I've done tarpon several times now all with J hooks. I'm far from being an expert but I'm starting to put together some limited intel and I do know this - there are only four places on their mouths where a hook can penetrate - (1) the cleft between the two upper jaws, (2) the cleft between the two lower jaws, (3-4) the corners on each side. If you can pierce the flaps over either corner like a lip-ring that would probably work but let's just call that a corner hook up for the purposes of this discussion. The four main jaw plates are practically impossible to hook never mind hold through the inevitable acrobatics.
Sean, my experience has been that although tarpon do often glide toward the fly as you mention the actual take is usually followed by a vicious swipe or glide away and in every case but the one where it trails directly toward you after the grab there is a very strong increase in tension after the take. They don't sit still when they have taken a fly - I think every tarpon angler would agree to that.
My thinking was that the circle hook would find it's way to the most secure cradle in the armored mouth - the near corner, and apply it's point perpendicular to the curve of the hook which would be better than a straight point during the chaos.
Originally Posted by Swalt
This is only a small sampling but between the 2 of us we hooked 8 and landed 5. The circle hook was always in the or near the corner of the mouth and under the bone there. You don't strike. You just let the fish take the fly, turn and let the line come tight. These were tarpon ranging from 20 to 60lbs.
Swalt's experience is precisely what came to mind based on my own experiences with tarpon to 60#, all on j hooks.
Personally I have much less interest in tarpon over 100# although I'll try it if the opportunity arises what the heck!