I am amazed at the number of people that still ask me what the weird hook on my rod is when I go fishing. If you have not yet tried circle hooks you need to jump in with both feet and give them a try. They are my hook of choice for live or cut bait on nearly all that I fish for these days. They are now even made in small sizes for panfish and other small fish. I have found that my grandkids even catch more fish as they have a hard time setting the hook. With a circle hook the girls can just start reeling the fish in when the bobber goes under and they love how many fish they catch on the small circle hooks.
How many times have you gone to set a hook on a fish and missed it? When I used to take the kids to the Texas coast to go fishing they had a hard time catching redfish, pompano, croaker and trout because they could not set the hook properly. After rigging them up with what then was a new-fangled circle hook their catch rates went way up. I started using them on surf rigs for pompano, whiting, redfish, black drum and other fish. All you had to do was start reeling and the fish would hook themselves. Most of the time the fish hook themselves before you even get the rod picked up to start reeling. The best part was ninety-nine percent of them were hooked right in the corner of the mouth. No more gut hooked fish and no more undersized fished hooked so deep they would die after being released.
The simple circle hook has become the hook of choice for thousands of Texas sportsmen because they work. They help you catch fish and do it humanely. I have used them with popping corks, shrimp, live and cut bait. I have rigged surf rigs, bottom rigs and trotlines with circle hooks and they keep right on catching fish. I have seen a big increase in trotline and jugline hookups on catfish with the circle hooks.
The cardinal rule of circle hooks is do not set the hook. If you are one of those that have a hard sweeping hook set that will yank a bass into next week, it may take a while for you to adjust to the circle hook. It took me a while to quit jerking the hook away from fish when I first started using the circle hook. As my hookups increased and I began to land more fish I was converted for good. When a fish takes the bait, simply bring the line tight and start reeling. I know it is hard to believe and it took me a while to trust them also, but now I am a true believer. If you have not tried the circle hook, pick up some and give them a whirl. Be sure and try some of the new small size circle hooks for panfish. I think you will find your hookup percentage will take a big jump. Keep what you need and release the rest, Wild Ed