joe0306

Circle Hook Question (Chunk Bait)

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This is probably repetitive at this point, but I am really needing some assistance with circle hooks.

 

I'm using 6/0 hooks and mackerel chunks. I frequently feel bites and taps and try everything suggested from there. Pointing the rod at the fish, reeling in slowly, releasing the bail and counting a few seconds, etc.. I just can't for the life of me hook up to fish. To make matters worse, I fish on the rocky shoreline so at times I can even see the fish attacking my mackerel, but the fish fails to swallow it or swallows it for a few seconds and runs. A lot of times, they just bump it repeatedly and swim around it.

 

What do I do in situations where the fish is just tapping the bait, by the way - these are 20+ inch fish from what I can see, so they should have no trouble swallowing my mack chunk.

 

Appreciate any help.

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6 mins ago, BrianBM said:

A smaller hook and a smaller chunk might help.  How much of a snell or leader connects your hook to your swivel?

About 2-3 feet of 30# fluorocarbon leader. I was casting out pretty small chunks at times and could see the fish hit it and bump into it, but no opportunity for hook ups. I guess the problem could be the size of hook, but I thought 6/0 sized hooks were a pretty standard size for all sizes of bass.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I disagree with Brian 

A larger 8/0 or 9/0 circle fished on a tight drag with very little reaction from the angler will hook plenty of fish. I’ve often joked that the rod holder has the best hookup ratio on the boat, especially if the angler is relatively inexperienced and used to doing the Jimmy Houston hook set. Also when hooking the bait make sure to do it lightly and in a way that it won’t roll over on itself and bury the point back into the bait. This is super important because if that hook rolls you are never gonna get a proper set. 

Edited by giggyfish

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Well, if it ain't workin', try something else.

 

Steal a page from the red drum anglers in the hatteras Forum. They favor just a couple of inches of leader from the hook (usually snelled, not knotted) to a three way swivel.

 

Gents! We need lots of advice on this!  And since this is the Internet, it should be wildly inconsistent!

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5 mins ago, giggyfish said:

I disagree with Brian 

A larger 8/0 or 9/0 circle fished on a tight drag with very little reaction from the angler will hook plenty of fish. I’ve often joked that the rod holder has the best hookup ratio on the boat, especially if the angler is relatively inexperienced and used to doing the Jimmy Houston hook set. Also when hooking the bait make sure to do it lightly and in a way that it won’t roll over on itself and bury the point back into the bait. This is super important because if that hook rolls you are never gonna get a proper set. 

Yeah I never try to set the hook after a bite like I would with a j-hook.  Can you expand on hooking of the bait? For the most part I was hooking it with a good amount of the hook exposed.

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11 mins ago, giggyfish said:

I disagree with Brian 

A larger 8/0 or 9/0 circle fished on a tight drag with very little reaction from the angler will hook plenty of fish. I’ve often joked that the rod holder has the best hookup ratio on the boat, especially if the angler is relatively inexperienced and used to doing the Jimmy Houston hook set. Also when hooking the bait make sure to do it lightly and in a way that it won’t roll over on itself and bury the point back into the bait. This is super important because if that hook rolls you are never gonna get a proper set. 

On Sunday, I fished with a 8/0 circle, but the drag wasn't overly tight.  Only one hookup early on, but couldn't hook up after that.  I'll try that advice too.  I'll set the drag to half way next time.  

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You want to hook it just enough that it will stay on during a cast but in a way that leaves most of the gap exposed. You will get the hang of it. I admit that I prefer an offset circle but they are not recreationally legit any longer. Others hate offsets. Eventually through trial you will find what works for you. 

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10 mins ago, ibe333333 said:

On Sunday, I fished with a 8/0 circle, but the drag wasn't overly tight.  Only one hookup early on, but couldn't hook up after that.  I'll try that advice too.  I'll set the drag to half way next time.  

One more point is that it is so much more important to use the freshest bait when using a circle hook. It’s got to stay in their mouth long enough for that hook to do it’s job. If they spit it out you’re gonna get frustrated. 

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39 mins ago, giggyfish said:

One more point is that it is so much more important to use the freshest bait when using a circle hook. It’s got to stay in their mouth long enough for that hook to do it’s job. If they spit it out you’re gonna get frustrated. 

Hmm I'm wondering if that was the issue. I was using frozen bait, and it felt like at times the fish were spitting it out. After spitting it though, there would either be another one bumping it or the same one. Unfortunately, fresh bait is hard to come by on Cape Ann as the local b&t's seem to only sell frozen. I suppose I could try live eels, but those can run expensive.

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