Let's Argue... I Mean Discuss Circle Hooks

Discussion in 'Catfish Discussion' started by H2O Mellon, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    The famous Dinkbuster and I "fished" (and I use that term loosely last night.) :eek: We were using circles and he thought I should have engaged a couple fish but I didn't think the rod was loaded up at all. We each fish circles differently, so how do the rest of you guys use them? I normally do not loose many fish, when using circles. I lost one (prob not a cat or if it was it wasnt a big one) and I think I lost it becasue I did what too many people do, grab the rod too soon. :eek:

    When I'm using circles I wait until the rod really loads up. If that rod tip doesn't go down several inches, I keep it in the holder. Now, some say that I am patient but circle hook veterans such as Doc even out do me as far as being patient. Others will sometime grab the rod when the tip is just barley down.

    The following is to a link to a real quick generic tutorial about circles that I created a couple years ago.

    Here is what one of my rods will look like before I engage a hook set so to speak w/ circles.

    Custom Jim "Gator" Hudson Flathead/Blue Rod "Loading Up"

    Fenwich Sea Hawk Flathead/Blue Rod "Loading Up"

    So tell me, what does everyone else do?
  2. once i see that a fish is moving off steadily i will pick up and pull back on the rod with increasing pressure. the way i see it, by the time you see that rod bend the fish has the bait in his mouth far enough and is moving off. i just dont like to take the chance of a fish feeling something familiar and spitting it or taking a "bigger gulp" to get the food down farther only to have the rod pressure yank out the bait from his mouth. that and i am very impatient!:D

  3. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    Whoops, I forgot to add that the type of rod your using makes a difference too. I HATE rods such as Quantum Big Cats for circle hooks. The rod style just doesnt allow for a good "Load Up", in my opinon at least.
  4. pendog66

    pendog66 It swims its bait

    i like circle hooks they work well. But at the same time i dont like them because it takes away the fun of setting hook. But i usually wait until my rod is doubled over to the point drag pulls, but also i do what dink does when a fish is slightly bending the rod i pick it up and slowly pull the rod up to engage hook set.
  5. Hey Mellon, you and Dink have both seen me fish circles and I think I am even faster then Dink about grabbing the rod. Id say all of us are about equal when it comes to hooking/missing and even loosing an already hooked fish (based on what i have seen over the last 18 months fishing with both of you guys)
    I think if he has it solidly in his mouth, all 3 ( early, medium wait and a long wait) will hook him whil eif he pulls hard and doesnt hook himself, he probably never had the hook in his mouth so none of the methods would work, that is just my thought.

    Another point Bryan, in the winter, if you wait for a hard pulldown, youll be waiting a loooong time on those channels. Of course we all have had winter days where we all hook fish but then loose them.

  6. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    Yes, I will agree w/ that for sure! :p

    I still wait even in the winter. I don't remember loosing many fish. I may have lots that I don't hook, but few that I actually pull back on and miss. I would also say that when that does occure more times than not the hook has embeded itself in the bait. I will say that, in my opinon the missed fish (5#'s and larger) on circles (if used properly) are more often due to hooks embedding themselves in the bait versus fish comming off. Of corse I think you'd have to adjust if fishing for or catching dinks (less than 3 #'s or so).
  7. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    Here's what I'm going to do:

    I'm going to create a spreadsheet (or two) in Excel and print it off, keeping it in a waterproof page protector. I'm going to keep this log in the boat and/or in my tackle bag. I'm going to do a little study for the rest of this year and this coming winter (Jan & Feb). I'll come back and post the report. I bet that if used correctly (again, in my opinon waiting until the rod really loads up) that the catch ratio (if the hook is not embedded in the bait) will be 85-90%.

    I'm then going to keep track of others that I fish with and keep track of whether or not I think they engaged too early or just right. I bet a 5 gallon bag of shad :D that the other persons hook rate will be a good 25% less.
  8. flathunter

    flathunter Mellons mentor

    Now you guys know I have been lucky catching some niice flatheads this year.

    All have come on Cirlce hooks...I dont touch the rod till I think it's gonna break..Then when I fist pick it up I still dont pull back on it untill I feel the fishing pulling hard, and doubling the rod over. In other words I let the fish hook himself before I ever pick up the rod...Sometimes I will just put my hand on the rod and make sure it does not get pulled from the holder, and wiat 10-15 seconds to make sure the fish has hooked himself.
  9. circle hooks are a gift from the flathead gods, i let the fish run and slowly pick up the rod point it at the fish and start reeling, once i have a good amount of pressure a raise the rod up and the fight is on. if i am on a boat with holders its the same deal as flathunter, wait untill that rod is doubled, i try to use a rod with a little more give if im on a boat however, some more cusion for the fish to take
  10. seethe303

    seethe303 Senior Executive Member

    ok, I am curious having never used circle hooks before...

    since you guys are waiting till the rod loads considerably, are you not using the bait clicker on your reels?
  11. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    Correct, no clicker.
  12. dip

    dip dip

    team WHIZZZ uses clickas w/circle hooks.
  13. Doctor

    Doctor CJ Cat Attack Pack

    You think I'm patient, I can't hold a candle to Lynn she has more patients than anybody I have ever fished with, her rod tips are real fast but she has plenty of backbone to whip those fish with her rods.

    My E-Cats now have some pretty fast tips on them, there 11 years old so there pretty flexable, that I feel is the main secret to the use of circles, that and snelling the hooks will make a big difference in the setting of the circle, with the snell you get a straight line pull, with a knot it can be on the side of the hook eye, which will affect the hooking of them.

    Haven't seen much difference on waiting for the rod to load up as a lot of the Blues we catch never ease the rod down they just flat out slap it down hard, no warning at all, the bigger fish, 50# and up have always eased a rod down, seem to never get in a hurry, I live for those slow take downs cause I know a hog is on the end of the string when that happens, the smaller ones will tap it then pound the rod down, you young pups like to move fast on a rod, maybe I'm not patient but I'm generally slow to get to a rod:D too many times I have rushed a rod, I can move pretty fast until I get that first fish in the boat, as Lynn still has to coach me till the first one is in the boat, what works for us may not work for anybody else, different rods, line and drag setting all seem to change from person to person, pole to pole, at least on our boat, as I have to set Lynn's up different than mine.

    I can tell you this much, we have not lost many fish since 1999 when we switched over to circles, those things seem to catch and hold fish, Drum will drive you insane as there hard mouth the circles just don't seem to penetrate, but you get a cat on and generally we will get them in the boat, the other thing is we never ever horse a fish, even with trees around we try to steer them away but seldom do we even lean on them, we let the drag and the backbone of the rod and reel do there job, personal best Blues of 88#, and 56#, Flatheads of 56#, 51# and 20# Channel Cats have taught us to let the equipment do what it was designed to do.................Doc
  14. I hate circle hooks, but based off the fact I have caught my largest 3 flats on em I still use cirlce, but I do hate them. I try to let the rod double up before slowly applying pressure, once I know they are on and have given a couple headshakes I then give a good hookset, just to make sure its in there.

    I have no idea how many fish have doubled up a rod hard, then I pick it up, pressure and then nothing. Might have to try Doc's idea about snelling the hooks, might be somthing to that.
  15. dip

    dip dip

    in team WHIZZZZ i snell but da whizzzz doesn't and we have purdy much the same hook up percentage. doc leaned me how to use the clicker whilst using circles against flats. its a piece of cake actually!
  16. Well I think it depends on the mood of the fish the amount of current and the person on the end of the rod!!!!My buddy Tom is real fast to grab the rod,he also usually catches 2 times as many fish as me.The only thing I really know is that I love circles for cats most of the time:)
  17. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    I started using circles right after Doc started using them. I HATED them. I can't tell you how many fish I lost while using them. But, I found out that I was using them incorrectly. I still used my clickers and waited until the fish was taking line consistently. Then I would engage the reel and slowly pull the rod back. I'd have the fish for 5-10 seconds and then "POP", out the hook would come. I tried for 2 years to use circles and gave up. I can't catch fish most of the time anyway so it was doubly painful to lose the ones that were actually stupid enough to bite my bait. :p

    Then an epiphany hit me one day. I was discussing circles with a guy at work and was describing the idea behind them. Circles started on longlines for tuna. The bait would hang in the water with floats on the mainline. When the tuna took the bait, they would swimn down and away from the mainline. The pressure would slide that hook out of the fish's gullet and stick the fish right in the corner of the jaw. I realized at that moment that to make the hooks perform properly, I had to let the fish pull against an engaged reel until the hook was set. Then it was possible to reel them in. Once I started doing that, my catch rate soared. I have to say that even though my total numbers suck overall, my catch rate is probably 90% or even better. If a fish pulls the rod down and loads it as spoken about, I RARELY have one come unbuttoned. I use the 8/0 Gammys like Doc did and may still use as I like the big gap. I think it catches the jaw better. And I've only had 1 fish in the last 3 years get gut hooked with a circle. The hook is always right in the corner of the mouth.

    I was a true circle hater until I changed my tactics. Now I watch the rod as it drops and wait until it is loaded to pick it up- 10 to 15 seconds seems about right. Once they're hooked they usually don't get off.

  18. flathead

    flathead flathead

    I think there are two major keys that make circle hooks more productive. The first is the type of circle hook you are using because each brand varies so much, and some to be honest aren't worth a darn. I have had awesome hook up rates with Diachi's circle chunk light 5/0 for flatheads and blues and 3/0 for channels. The second element is the way it is tied. A circle hook is not nearly as effective if it is tied using a regular knot. Instead of tying you have to snell the hook, this makes the world of difference. I find that on days when fish are finicky and the bite is light, I still have no problems getting the hook set with these two factors in place.

    The link below does a great job of explaining and Illustrating the difference between a Snelled hook and a tied

  19. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    I was snelling all of my hooks and making the hook "curl in" towards the leader and I understand why this is beneficial. I found that the hook-up ratio was high and I was happy. BUT, I also found something else. I use 8/0 Gammys and the wire is simply rolled into an eye. Whatever grabs the wire to form the eye leaves a small "dent" on the wire and the eye is not fully closed. Upon a hard pull, the snell woould pull tight against the edge of the wire at the "dent" and it would cut the line. I looked at other circles out there, (Mustad demons, owners, Eagle Claw) and saw the same issue. I wondered if that same issue was causing some of the broken lines people were suffering from. I started to tie my hooks just because of that and I can honestly say I have seen no drop in hook-up ration.

    So, not really arguing so much as commenting on my experience. I tie an improved clinch knot with 4 turns in 50lb Big Game mono for my leaders and can say that I haven't had a knot fail since as far as I can tell.
  20. flathunter

    flathunter Mellons mentor

    I dont snell my circles either, and have a very good hookup ratio.