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Thread: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    5,858

    Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    So, I know I am somewhat new to the Saltwater aspects of Fishing, but not stupid either.
    I know Circle Hooks (mostly used for Hali Fishing) are not designed to hook up like J-hooks or similar,
    like is often the case, meaning "you set the hook".
    They are designed for the fish to swim away, and as the hook leaves the mouth, wraps around the mouth
    on exit and hooks up, thus setting the hook is a big no-no usually with Circle Hooks.
    Another advantage is that fish like Hali then do not end up swallowing the hook and it being set in their
    throats or deeper, thus making release if need be safer and easier.

    BUT, I was wondering if many experienced Hali hunters still "bend out the hook" anyways???
    I looked at the Regs, and it appears it is "not illegal" to bend out the hook".
    Its just "not recommended".
    (If wrong, please let me know).

    So, anyone still bend them out regardless?
    I know that Marlin Fishing during tournaments is not allowed for bent out hooks.
    They have to stay straight.
    But this is Hali and no tourny.

    Just curious at how some go about it, and if bending out is common?
    I am thinking hook up is easier, but also more traumatic potentially for releasing or damaging Hali.
    Also want to know if i interpreted the Regs right?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Vancouver Island
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    1,184

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    I've fished halibut both commercial longline and sport. Have never used them for sport. They work well baited on longlines because Halibut tend to suck the bait in and once we started using the circle hooks we caught more fish with less broken and straightened hooks. The other benefit was they were just about always hooked on the jaw so lower mortality when releasing them. I wouldn't want to use them for jigging but maybe a partial bend works, I've just never done it. Will follow this.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    VI The wet end
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    180

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    I use circle hooks and don't bend them but do partially pinch the barb or grind part of it off, as I find it easier to release fish.
    I lost a lot more fish with heavy jigs and barbed treble hooks .

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Kamloops
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    539

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    Are you talking about opening up the gap of the hook or offsetting the angle of the point from the shaft?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    5,858

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    Offsetting, and there a 2 ways i have seen it done.
    One way, Owner makes them, is called Super MUTU.
    The whole hook is inline, except just before the barb, and is bent out at that section to point of hook.

    The other way is to offset the hook by starting a slow gradual outward bend (no longer inline) from about the actual start of
    a hook bend (a slow spiral outward)

    Yes, circle hooks are designed "not to hook when swallowed" but rather as Hali swim away, the hook "circles" around their
    mouth opening, and then set.
    It works, but don't ever set the hook!!, otherwise you just pull the hook out of its mouth and it cant be set.

    I saw a really good youtube demo using a plastic cup and circle hook as to "how it works".
    That being said, hook ups arent always as easy.
    Longline, or commercial let the bait/hook just sit there, they do nothing, and the hali hooks itself, eventually.
    But, they can potentially play with the bait, never hooking themselves either.
    It has its benefits for sure, but also a downside.

    Reason i asked is i was curious to all the different "setups" folks were using for hali.
    From spreader bars to slip weight systems and if/what skirts or what baits etc.
    I know from a friend with way more experience, that there are issues with "tangles".
    And, hooking up can be an issue also, "at times".

    Anyways, while watching these videos, there were a few of them where the person talking always mentions to
    "dont forget to bend your hooks" etc.
    Not everyone, and more importantly, they never show exactly "what they meant when they say bend the hooks".

    So, i looked into more, and figured what they were talking about was "offsetting the bend" by 1 of 2 ways mentioned above.

    The other thing was, under the Regs, it does not fully state that it is "illegal to do so", but mentions "not to"???

    So yes, circles hooks help in not having hook ups "deep into the throat/stomach", and why the usually are found hooked in the
    jaw/mouth opening.
    But, sometimes you do find that Hali can "play with you", and you think you have one on, only to find you have just pulled the
    hook out.

    Patience seems to be the game, and i think why the slip weight system works better for having a real hook up, but a spreader
    bar helps with way less tangles.
    The hook bend or not to bend means potentially more hook ups, but more damage, or vice versa.

    So, i just want to know if it is truly illegal, and if not, how many do bend it?
    And one other thing, i have seen some who have 1 forward circle hook and the back one being a j-hook (basically a stinger).
    So, lots of ways.
    Last edited by Bugle M In; 03-29-2021 at 02:07 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    A desk, truck, stand and blind in BC
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    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    Offset the point for a better "bite"
    We anchor, we fish slider weight set ups with two lighter 1.5 lbs weights off the back end and the heavier 2lbs weights off the side. Circle hooks with salmon heads, whitefish heads, octopus or herring wired to the leader. Glow and/or yellow skirts, piece of sponge and a ton of scent. Put in the rod holders, set the drag light but tight enough so the weight doesn't keep pulling line out. Play cards, cast for salmon, shoot the shit and wait. Once a fish starts mouthing and pulling on the bait, feed it some line and let it "swallow" the bait, then slowly set the drag and start reeling. Sometimes, we will fish one rod with a spreader bar and tandem set 9/0 siwash and herring. That one is tighter drag and set the hook when fish hits, don't wait for the mouthing and swimming off.

    I do offset all my siwash hooks when fishing plugs and hootchies. And it is legal, just pinch the barb

    Cheers

    SS

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  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    5,858

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    Thanks Sitka,

    Great post and information needed in there.
    Also heard some "pink" for skirts/squids" also is another color.
    The macho angler starts off refusing to use that color, right up to the point that their wives catch all the Hali!!
    Then suddenly, pink is okay....they just wont admit it!

    Anyways, cheers, great informative post...appreciated.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Posts
    138

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    SS nails it, line and sinker, oh and Hook
    Great post SS
    WSSBC
    BCWF
    CCFR
    BHA

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cherryville
    Posts
    3,643

    Re: Circle Hooks...to Bend or NOT to Bend???

    Circle hooks are great for not losing fish and fishing heavy structure with less snags. Can be frustrating hooking em sometimes, need to be patient for sure. I feed em some line and when they swim away put brakes on and start reeling em up let em hook themselves. I always open em up a bit and hit the tips with a flat file which seems to help. Even opened up I think Iíve only hooked 2 down deep, rest have been in lips and Iím talking hundreds of em. They are a pita to release however, Iím actually switching to a semi circle for that reason. I refuse to use trebles, havenít for over a decade. Even tandem singles I cut a lot of leaders while releasing, but seems best for herring so they make the cut still lol
    The only advantage to a light rifle is it's weight, all other advantages go to the heavier rifle..

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