Circle Hooks



 Spinning reel bait runner - Penn Spinfisher Live Liner


 The ideal spinning reel for circle hook fishing

 The Penn Spinfisher Live Liner baitrunner type feature is perfect for circle hook fishing.



 Mustad circle hook catches billfish

Circle hooks are great for catching billfish

Mustad circle hook

The In-line circle hook by Mustad. I prefer circle hooks without offset for their better properties for catch-and-release

livebait for sailfish

I like to bridle my livebait to circle hooks with a rubberband, allowing the circle hook to stand free of the bait for good hookups.

Circle hook baited barracuda, livebait for billfish

Mustad circle hook catches tenggiri mackerel on the nose

How to hook up a fish with a circle hook


By Christopher S.G. Tan

Unlike the vigorous hookset required with a J-hook that most anglers are used to, the circle hook is very much the opposite. A beginner will find using a circle hook very simple, whereas experienced anglers of conventional J-hooks will need to suppress their instinct to perform a hearty strike to set the hook.

When you feel the fish bite, do nothing. Let the fish continue its nibbling to take all of the bait fully into its mouth. The rod should remain static, in your hands or rod holder. In some cases, depending on the situation, you might want to feed the fish the bait, either by lowering the rod tip or feeding the fish line. The purpose of this is to ensure the bait is fully engulfed. Circle hook fishing with lever drag

If you are practising the static method, only once the pressure from the fish steadily increases and the rod is fully under load only then do you start steadily cranking on the reel handle to keep the line tight and a firm steady pressure on.

Okuma reel

DO NOT strike or jerk the rod! What is happening is that with the steady pressure, the circle hook is being dragged from within the fish to the mouth and when the circle hook is dragged over the corner of the mouth, its curved-in point will catch on the edge of the mouth and the steady pressure will drive it through the flesh.

If at any time the hook is jerked suddenly by over-excited hands on the rod before it has set, the circle hook could be flipped over the corner and out of the mouth instead of being dragged steadily and catching the corner. It is like throwing a lure or treble hook attached over a tree branch with a fishing line to the hook. If the lure is pulled to just beneath the branch and given a quick jerk, it will flip over the branch, free. Whereas if the lure or treble hook is pulled slowly and steadily over the branch it will very likely get a point snagged into the branch.
Jaw hooked with mustad circle hook

If you are feeding the fish line, once you think the bait is fully in the fish's mouth, carefully increase the drag up the fighting drag setting without causing a sudden jerk. Some experienced experts say you should count to twenty before "setting" the circle hook to allow the bait to be swallowed. Others work by "feel" and experience.
Penn star drag overhead reel

A lever drag reel is ideal for this method as you just slowly push up the drag lever setting, steadily increasing the drag. For star drag reels (or Live-liner, Bait-runner spinning reels), hold the rod tip up as the line is being fed, then engage the drag while simultaneously lowering the rod tip to prevent a sudden jerk when the drag is engaged. Continue lowering the rod tip but reduce the drop rate of the rod tip as this will steadily increase the pressure on fish and hook. Then as in the static method, hold the rod steady and crank on the reel handle, keeping the line tight. Once the fish starts running and taking line off the reel, you can start fighting the fish as you usually would as smoothly as it should always be done of course.

Simple is it not? The most important thing for experienced anglers is not to strike with the rod. Keep the rod steady. I have seen a number of experienced anglers in the heat of their excitement forget the technique and revert to the severe strikes they are so used to and immediately pull the hooks out!



We need to protect and conserve our resources by practising catch and release of our sportfish and protecting the habitat of our fishes.


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