Kitty Gordon Hooks May 15th, 2019 - 13:35:27
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 was based on a substantial amount of data that has demonstrated dramatically lower mortality rates when using circle hooks (2%) versus standard J hooks (almost 50%). This data has held true also for Guatemala when studies have been done by the sportfishing fleet using circle hooks. J-hooks in the past have been utilized for conventional fishing - casting plugs, trolling and bait fishing.When fishing with these type of hooks, it is usually necessary to "set" the hook using a strong upward movement of the fishing pole which conducts a strong force down to the hook and so drives the point and the barb in to any available soft tissue.
There are two basic types of circle hook available to fishermen and commercial fishing boats in Guatemala, the offset and non-offset. The latter have been used for over 20 years in the commercial Central America and Guatemalan longline industry - as obviously in the vast majority of cases the fishermen are not present when the fish is actually taking the bait, and so they found and developed a hook that was capable of self-hooking on a consistent basis in the rich fishing territory off the coats of Costa Rica and Guatemala. It was found that circle hooks and J-hooks displayed similar catch rates, but that 98% of fish were caught in the jaw with circle hooks.
Firstly, you need to use sharp hooks. Buy new hooks frequently and replace your old ones. If you keep your hook on the line for a long period of time you should sand the point to keep it nice and sharp. Try to buy the best hooks you can (if you buy the cheapest you may save a few dollars but in the long run is it worth it?).
As a matter of fact, I will not go live bait fishing without multiple sets of pre-tied gang hooks. They are as much a part of my fishing repertoire as any of my fishing gear. When it comes to baiting a hook, gang hooks are the only way to go. I know, from experience, that gang hooks will out fish single hooks by a factor of at least 2 to 1. I'll take those odds every day of the week, and so should you.
The first thing to consider when discussing any fishing hooks is their sharpness. You always want to make sure that your hooks are as sharp as possible. When hooks are purchased they are very sharp, but once they are used for a while they become dulled from baiting up, being drug along the bottom, and fish being caught. Once your fishing hooks become dull it causes you to "miss" fish. It's a good idea to change your hooks often or carry a hook sharpener to sharpen your hooks from time to time to ensure optimum sharpness. The bottom line is the sharper your hooks are the less fish you will "miss".