A circle hook is a fishing hook manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the hook shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape. It has become widely used among anglers in recent years because the hook typically catches more fish and is rarely swallowed. Since the circle hook catches the fish on the lips at the corner of its mouth, it usually decreases the mortality rates of released fish. The circle hook’s shape allows it to only hook onto an exposed surface, which in the case of a fish means the corner of its mouth. The fish takes the baited hook and swallows it, and as the hook is reeled in, it is safely pulled out of the fish until it reaches the mouth. At this point it will catch the corner of the mouth, resulting in fewer gut-hooked fish.
This approach is useful for conservation since it improves survival rates after release.
Love them or hate them we are required by law to use circle hooks in Costa Rica when fishing with live or dead bait.
Circle hooks are not something new. They have been found made from seashells in the burial grounds of pre-Columbian Indians as well as in the Pacific coast Native American burial grounds. The Japanese made them long ago out of reindeer horns. They are really quite easy to use if you plant this in your brain.
For a circle hook to work, the movement must be slow. The forward movement of the boat will take the hook and pull it. The circle hook will pivot at the corner of the fishes mouth and set itself. You can then fight the fish in a typical fashion.
Remember, Crank, don’t Yank.