Losing fish on Gama circle hooks - opinions wanted

Discussion in 'Terminal Tackle Review' started by brad kilpatrick, May 14, 2006.

  1. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Kansas City
    Ok fellas here is the scoop. I'm using a carolina rig. 100lb test powerpro, 6 or 8 oz no roll, bead, swivel, 12"-18" 40lb big game mono leader to a 8/0 Gama octipus circle and a nice 2-3" chunk of cutbait hooked in the corner.

    I've been fishing with My clicker on, rod in a holder. When I get a run I've been letting the fish move the bait for about 5 seconds before engaging the reel. I then let the rod load up real good before Taking it out of the holder.

    I've had several fish on and fighting them for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.And then all the sudden nothing, They are gone. Lost 4 fish last night alone. Two in the 15-20 lb range, and two in the 35-40 lb range ( I got to see one of the larger fish a flathead)

    So what in the heck is going on????....Why am I not hooking these fish well enough to land them????? On the Flathead that I lost lastnight, after getting the rod out of the holder. I slowly pulled sideways, rod level with the water, against the fish untill My drag slipped Thinking this would assure a good hookset. But lost that one as well. I could have had an easy 150 lb night if I could have gotten those fish in the boat.
  2. IL Hunter

    IL Hunter New Member

    Normal, IL
    When iI fish with circles. I have my reel already engaged. When a fish hits and loads the rod up really good. I pick it up with out jerking the rod and start reeling. It Hooks up close to 100% of the time.

  3. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    I have lost several big fish with those same hooks, the point of the hook somehow turned into the bait and prevented a good hookup,
  4. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Kansas City
    I had that happen at least once for sure, The tip was burried in My bait. But on these 4 fish lastnight, The bait was still hanging free or gone. So I don't think that was the prob.
  5. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Akron, Ohio
    I know of others and I too that have had it happen. Me with "J" hooks toooo, ouch!! I use to think the cats just had the bait it in their mouth just holding down on it Real Real Hard and just did not get hooked yet!! :crazy: I now BELIEVE/GUESS that the hook is hung up on their hard butt lip and the barb did not penatrate into the hard lip. I too would like an answer and have seen this way too much (two times out of 95 Flatheads)!!!!!

    IF there was a "J" hook that had a small hard point with a small hard barb real real close to the point instead of way way back from the point I would use them.

    Could this happen with a "circle"?? From what little I know from here I think it may.
  6. Itch2Scratch

    Itch2Scratch New Member

    Ivy Bend on LOZ, Missouri
    The first time I used circles, I was also using Braided line...my hook up ratio was really bad....tried them again this year with mono and had much better success. However...I have been doing something else different as well....using slack line with the reel locked and drag backed off so they can pull line if needed (but still enough for them to set the hook themselves).....seems to allow them to take the bait deeper prior to the line tightening on them.....I have been lettin them load the rod (by sitting on the far side of the dock away from the rods)...LMAO...and then just raising the tip...reeling them in..I have been doing NO hookset. Most of the fish I have lost using circles this year was due to the point of the hook winding up embedded in the bait. Granted that is my ONLY experience with circles...so I am not an expert by any means:embarassed: ....LOL.....as far as hook up percentage...I am falling in love with the Kahles...LOL:big_smile:
  7. barbel

    barbel New Member

    I have actually had this same problem with the same hooks before. A lot of the time it is that the hook turns into the bait, but the couple times, like you were saying, where it didn't, what I think the problem was is they caught it either on their toothy patch, or just bit down on the bait and didnt want to let go. Maybe give them a little longer to adjust the bait in their mouth, let the circle hook set the way it is designed to, and then a few seconds after you think you have them, give it a little bit of a tug (jerk sideways or upwards) to make sure the hook got in there nice and good.

  8. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Just one more reason to switch to kahles Brad!
  9. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Yea I noticed that happen to me. dont be afraid to pick up the rod and give it a slow hookset kind of like your pumping the rod slow and it should get solid once the hook sets. I had one bend over bouncing my rod thought IT HAD TO BE SET. NO so next bite I tried to slowly set the hook like ive herd um say to and bingo fish on. what was happing there is it wasnt getting in the corner (maybe the way the bait was hooked?) but with the rod bent and a slow steady pull it went on ahead and hooked up fine. What do you got to loose if youre missin um? what to gain maybe some more hookups?
  10. s_man

    s_man New Member

    south east ohio
    One other thought, maybe it was hooked in the corner of its mouth, just the edge though and the hook pulled through. I"ve brought flatties up next to the boat with just a little piece of skin holding the hook and one last head shake and it pops right through.
  11. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of people are scared of the circle hook. I too leave my clicker on but most times wish I didn't. The shape of the circle is how it works to penetrate. I hear all the time not to set the hook, but once I feel a solid hook up I always set the hook. I don't rip the lips off but I do make sure that it's in there past the barb. A lot of times with a J hook we get a run then we feel the lil rascal tugging stopping tugging stopping. How many times have we decided to see if we can get him and set the hook into nothing? I have many times and sometimes have even gotten one. The circle definitely trains you better cause you'll never set one the way I mentioned above. That said I have often gotten a short fast 5-8 sec burst on the clicker only to find when I get there that the run has stopped. Sometimes the fishy is there, other times he's gone! If i had the guts to leave the clicker off and the rod in a sturdy holder, I myself would probably have a better hookset ratio but no! I have to try to reinvent the wheel. This ain't rocket science guys. I remember the first fish I caught on a circle. I did it like the guys here said. I had a goldfish on a circle in a rod holder locked down. The fish hit so hard that he pulled himself out of the water because of the current and the small amount of 100lb line holding him. It was a 6lb fish my first on live bait and because i didn't get fancy.... pole with bait, circle, sturdy holder reel cranked down = fish on!
  12. center12

    center12 New Member

    OK, I've got to question the whole circle hook logic.

    Do you really believe that bent in barb is actually going to get you a better hook penetration than a straight hook?? We've all heard about the studies that say the longliners were producing more fish with circles, right? To me the longliners world and the R&R fisherman's goals are miles apart. The longliner wants a hook that will keep the fish hooked for 24 hours, or until they next run their lines. Do we R&R fisherman have any need to keep a fish hooked for 24 hours?? The bent barb on a circle makes it certain that the fish can't throw the hook but their way of gauging success is tilted to the hook that holds a fish for 24 hours. How many fish were held on the J-hook for an hour, 2 hours, 6 hours but then the fish got loose............that is a negative in their production based world. How many of you R&R guys have actually fought a fish for an hour???

    They talk in those studies about more corner of the mouth hook ups with circles than j-hooks...............I'll buy that a straight circle is safer for the fish because it won't "work" until it finds a corner, but that is a straight circle, search thru the BOC and have a look for the most popular circle hook. Guess what, the Gama Octopus circle comes in a straight line model but it ain't the most popular.........the off-set is. I've personally gut hooked Flatheads on those circle hooks, the fish just layed there and swallowed the bait...........did that circle preform an better than a j-hook??

    BradK, has a hit, about a 25 pound blue. Now these Kaw river blues just grab the bait and load the rod, ain't no tap, tap here. First time this happens he has a circle hook on. Fish grabs his 2-3" shad chunk, gets it all the way in it's mouth and turns to swim away, circle hook gets pulled to the corner of the mouth and first hook to fish contact is made............a bent over barb contacts the side of the mouth, we've still got work to do, next the shaft of the hook comes out of the mouth and gets moved around the corner of the mouth. This allows the fish to move the corner of it's mouth deeper into the hook gap, this now puts bent barb in position to penetrate the flesh, ending up with a "hooked" fish. What if the back side of the hook was the first thing to make contact with the side of the fish's mouth? Could it flip into the proper position to hook the fish? Remember that the longliners hooks are suspended off the bottom, I believe a catfish generally moves down after taking a suspended bait(does your bobber generally go under when a fish takes your bait). This would allow the longliners circle to always be in the right position to hook in the roof of the mouth or the corners(read the "maiming" thread about eye hooking with circles). What if there is some of the bait in the gap, what if the barb hooked back on the bait...............what if's!!!

    Same fish, different hook...........Gama Octopus J-hook. I'll make this brief, that sharp(straight) barb is going to penetrate on first contact with fish flesh. And guess what, you don't have to set the hook!! That fish is pulling on that straight hook no less than it does a circle. How many millions of fish have been hooked by straight hooks on longlines, trotlines, jugs, and limblines.........who set the hook on those??? I contend that the actual barb to flesh hookup rate is higher with J- hooks than it is with circle hook, it's just that once a circle is planted(anyones guess) the fish isn't getting off as easy. One added element to the longliner vs the R&R fisherman is that on a longline the fish has the chance to have zero tension on the hook, the bent barb of the circle wouldn't allow the hook to "jiggle" out. How often does a R&R fish not have tension on the hook?? Not often in my world.

    Use your SHARP J-hooks like circles and see what happens. You can also give the fish a little tug without worrying about pulling the hook out of it's mouth!!

    Thanks for the soapbox:big_smile:
  13. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Los Angele
    When I notice that the fish are biting finicky I switch to regular J's and set the hook myself. I notice there are nights that the circles gives me no problems, then there are some nights that I lose many fish. Anyways when I use my circles I let them load up and just start reeling in. No swinging what so ever.
  14. trnsmsn

    trnsmsn New Member

    Missouri Originally Now I
    In My Post Earlier,RE."Maiming", I still Contend That The Angle Due To The Bait Being Suspended Has Alot To Do With The Hook-Up Ratio & How The Mechanics Of THe Hookset Actually Come Into Play.

    Once I Got Over My Overwhelming Desire To "Jerk Their Lips Off", I Began To Increase My Hook -Up Ratio Immensely. I have Been Try To Keep The Rod Tip Elevated & Once The Rod Is Loaded Good, Just Start Reeling Up Against Them. So Far This Method Is Working Good For Me:0a26: Elliot
  15. sgt_rob

    sgt_rob Member

    Bossier City, LA
    One other possibility, and a reason I think I missed a few earlier this week is that I am hooking the live bait too close to the tail. The cat swallows the bait head first. If he grabs a bait head first and leaves the tail (and hook) hanging out until he gets done with his run, you might yank the hook out of the bait before the bait is actually in the cats mouth. Move the hook closer to the head and give it a try. Also, make sure the hook is "dig in the fingernail" sharp everytime.
  16. catfishkatmando

    catfishkatmando New Member

    Salem, WV.
    I don't use circle hooks much but I thing I read some where that off set circle hooks gave better hok ups than regular circle hooks
  17. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    I agree with Ken try slack line with the reel locked down also make sure there is no bait present between the point of the hook and the shank. If that doesnt work switch to the kayle and you wont have that problem with a good hard hook set. 777
  18. tdpasser

    tdpasser New Member

    Gilbert AZ
    I prefer the J hook be cause I believe the gap between the shank and the tip of the hook allows for more catch. I let my fish take some line then allow the line to be picked up as the fish moves and with the rod tip down towards the water and the line now tight I smoothly and firmly bring the rod tip up to the top position and get decent hookups.

    I have a friend that likes the circles and what he does is puts the blugill on then a small piece of rubber worm past the barb which he feels keeps the bait on better and allows for a better hook set.
  19. copycat

    copycat New Member

    New Jersey
    Why are you using so much weight? Go with the lightest weight you can get away with! Do not use braided line at all and try not letting them run so much with it. Another thing to try is to keep the reel in gear but it sounds like you are using to much weight. If you suspect the fish to be monsters then maybe try the 10/0 kahle
  20. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    Personally I think the problem is with the clicker and letting the fish run.I had an experience just like the one described while fishing with a guide at Santee.Finally after missing 6-8 fish in a short period of time I turned the clickers off and locked the reels.No problem after that.You might want to switch to the DAICHI circle chunk lights which have a bigger gap.Normally a fish takes the bait and immediately turns away to swim off.If he has the bait in the center of his mouth and can pull line ie Clicker there is no resistance to pull the hook to the corner of his mouth.When drift fishing there is continous movement of the bait and when they turn its slam dunk hook-up time.I use Kahles and would bet with the reel locked down my hook up rate is above 95%.This is just a theory and I'm sure the clicker guys are going to jump all over it which is ok.Why let them run?The fish make a turn as soon as they pickup the bait most of the time so by letting them run you are wasting that perfect moment when all the forces aline to pull the hook to the corner.Once the fish turns and is going away the line is then pulled at an upward angle over his head which further agravates the situation.It isn't necessary with circles to let them "run" just let them load up the rod.When you pick up the rod after letting them run,that resistance is also turning the fish which wastes the force needed for a good hook set particularly if the have clamped down hard on the bait.Just some thoughts and experiences.:smile2: