bob_G

DMF revisits circle hook reg

Rate this topic

24 posts in this topic

I will continue to rig eels the way they are meant to be. MA DMF is a joke. Commercial season was just voted on to be lengthened not only by days per week but the season as a whole. Whatever it takes to get the quota that hasn’t been met the last two years I believe. It can’t be the the obvious reason; lack of sizable fish. Go bust somebody else’s balls that is sitting on a jetty filling a bucket with shorts in plain daylight day after day all summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/18/2021 at 1:44 PM, JohnDe said:

How about you are fishing for fluke or sea bass with a spro jig baited with either a piece of squid or gulp. You happen to reel in a 34” stripper.  It must be released. Or you are dredging the bottom of the CCC with a Smiling Bill.  Does anyone still tip those jigs with a (uncle josh) piece of pork or am I dating myself?

No you don’t. Using bait on an artificial lure is 

now Perfectly legal for strippers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MakoMike said:

No you don’t. Using bait on an artificial lure is 

now Perfectly legal for strippers.

So can instead of a J hook with a sinker and a piece of bait, can we just cast a diamond jig with a piece of bait and leave it out there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Richard_the_Aughth said:

So can instead of a J hook with a sinker and a piece of bait, can we just cast a diamond jig with a piece of bait and leave it out there?

Depends on how your state words the final regs. The intent was to allow J hooks on articificals that are tipped with bait but are actively worked. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Revised Circle Hook Requirement for 2021

Beginning this 2021 fishing season, all recreational anglers—including those fishing onboard for-hire vessels—who are fishing for striped bass with bait are required to use inline (non-offset) circle hooks. This shall not apply to any artificial lure with bait attached. Bait is defined as any marine or aquatic organism, live or dead, whole or parts thereof. Striped bass caught on an unapproved method of take (while targeting other finfish species)—such as a baited J hook or treble hook—must be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury.

This circle hook requirement is mandated coastwide through the interstate fishery management plan to increase the survival of striped bass caught and released in the recreational fishery. Recreational discard mortality has grown to be the greatest source of fishing mortality on the striped bass population given the great popularity of the fishery along the eastern seaboard. When used during bait fishing, inline circle hooks reduce the likelihood of “deep hooking” a fish, which in turn decreases the chance that a released fish will die due to injuries sustained from being caught.

Please note that this requirement applies to all recreational anglers, whether fishing from shore, a private vessel, or a for-hire charter or party boat. The exemption in place in Massachusetts during 2020 for anglers aboard for-hire vessels has been rescinded for compliance with the interstate plan.

The hook of an artificial lure does not need to be an inline circle hook to have bait attached. This allowance provides for the continued use of tackle such as a tube-and-worm rig, a bucktail jig tipped with a pork rind, and an eel skin plug. Conversely, a rigged eel (a whole dead eel with hooks threaded through its body) cannot be used unless the hooks are inline circle hooks, and a menhaden snagged on a treble hook cannot be used as bait until transferred onto an inline circle hook.

An inline circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point of the hook is not offset from the plane of the shank and bend and is turned perpendicularly back towards the shank to form a circular or oval shape. Inline circle hooks are available at most of the bait and tackle shops where you currently purchase other tackle. While they vary by manufacturer, inline circle hook sizes of 7/0 to 10/0 are generally well-suited to catching striped bass within the recreational slot limit of 28″ to less than 35″. Refer to DMF's Circle Hook Brochure to make sure you are purchasing true inline circle hooks that are non-offset.

While it’s understandable that striped bass may be inadvertently caught on an unapproved rig when other species are being targeted, such fish must be returned to the water as quickly and gently as possible. If you are targeting other species but keep catching striped bass, consider switching to an inline circle hook or moving to a different location to avoid unnecessary catch and release mortality on striped bass. It is the responsibility of anglers to use inline circle hooks when fishing in a time, place, or manner where catching a striped bass is possible. Refer to the Division’s Responsible Angling Techniques for additional guidance that will help ensure your released fish live to be caught another day. A little knowledge goes a long way in protecting our resources.

For more information, please visit our website:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""Conversely, a rigged eel (a whole dead eel with hooks threaded through its body) cannot be used unless the hooks are inline circle hooks.""

That is the key statement in regards to traditional rigged eels.

Sounds like the only legal way around it is to attach your whole dead eel to a jig head or swimming plate to basically turn it into a "lure". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.