Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Bagman, Aug 19, 2013.
Looks workable as a stinger, might pick some up & give it a shot. Thanks for the heads up.
I use owner mosquito hooks in size 4 and 6 as a stinger, I've only hooked 3 salmon but I haven't lost any so I'm good so far.
Circle hooks sure do stick, I fished them on the Kenai for sockeye and I not only had almost no foul hooked fish (gear guys probably foul-hooked 25% of the time), but the fish that did get hooked in the mouth all stayed on. The problem with the circle hooks is hooking up in the first place. For a flossing fishery like the Kenai, they do a great job hooking fish from the outside of the mouth inwards. However, I'm not convinced that they stick well when fish are actually biting the fly, especially with coho that sometimes nip at the end of a clouser. There was a mention of the Mustad circle hooks in recent thread and several people mentioned that they didn't always hook up when fish bit the fly.
Owner Mosquito are one of my favorites, the thin wire is razor sharp and they sure penetrate deeply. I also have used the Gamakatzu sickle hooks as trailers and they stick like no other, but I'm not sure they are available in sizes less than 1/0.
Agreed on the Owners, stupid sharp & they stick fish. Anyone have a bigger ocean coHo bust up that lightweight wire they build them on?
You are correct, they only go down to 1/0 on the Gamakatsu Big River hooks.
It would be nice to see them come out with some size 1 and 2's in that style of hook.
Other than my first time tarpon fishing (had one on for half an hour), my experience with circle hooks is limited to the stillwater steelhead fishing I alluded to in my earlier post. So, I realize there are differences with fishing for salmon in the Sound, or flossing sockeye.
In the case of these trib mouth fisheries, circles may work better because we are using a much slower (painfully slow) retrieve. The grabs (when they finally decide to bite) are also very aggressive. I started using circles after having a few fish inhale flies past the gill rakers and come in bleeding. Haven't had that happen since with a circle hook. Even with the small hook sizes, usually #8, the circle hooks always seem to bury into the corner of the mouth. Never hooked one on the outside corner but I'd say they stick extremely well on taken flies. Landed plenty of fish (including some silvers) in the 6-15lb range on a hook that is more appropriately sized for trout or panfish.
The key is NOT setting the hook. Easier said than done since that response is burned into our fishing firmware so to speak. For that reason I have doubts whether they would work as a stinger unless the main hook was also a circle (the decision was made to forego hooksetting completely). Might work great though. If they miss the main hook, the stinger might hang up in the corner as the fish turns away - just like a circle was designed to do. If someone tries this I'd be very interested to hear the results.
Either style of hook works, you just need to use them as they are intended. If you go with circles, make a genuine effort to reprogram your hook setting. If you fish them like regular hooks, you'll miss most of your takes.
When fishing a circle hook, feel the take, strip in just enough to VERY GENTLY "say hello", and hold tension on the line until you can feel the full weight of the fish. Then, maybe, give it a light tug to fully seat the hook, and of course, hit the "launch button" at the same time.
Had another thought (occasionally a good one) that the type of knot may make a difference. A loop knot that allows the hook to move more freely and impart better fly action, might affect how a hook (especially a circle hook) aligns inside the mouth when taken. Not sure if a loop knot would help or hinder. In the past (when I did more fishing) I used palomar knots and seemed to get solid hookups on both standard and circle hooks. Seem to get more takes now days using a loop knot, but also using flourocarbon too.
I dunno, just another factor to consider.
I can't NOT set the hook! I'm usually daydreaming when fishing the beach and my strip set is immediate, hard, and totally instinctive. I fear that the point on circles is too protected to set in the tip of the upper or lower jaw where I often find my octopus hooks buried after a good strip set. Thanks for detailing your experience with circles, sounds like I might fish them on a popper or skater sometime.
It is so hard to break a 60+ year habit. Yesterday I was fishing the beach with one of my new flys i had tyed up the night before it had a stinger only and no weight added in any way. The stinger hook was a #2 Gamakatsu barbless Octopus. This fly turned out to be a bullhead magnet. I thought what the hell I will practice my strip set on bullheads. I had pulley the faces off 8 or 9 bull heads and then they stopped hitting the fly. My mind started to go some where else and then I got a hit. I half heartedly did a rod lift set and remembered no STRIP SET. The silver came up to the surface and was gone. Turns out to have been my only non bullhead hit all morning.
A missed fish is a dulled hook and a missed fish is a fish that has had his food pulled away from him before he closed his mouth.
In short, angler error. "Hits" are mistakes not short strikes.
Just my 4.5 cents.
I agree it was angler error.
But you continue to find the fish and hone your skills. You are still winning while I'm working!
Fish never make mistakes.
My big problem is that I daydream during that often long time between bites and I am caught off guard when it happens. Some of my best, most creative times come while I'm waiting for a fish to bite.
I did a lot if bait fishing down in NorCal fishing for Strip Bass. We did not hold our rods because you could not set the hook on the first pick up. I did a lot of day dreaming fishing then. This is a new world in so many ways for me. I'm trying though I'm trying.
I know, it's a weird hook and concept, but after you get a fish or two on circle hooks, that fear will dissipate. You have to trust that the reason for the "protected point" is precisely so it doesn't bury at the first spot it touches. The gap of the hook is what causes it to hang on the first "edge" it encounters. If you don't set, that "edge" is the "V" at the intersection of the upper and lower jaw. With no forward tension from the angler, the line has no choice but to trail out in the corner of the mouth. Water resistance alone will cause the hook to home in on the corner like a heat-seeking missile. Once there, it nestles into the cozy, soft tissues, and buries no real assistance needed. Unlike sinking the point of a standard hook the roof of the mouth or jawline where a well timed and solid tug is needed.
Trust me, I understand how hard it is to resist hitting back. Missed one a couple weeks ago because I forgot I was using a circle hook. That was my first trip there in 2 years, so I was rusty - and daydreaming too which didn't help (actually might have hooked it if I had kept daydreaming.) Got a solid grab, felt the weight of the fish, and gave it a good yank. I could feel the circle hook grating across it's teeth before the line went slack. I switched to a standard hook after that and released 2 natives later that morning. Both were hooked in the upper jaw near the snout. One was almost at the tip of the nose which makes me wonder how far the hook slid before catching at the last moment.
Another argument for circle hooks is Tarpon since they have an armor plated mouth and are reputedly one of the hardest fish to hook. When I got my one chance (so far) to fish for them, I asked my guide in Belize to pick a fly from my box. He chose a Black Death that I tied on a 1/0 C71. Other than it being "too small" he chose the circle hook over other flies tied on standard hooks. A while later I was half an hour into a fight with a fish in the 90lb range. No hookset, I just stood there trying not to crap my pants while I watched a fish almost 5 feet long inhale my fly in crystal clear water. In Spanish, circle hooks are known as "anzuelos automaticos" ("automatic" hooks). That's a good way to think of them.