To circle or not to circle that is the question...

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by veryama1975, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. veryama1975

    veryama1975 New Member

    South West Mich
    I'm new to the BOC but ever since I joined I've heard a lot about circle hooks. From what I've read in a member article here it seems that with circle hooks you don't "set the hook." That you are actually more likely to lose the cat if you try to set the hook. Instead you leave your clutch engaged(not in free spool) & then wait for the cat to load up the rod & hook itself.

    When not using circle hooks, you leave your rod in free spool & turn on the clicker. When a cat takes it you let it run a little & then set the hook, right?

    What hooks are best when you are not using the "hands off circle hook method?" Are octopus hooks used the same way as circle hooks or should you set the hook with them?

    What method will generally get you more cats: the hands off circle hook method or the free spool, clicker, then set the hook method?

    Thanks everybody for the help!
  2. alton

    alton New Member

    I have been using circle hooks for the last 2 years and will never use any other type hook. I only bank fish in the Mississippi around the dam here in Alton IL. I kind of understand the "setting the hook" concerns, but I will assure you when my 12' rods start diving with a 5# to 50# fish, the fish is on. Fishing from a boat may be a different story.
    The main reason I like the circle hooks is because I release all fish. So far 100% of the fish I have caught have had a perfect corner mouth hookset.
    The fish gets released with no harm. I use the octopus circles. Good luck to you.

  3. catfishscotty

    catfishscotty Well-Known Member

    when fishing in current or drifting in a lake i love circle hooks just make sure to use rod holders in a boat or on the bank its excitting to see the rod smash over. when fishing calm water still fishing in free spool or with using a float i like big kahle and J hooks to set the hook, its also excitting to hear the bait clicker go off and jerk. its just what you find you like the best in the situation your fishing in . the nice thing about using circle hooks is if you fish with several rods out they hook themselves if you are buisy cutting bait , netting a fish, or reeling 1 in you wont miss if another 1 bites. the team catfish double action hooks are supose to be a combo hook and you can jerk or let the rod load up. ( sells them i havnt had a chance to try them out yet myself.
  4. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    I prefer the "J" hooks or the "Kahle" Hooks over the circles. Whatever floats your boat.:wink:
  5. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    East of KC
    Octopus hooks are standard j-hooks - set 'em. I use circles almost exclusively and love them. Other guys hate them, depends on your fishing style and experiences with them.

    I almost never free-spool/clicker set up because I'm generally fishing a lot of current and free-spool doesn't work for me. Since I mainly target blues, which generally hit like a freight train in the summer, setting the hook on Jhooks is almost immaterial to me since even when I used them the fish usually hooked itself from the force of the hit, the "set" was more of a reflex on my part.

    You'll notice I use "generally" and "almost" a lot. Your tackle selection, set up, and rigs are based hugely on your fishing style, the waters you fish, and the way the fish are biting at a given time. I say I almost never use J hooks, which is true, but if the bite is light, I will switch to J's and try to set the hook on them while they're tapping.

    I use circles because I tend to doze off a lot while night fishing and I have a better chance of the fish setting himself on circles than waking me up to set the hook with a j hook. Both examples of why I use certain tackle and styles that may or may not apply to you :wink:

    Another piece of it is confidence. I love circles because all of my best fish have come on them. It's self fulfilling, I use them a lot so it makes sense I catch fish on them, but it makes me feel better, so that's what matters:smile2:

    Take our input, try some things out, and use what works for you. You'll get plenty of pointers from everybody here, but bottom line is use what works for YOU and that YOU are comfortable with. And if you do try circles, leave the rod alone until it goes down and stays down. Then pick it up and reel 'em in. :wink: Good Luck~

  6. tncatfishing

    tncatfishing New Member

    clk. tn
    Best thing to do is try different styles of hooks till you find what best suites you, personaly I like tru turn hooks, but use all styles.
  7. caneycat

    caneycat New Member

    I love circle hooks I will not fish with any other hook, I set the hook with circle hooks, most of the time the fish will not load the rod for me so i set the hook, all I can say is too try setting the hook and then try let the fish hook him self and see which one you like the most.
  8. oh no

    oh no New Member

    How well do circles work on jugs and trot lines???????????????? I'm going to try them this year on trot lines and jugs/
  9. turtle1173

    turtle1173 Member

    Mayfield, KY
    Last year was the first year we used circles. I started off with some experimenting and then eventually switched all of my rods out with them. It really was lots of fun.

    I really enjoy watching the rod bounce a time or two and then just fold over. My personal favorites are when they just slowly start taking it down then next thing you know it's doubled over about in the water with line peeling off. Ah, you've got to love that!!

    I leave the drag fairly tight but not too much.
  10. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Circle hooks aren't for everyone.

    If you're the type who has to jump up and grab the rod out of the holder as soon as the tip twitches, circle hooks aren't for you.

    If you're the the type who thinks a "rod holder" is a forked willow branch, circle hooks aren't for you.

    If you're the type who has to "cross their eyes" when you set the hook, circle hooks aren't for you.

    If you're the type who has to leave the reel on free spool so they can "run with it", circle hooks aren't for you.

    But if you want to improve your catch rates while also ensuring that you almost never gut hook a fish, circle hooks are for you.
  11. catfishscotty

    catfishscotty Well-Known Member

    situations circle hooks dont work good in is , walking the bait in current ( creeping) , bottom bouncing ( drifting in current ) , and float rigs i have more sucess with kahles and J hooks and setting the hook.
  12. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    I'll add one more to T's list

    If your the type that wants to finish your beer as you watch the rod go down then this buds :eek:oooh:I mean those circle hooks are for you:smile2:.

    I like Gamakatsu 8/0 circles and 10/0 owners. Let the rod load up with these.

    Also like Kahle hooks from 7/0 - 10/0. You can let the rod load up or jerk as hard as you want with these.

    FATFLATTIE New Member

    ILM, NC
    Here's my thoughts on the subject. I fish nothing but circles in swift current b/c clickers are useless and blues generally slam it anyways. There's no need to let the fish "take it". They either eat it or they don't. However, in lakes I use circles for cutbait and I use J-hooks for live bait. I've too often had the hook get turned all around using live bait and circle hooks. When a fish takes the live bait with a J-hook, you can jam the hook home and it'll rip right through the bait. I use clickers on my live bait rods just b/c I like to:wink: There isn't any difference in hook up ratios if you use each hook like it's supposed to be used. That's just been my observations. If you use a clicker then use a J-hook b/c it's just too hard to engage the reel and let it load properly, I increased my hook up % a ton by switching to J-hooks on my live bait rods. Hope some of this helps.

    PS-No matter what style hook you choose to go with make sure it's big enough, remember a 2lb fish can easily get a 8/0 hook in it's mouth.
  14. baptistpreach

    baptistpreach New Member

    IMO, you should try a Kahle hook, how can do either, set the hook, or let it hook itself, and it hooks in the corner of mouth!
  15. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Triadelphia, WV
    Walter Flack

    Ive been using circle hooks since 2002. Keep in mind that using circles isnt for everyone. You must be patient when first experimenting with them and find what works for you or not.

    What circles work? I have found the wide gap circles (gap between the point and shank of the hook), work the best. I only use 2 brands that have this. The 8/0 gamakatsu octopus circle and the 7/0 Daiichi Circle Chunk Light. Have caught many of flatheads,blues and channels on both these hooks.

    Technique? Yes, you must have the discipline to let the fish do the work and hook himself. However, you can use both free-spool and tight-line techniques and still be successful. Again, you must find what works best for yourself. When targeting flatheads using circles, I like to use the free-spool technique and let them run. Flatheads tend to smash the bait (kill strike), drop it then come back to eat it. I usually get my flatheads on the second run by free-spooling, holding the rod with the tip pointing at the fish when he is taking line out. I then engage the reel and him pull the line tight until I feel the weight of the pull on the rod. Then I just gradually lift the rod until the tip is up at a about 45 degrees or pointing up at the sky. FISH ON...Start reeling in.

    For blues and channels I just use the tight-line technique and let them load the pole up. Sometimes when the blues are not hitting hard and just pecking at the bait, I will switch to a 8/0 - 10/0 Kahle hook.

    Hope this helps some and good luck with your circle hook quest
  16. irishangler

    irishangler Member

    I agree with everything said about circle hooks. I've used them for the past year with great success. If there's such a thing as an "idiot-proof" hookset, a circle hook does it. The rod simply loads up and the fish is on. The only downside I've seen is that circle hooks can be tough on live bait. It usually takes a little extra effort to work the hook through bait and this can stress it to the point of it dying too soon. There may be good news on the owner of a mom & pop tackle shop told me that "a leading company" was coming out with an improved circle hook specifically for live bait. It is supposed to be made of a strong but smaller guage wire with a wider gap. I'll try to find out which company is making this and share on another post.

  17. channelcathunter64

    channelcathunter64 New Member

    i love circles, there the only thing i use for catfishin i have had 100% hookup ratio in the lips with them even when i set the hook myself
  18. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    I started using circle hooks 5 years ago, I will use nothing else for flatheads...Now I do have very heavy duty bank rod holders..They will let the fish load the rod clear up to the breaking point and wont budge...You can also use a clicker with a circle, but I dont like to, when using a clicker with a circle as soon as you hear it grab your rod and engage the spool, just hold the rod till it loads up.
  19. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    its up to u im a circle hook man 100%
  20. Fishhead1

    Fishhead1 Member

    That is actually what they were designed for by oceanic commercial fishermen and hell indians before them. Fish catch themselves, fish get hooked in the corner of the mouth and therefore would live longer on the hook allowing for fresh processing of flesh. All my jugs have been converted over to circles.