A question about circle hooks - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-13-2001, 09:04 AM
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Dble Haul Dble Haul is offline
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A question about circle hooks

I've recently tied up some juve flies on circle hooks for the first time. My question is this: on the hook set, is the usual strike necessary, or will the tightening of the line set the hook? I know that the latter is done when using these hooks with bait, but I need clarity on this before I go out and start missing hits.

Thanks in advance for any input.

Mark
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Old 09-13-2001, 10:51 AM
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I tried circles for flies recently too. Not because flies are so brutal to fish, but because I was curious about them. I had difficulty getting the hook set because I instinctively set the hook. I would wager that I'd set even if I fell alseep with the rod in my hand

I reached my own conclusion from all this. A single barbless hook on a fly is already as harmless as anything else. I've never had one swallowed, and get very few deep hookings. Even still with species like striped bass a hook can be extracted very easily and without harming the fish in the vast majority of cases.

Circle hooks are important for those who fish bait, but aren't necessary for me to feel good about the way I fish and treat the fish I release. Your results may vary,

Juro
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Old 09-13-2001, 11:16 AM
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Juro- I guess that I'm using them for the same reasons that you tried them, that is, curiousity. Am I to interpret from your response that the tightening of the line is all that's necessary for the hook to penetrate the jaw? If that's the case, then I'm in for some serious re-education!

Thanks,

Mark
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Old 09-13-2001, 11:34 AM
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Ooops, sorry - yes, the fish effectively takes the hook into the mouth cavity and must swim away so that the hook slips back out. On it's exit path, the hook slips into the vee at the corner of the mouth and lodges itself. This works even when the fish has swallowed the hook deep into it's gullet in most cases, perhaps even better than when it's just in it's mouth. All you have to do is hold tension until you are convinced it has lodged itself.

The fish must hold on to it long enough for the line tension to slip the hook to an edge or corner, and the slip path must bring the hook to a surface where it can lodge. Stripers are notorious for expelling artificials quickly. Maybe that's why bait is so effective with circle hooks.

I saw these hooks for the first time almost 20 years ago used for halibut in the pacific northwest and have never seen a commercial halibut fishing circle hook lodged anywhere besides the corner of the mouth. They were a lot more circle-shaped than most we see today.

It seems a million new models have emerged due to recent popularity and I hear that not all are created equal. Sites with bait angling enthusiasts might be a good source for data for your venture.

I hope you discover the secrets of circle hooks and flies! If you do please share them with us. I regret to say that my experimentation did not produce good results except when we're talking about crab flies.

Crab flies are frequently taken deep by stripers, my theory is that they crush them in the coarse throat 'plates'. I've tied felt crabs on circle hooks and found they do work although my current design still slips past the lip more often than a standard hook. (circle crab recipe is in the archives I think)

In any case please keep us informed of your progress.
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Old 09-13-2001, 02:02 PM
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Thanks, Juro. I'll be giving them a try this weekend on my birthday (Sunday) and will let folks know how things turn out. I share your concerns about the difficulty of hooking stripers with these hooks, but I'm very curious about how they'll work for the blues that I've been running into lately.

Until then,

Mark
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Old 09-14-2001, 08:34 AM
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guys, I was told by an excellent local tyer to only is circle hooks on flies such as crab flies. the reason for this is that they need to really suck the fly in deep(as they would bait). the circle hook is designed to slid up from the fish's stomach,throat area as it swims away after sucking in bait. it then will be in the correct position to lodge in the corner of the fish's mouth. this is very hard to accomplish on a fly. he said you can't set the hook right, you'll almost always pull it out. the fish sets this hook. good luck, Tom D
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Old 09-14-2001, 09:08 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
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I can't comment on using them for flies but this year I have been using circle hooks when bait fishing with kids. The only way that I have consistently hooked fish has been to let the bait stay on a slack line until the fish tightens the line. This has had a reasonably high hookup rate (slightly lower than with a J hook) and very few of the fish were gut hooked.
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Old 09-14-2001, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
tomd (09-14-2001 09:34 a.m.):
guys, I was told by an excellent local tyer to only is circle hooks on flies such as crab flies. the reason for this is that they need to really suck the fly in deep(as they would bait). the circle hook is designed to slid up from the fish's stomach,throat area as it swims away after sucking in bait. it then will be in the correct position to lodge in the corner of the fish's mouth. this is very hard to accomplish on a fly. he said you can't set the hook right, you'll almost always pull it out. the fish sets this hook. good luck, Tom D
As mentioned when this came up last season (I really didn't do much 'testing' this year), this is consistent with my findings on the flats.

Who is the "excellent local tyer?"
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Old 09-14-2001, 06:07 PM
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I caught about 15 stripers and hooked a few blues on stripers this year. I have been veruy happy with the results. It might be that I'm just slow on the strike. I also like to dead drift flies when I can and many of these stripers were caught that way.
Larry
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Old 09-15-2001, 09:48 AM
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Juro, his name is Dick Empee. he's written a number of articles for "ON THE WATER" Tom D
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