Circle hooks are well-rounded tool

May 03, 2004|by Bill Anderson

When I checked the e-mail bag, I found I have received a number of questions about circle hooks and the advantages of using them.

Circle hooks are becoming more common in a variety of fishing venues. Some of the top saltwater experts tout them on cable fishing shows and they are also mentioned in the magazines that cover walleye tournaments and catfish tournaments.

The circle hook design predates today's modern fishhooks. They are often found at archeological digs at old campsites that were used Native Americans thousands of years ago.

If you unfamiliar with this hook's design, it looks something like the letter C, with the eye and the barb of the hook on opposite ends.


Fishermen seem to think there would be some trouble catching fish with this design. But, when you learn how to use them, the circle hooks make it really quite easy to hook fish. The hardest part is to "unlearn" how you set the hook on a strike.

The difficult part of the adjustment is you don't need to set the hook in a typical manner. In fact, setting the hook is counterproductive. The correct method is to use steady pressure, almost allowing the hook set itself.

When you apply the steady pressure, the hook will slide up along the mouth and hook securely in the corner of the fish's jaw. Ironically, the hook will almost always be found securely in the corner of the mouth. This saves fish that are to be released.

Another big advantage it becomes difficult for the fish to throw a circle hook once the hook-up is established.

Circle hooks have been gaining in popularity in all types of bait fishing, including even a few fly-tiers using circle hooks now. Locally, good opportunities would be bait fishing for bass, catfish and carp. Many of the top walleye pros are now using rigs with circle hooks and they seem to really like them.

When buying circle hooks you need to keep in mind that the hook sizing criteria is different from regular hook styles. For example, if you usually use a No. 2/0 for channel catfish, you will probably want a circle hook 4/0 or 6/0 in size.

The use of circle hooks seems to be more than a fad. They are catching on in many types of fishing and the unique design offers some interesting possibilities for every kind of bait fishing.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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