Should we be using circle hooks? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Should we be using circle hooks?

02-14-2002, 05:40 AM
Should we be using circle hooks? At the Saltwater Edge show circle hooks were passed out for people to use. I have not used them myself what do people think?

02-14-2002, 07:30 AM
I have used circle hooks a lot for flies. Here are my general observations, not meant to be taken as gospel;
For fast swimming fish that take their prey whole and keep going at full speed, circle hooks can't be beat. False albies are one species that I really like flies tied on circle hooks. The main reason is that once the circle grabs ahold, it doesn't let go.
However, if the fish you are pursuing isn't one to streak off at top speed after it grabs something and will just gulp it down and then sit there with it, the fish will blow it back out either from it's mouth or through it's gills. I had a lot of trouble with striped bass blowing flies out their gills and then you can't get the hook out, even if it's barbless. It turns around in there and gets all hung up and the fish ends up dying, I don't use circle hooks for striped bass fishing anymore.
Actually, for albies this past season I used Gamakatsu Octopus hooks more than circles anyways.
I don't really use them too much anymore. The new interest is a new fad that will go away, I guess I was ahead of the curve.:D

02-14-2002, 07:49 AM
I started to use circle hooks last year. I'll admit that I lost a few fish, but that may only be due to my lack of ability.:hehe: Every fish I landed was hooked in the lips or in the side of the mouth. This made things very easy for C&R. I also used the Gamakatsu Octopus hooks with better results. I would rather loose a few fish than take a chance of gut hooking the little fella. I fished both hooks barbless. I like them if I can get them. The shops around here don't stock to many. It's usually first come first serve. I guess that's what I'll do today. Hook hunting.

Dble Haul
02-14-2002, 09:34 AM
I messed around with circle hook flies a bit this past year on the coast and got results that were similar to those alluded to by capt gordon. They seemed to work well for the fast and steaking bluefish, but were poor in hooking up stripers and weakfish. I'm glad to see that someone else has had similar results.

Is it worth the switch? For me personally, not yet, unless I'm into a mess of blitzing bluefish. And that's never a bad thing. :)

02-14-2002, 12:57 PM
I've tried the circle hooks for fly fishing and they worked fine. I use to use "standard" fly hooks and crush the barbs and then do the Conservation Bend author Brad Burns is so fond of. This method works excellent.

However, after talking with Ken Abrames one day, I discovered he does not crimp the barb or make a Conservation Bend in his hooks. I asked "why" and he said the method he fishes results in most fish hooked in the lip anyway. So what's the point?

I've lost some big fish with crimped barbs and no longer crimp my hooks or make Conservation Bends in them. Out of the several thousand fish we catch and release each season on the water, very, very few end up deep hooked or gill hooked. Last year I kept track and it was less than a dozen.

For bait, I think it's an excellent way to go because so many stripers swallow the hook while running while the angler counts to five... then sets the hook. For flies, they are also very effective but I'm not so sure they reduce hooking mortality. I'll keep my records again this season, but I'll be fishing my flies on "regular" hooks again, for now.

02-14-2002, 01:15 PM
This came up a few days ago over on the spey board.

I've not had a deep hooking problem with stripers - yet.

Tried the new Tiemcos last season which have a sort of conservation bend. De-barbed - dropped a few fish but not enough to make any definitive statements.

Bonefish are a different story. I've had quite a few bonefish suck in a fly which gets lodged in the crushers at the back of the throat - almost impossible to get at without gill damage/bleeding even with long-nose forceps.

Circles may be the way to go here, especially given Capt. Gordon's observations on speedsters.

Are manufacturers doing them in sizes 4 - 6 - 8 yet?

02-14-2002, 02:58 PM
Adrian -

Are you coming to Ken's Seminar again this year at the Winsor House?

02-14-2002, 03:08 PM
Hi Dave

Unfortunately I won't be able to get away this time.

I hope you have a great turnout, last year was terrific and if I remember the weather was great. It made us all feel like we should get out there and fish!

John Desjardins
02-14-2002, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by Adrian

Are manufacturers doing them in sizes 4 - 6 - 8 yet?

I've gotten some in those sizes for freshwater, but haven't seen any in stainless that small. check Mustad, Gamakatsu & VMC's websites. One thing to consider is that the circle hook sizes typically are smaller than J hooks.

02-14-2002, 03:23 PM
John, just raised the subject on the Bonefish board with a link to Eagle Claw Circle SEA.

02-14-2002, 03:38 PM
Maybe we should drag some of the discussion on the Spey board over and paste it up here.

Adrain, thinking about this a few minutes ago, it occurs to me the conservation bend might be applied to a smaller hook, but it almost defeats the purpose of the hook size.

02-14-2002, 04:26 PM

Thanks. We got a good crowd but have room for a few more if you know any anglers that would like to attend.

RE: Conservation Bend: I made this on mustad 34011 & 3407 hooks size 1/0 through 4/0 and fished a whole season with them a few years back. They really worked well without any problems and just about every fish was hooked in the corner of the mouth. It was really pretty amazing. I don't fish with small hooks much. Your right about a conservation Bend in anything smaller than a 1/0. It may create too small of a gap to be practicle?

I did lose three very big fish one year on Conservation Bend hooks. All three made a hard strike and took off on very fast, long runs. I think they all spit out the hook...

I'm sure you know this technique, but if not: When you gill-hook a fish, gently reach into the gill plate from the back and very gently slide the hook out the gill plate. Snip off your hook and slide the tippet back out through the fishes mouth. This way, you minimize any damage to the life-giving gills of a fish.