Circle the hooks! by Les Albjerg (Caldwell, Idaho)

In a recent thread the subject of circle hooks came up, along with a lot of discussion on other matters relating to the matters of hooking, playing and injuring fish. Rather than add this to that thread, I thought it would be better to post this as a stand a lone thread for using circle hooks on Fixed Line Rods:

Circle the hooks!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

It was a perfect day today! There was no wind and it was in the mid-60’s. I forgot my camera, and left the phone in the car so no pictures. I have really wanted to try the “Ultralight Worm Fishing” with the Mummy Worms. So, I headed out to Marsing Pond which is really a large pool on the Snake River to try it. The twist is I used the Gamakatsu Barbless Circle Hooks that I had snelled with 7x tippet. I was fishing with my Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori 63 at the head of the pond where the water comes in. This is my favorite rod so far! There is some thinking behind this madness. I have a friend in Virginia that is a big time catfish fisherman, and he highly recommends circle hooks for catch and release. I found this to be true with the Gamakatsu Barbless Circle hooks as well. What a blast! I cast the Mummy Worm out using 6 meters of #3 level line, 12 inches of 5x with double loops, and my snelled circle hook. The weight of the hook makes for just a slightly positive weight so you get a very slow sink on the bait. I had some bright Keiryu markers with me if needed, but the Pals 3 level line was bright enough to see the action! The Mummy Worm would drift along and slowly sink as it drifted. Then, all of a sudden the line would take off! A gentle set of the hook and the fight was on! All seven rainbow trout that I caught were hooked in the upper lip. I really think that the trout had sucked the Mummy Worm way in, and when I set the hook it pulled the hook out of the back of the mouth and into the lip. I observed two takes and they really sucked the worm all the way in, and when I lifted the rod on those two you could see the Mummy Worm coming out and the you could see that the trout was hooked and very aware of it as it headed for the deep or the air! Those two swam a good 12-18 inches with the Mummy Worm in their mouths before they knew anything was amiss. I had several good jumps today. Talk about feeling connected to the fish! All fish were released to fight another day. The only downside is no Mummy Worms were recovered. Out of nine strikes, I landed 7 fish. I’ll take that percentage.

Now for the sad news. Frankie (my Brittney) and I headed over to Red Rock Pond for some Sunfish action. I wanted to fish with my Kyogi because next week I am going steelhead fishing with it. (6 meters of Kyogi is like driving a 3/4 ton truck after driving your Porsche Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori) Both are great rides, just different purposes. When we got to Red Rock, I was casting for a good 20 minutes from the dock and nothing hit my wigglers, or mummy worms. There was a guy there watching birds, and he said to me, “Hey did you see all the dead fish?” I said, “No.” Frankie and I walked around the pond and saw 100’s of dead bass and sunfish. I stopped at my favorite micro fishing spot and rigged up with my Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24 and a size 28 hook with a piece of red wiggler, nothing! I think my Warm Water Pond suffered a total Winter Kill! We had the coldest winter in over 40 years.


Although the above article relates to bait fishing, here is one that relates to using circle hooks with fly patterns on fixed line rods:

by CM

I wanted to share a hook to consider to help prevent deep hooking when using tenkara, keiryu, and seiryu rods.

Try using circle hooks for your wet and dry flies.

I tied a couple Sakasa Kebari on size 8 circle hooks and fished using Seaguar Invizx fluourocarbon line as the main line with 7x tippet. I used both a Suntech Field Master 39 and a Nissin Air Stage 240 with this setup.

I caught a number of panfish in the 4-6 inch range. All of them were lip hooked. None of them required actively setting the hook. There were no long distance releases. Every fish that committed to taking the fly was hooked and brought in. With the barb crushed down releasing the fish was easy and quick with minimal fish handling required.

To be effective circle hooks require that the angler NOT set the hook. The hook is set when the fish takes the fly/bait, turns and runs.

This means that when using a Sakasa Kebari style fly (or Killer Bugger, Utah Bugger, etc) is that you don’t need to worry about using (or watching) strike indicators.

Currently the only brand of circle hook I have been able to find in a wide variety of sizes is Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp L702 series. They are made in sizes 14 - 5/0 and can be found on-line if your local store does not stock them.

Remember to crush the barb.