be allowed to set themselves with a simple engaging of the fishing reel. The pull and tug of the fish will cause a circle hook to slide down into the corner of the mouth and embed securely. Swinging the rod to set the hook with a circle hook will often lead to a pulled hook and disappointed anglers.This is one of the hardest things to remember when fishing with circle hooks. The adrenaline-rush from being picked up or bit causes most inexperienced anglers to immediately swing the rod in an attempt to hook the fish. Instead, anglers should calmly engage the reel, the same with both spinning and conventional reels, and slowly begin winding down into the fish, until the fish begins to pull drag from the reel. Only then should the angler lift the rod to begin the fight.
The plastic hooks are very advantageous in the fact that some types of wool will get caught on a hook, so if you tend to use a plastic hook, they will never get caught up in the wool (The plastic is smooth enabling you never to snag on your wool as you are pulling your wool through for the next stitch.). Plastic hooks are easier to come by, but sometimes plastic is not the answer. Plastic is also more inexpensive to purchase than the steel hooks, but to me, I prefer the steel hooks, so am willing to pay the bit extra to get what I want.