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Circle or J hook ?

Over the last few years there has been a move to the use of circle hooks in fact north of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico region it is now law to have to use them for reef fish. We have had fantastic results with large 22/0  circle hooks on goliath grouper in fact it is the only way to catch them and we have now had fish to near 600 lb. Any thing that helps fish welfare can only be a good thing and as nearly all the fish we catch goes back the better they go back the more chance they have. Circle hooks come from the far east where the long liners wanted a hook that would not get a deep hook sett and be very hard to come out. This is where the problems can start you often need complete slack line and the only way to get the hook out is to reverse the circle backwards. This is fine on most fish but when it comes to shark a very different ball game indeed.


This all came to light reading an article in a UK mag where the author was talking about have to cut the trace and then pull it through the fish to get the circle hook out. As few UK shark are over 100 lb this is fine but on Florida Keys shark a very different game, with bull and tiger shark often many hundreds of pounds not a game I would want to play. With our sharking I use what might seem small a 10/0 J hook with a micro barb in 4 x strength as they say elephants eat pea nuts and we have had shark over 1000 lbs with this hook. With shark up to 100 lb I still like to tee bar and fish over 100 lb we have an ARC dehooker on a 6 ft pole this being as close as I want to be to our toothy critters. So there you have it circle hooks for nearly all our fishing but J hooks for shark, the last thing I want as skip for guys on fishing holidays is an accident.