GUATEMALA FISHING VACATION GUATEMALA SPORTFISHING AND FLY FISHING
CIRCLE HOOKS
       Circle Hooks and Bill Fishing in Guatemala

What are “circle hooks”? To a fisherman seeing one for the first time you kind of wonder why anyone would use them or took time to invent them. They are similar in size to the more common “J” shaped hook but the opening is smaller and the barb points toward the body of the hook forming a circular shape, hence their name. At first glance it would appear fish would seldom be caught with circle hooks because the barb points the wrong way and the smaller than usual opening would difficult hooking anything.

Surprise, surprise, first impressions are wrong. Depending which study an angler consults, circle hooks have been shown to be as effective or more effective than “J” hooks for catching all types of fish including billfish. Some studies say fishermen catch 60% more fish, others 100% more fish with circle hooks than with “J” hooks. Catching more fish is a bonus but the real advantage of circle hooks is that they are designed to hook a fish in the lip or corner of the mouth and this happens about 95% of the time, preventing “deep hooking” and “foul hooking”. Removing a circle hook is fast and easy, take a pair of pliers and rotate the hook out of the mouth.

A “J” hook works by attaching itself wherever soft tissue is available. Normally, as soon as a fish bites, the first thing an angler does is “set the hook” by swiftly pulling the rod up and reeling in some line. This violent maneuver guarantees (anglers wish) that the barb of the hook will penetrate some soft tissue inside the mouth thus hooking the fish. Some fish, like billfish, have bony mouths so when the “J” hook tries to find purchase it just slides along and it either pops out of the mouth with the bait or attaches to the the upper palate, throat, pharynx, oesophagus or in the stomach. Anglers who practice catch and release know deep hook injuries, caused by any type of hook, are often mortal due to bleeding and that the hook sometimes is left inside the fish since its so deep there is no way to remove it without killing the fish. This is not a problem for the angler fishing for tasty, sought after fish like Dorado (dolphin), flounder, mangrove snapper, redfish, grouper, etc., since the whole point of going fishing is catching fish to eat.

Here is where circle hooks come in. They have been around for years and were adopted in the late 1970’s for use by longline commercial fishing boats because not only did fish hook themselves but also studies showed they were 85% more effective than “J” hooks and the hooked fish were alive when the longline was retrieved. It is ironic that recreational anglers, to preserve fish, have recently adopted commercial fishing hooks known and used for their ability to catch large numbers of fish.

We did say fish hooked themselves and we are not joking. When fishing using circle hooks and a fish takes the bait, do not set the hook! Wait. Count out one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc., meditate about why there are no pregnant ladybugs, speculate on the price of bananas on Mars, just don’t set the hook! As the fish swims away the line becomes taut allowing the hook to rotate inside the fish’s mouth and lodge itself in the corner of the mouth. When the rod is flexed and the line taut that means the fish is hooked. Patience is very important because if the angler tries to set a circle hook the same way as a “J” hook, more often than not it will just be pulled out of the mouth of the fish. After a bite a mate on our boats grabs the rod but doesn’t do anything until the billfish swims away pulling the line taut and bending the rod, then he counts to five and “tests” whether the hook has been set by reeling in some line. This technique usually works very well.

If a “self-hooking hook” was not good enough, circle hooks have other advantages. Once hooked, billfish tend to leap and violently shake their head side to side to try and loose the hook. It looks spectacular and anglers love it but “J” hooks are sometimes dislodged this way. The circle hooks round shape and the direction of the barb helps to prevent dislodgement so fish don’t de-hook as much when doing their aerial stunts. Another great advantage is that humans hook themselves less in the hand, ear and/or other body parts and clothes with circle hooks because the barb points toward the body of the hook.

Not all circle hooks are created equal though. Besides “normal circle hooks” there are “offset circle hooks” whose barb does not point to the body of the hook but opens up, similar to a “J” hook’s. Depending on the degree that the barb is offset, 4 to 15 degrees, they become about as effective as “J” hooks at deep hooking as in their ability to catch fish. Like “J” hooks, “offset circle hooks” also cause more foul hooking of fish. Foul hooking means hooking a fish by the eye, gills, etc. Billfish depend on their eyesight to hunt and catch their prey so an eye wound seriously diminishes a billfish’s ability to feed and damaging the gills hampers the billfish’s survivability. Some circle hooks are made out of stainless steel and will not degrade with time so if a fish is lost with a stainless steel hook in it, that hook will be in the fish forever.

In Guatemala “catch and release” for all billfish is the law. Since it’s beginning our company has adopted a circle hook only policy for bill fishing and releasing the fish unharmed is a very important goal. Guatemala has the best sailfishing in the world and we do our best to keep it that way.

 

For more information or questions contact us
International:
1-336 655 0541

Guatemala:
Office: 00(502) 7934-62-20
Cell: 5966-4528 or 4065-1179

apycom                 designed by 3amigos.com
written by Kevin Styles www.Greatsailfishing.com
facebook
Bookmark and Share
facebook
twitter