The circle hook has been in use for over a century now thanks to Australian commercial fisherman who created the initial design to avoid snagging on coral outcroppings such as the Great Barrier Reef. It was quickly realized that this design allowed for more successful hook rates among fishermen and has been adopted worldwide. Additionally, the circle hook has helped lessen the mortality rate of fish than previously accomplished with the popular J-Hook style. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, “…the Commission’s Striped Bass Technical Committee estimated that 1.3 million striped bass were lost due to recreational hook and line release mortality in 2000, more than the number landed by the commercial fishery that year.” Often fish which are caught and released appearing healthy will die later of damages caused to internal organs, such as the gills, by hooks. What makes a circle hook so special? It’s unique design allows for consistent hook placement in the corner of the mouth avoiding the fish’s vital organs and allowing successful catch and release.
HOT TIP: Do not set a circle as you would with a J hook. This will most likely pull the hook straight out of the fish’s mouth. Instead, you can usually just start reeling, applying tension to the line, which allows the hook to do all the work.