Tuesday, June 25, 2019

On the Circle Hook

Here's a keeper caught recently with chunk
bait on a circle hook.  The lip hook is generally what
happens with a circle hook. The fish's chance
of survival are much better with the circle hook.
I've been bait fishing on and off the last two weeks.  I've had good success catching some larger schoolies as well as a few keepers (up to 35 inches). Since I was releasing everything, I went with circle hooks because I didn't want any gut hooked fish, something that happens often when using chunk bait with regular hooks.  Chances for survival are dim with a gut hooked fish that's released.
The circle hook worked like a charm.  Every single fish that I hooked was hooked around the mouth or lips.  Nothing was hooked deep.  Note that I was also hitting the fish fast when I got a take.  From my past experiences with circle hooks, I found out that you could still gut hook a fish on occasion if you let it take the bait a long time.
A law has already been passed in MA requiring the use of circle hooks in 2020.  There are some exceptions to the rule, but it looks like if you plan on fishing with bait next year in MA, you will have to use a circle hook. Other states are discussing the possibility of doing the same for 2020.