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Circle Hooks for Streamers

8 posts in this topic

Does anybody use circle hooks for streamers? I needed some size 6 shorter shanked hooks for clousers, and all Gander had in that size were circle hooks in the fly tying section. They are Mustad 'Streamer' hooks, but circle streamer hooks.

I don't want to boch a hook-set on a fish because of a circle hook. I'm focusing on larger trout with the clousers in the deeper pools, and it would be fairly disappointing to not have the hook set because of the circle style of hook. Just not real confident in them at the moment.

Thanks for any help.

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A very interestig question. I saw an article in Fly Fisherman some time ago that showed some patterns (saltwater, primarily, if I remember) tied on circle hooks, so someone has done it. The question is, should they? I've read that the upside of these hooks for baitfishing is that one needn't set the hook, that the fish hooks itself when it closes its mouth on the hook and the hook turns. The downside is that if you attempt to set the hook, you'll pull the fly clear of the fish's mouth. On the whole, I think I would avoid using them, but I've been wrong before - lots of times!

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I think as flyfisherman, our natural reaction when a fish strikes is to set the hook. Especially when sight fishing. I would have a hard time getting used to using circle hooks.

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I've got a few packs of them that I was given and have dabbled with Clousers in them......I haven't used them yet as I always like to set the hook. But I think I will try these hooks, probably for Crappies.

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I don't really want to chance the trout spitting the fly before it has a chance to hook itself. I'm going to tie the clousers on regular hooks.

For those that do tie clousers, what size hook and shank size do you normally use for trout?

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You can take a look at the thread headlined "Your favorite Clouser material" on this board for a discussion on Clouser hooks, if you'd like. Don't want to repeat myself too badly, so I'll just say they're are two basic choices of which I am aware - short shank, wide gape hooks and 3XL streamer hooks.

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I've worked extensively with circle hooks. Once you've mastered the non-set set, they have a very high hooking ratio; but there's no real point in using circles if you're not gut-hooking fish or, maybe, if you want speedy releases or are worried about toothies.

Key to the hookset is no reaction, correctly suggested above as a tough thing to do. On the other hand, fly gear isn't optimum hook-setting gear and the "lift" hookset is usually less effective than a "strip-set", especially for bass. Anglers who learn to strip-set hook more fish, both because the set is more precise and because you don't displace the fly from a fish that strikes and misses or strikes short. IF you are fishing circle hook flies and do nothing until the fish has turned and moved with the fly, you have even less fly displacement so it can be good there. I guided for smallmouth for a long time and fished circles as an experiment a lot and found that they are generally ineffective for smallmouth even when used properly. Has something to do with the way smallies eat a fly. Haven't used them for trout.

Have used them for striped bass, and I find them an excellent choice there. At times I've outfished another angler at the other end of the boat two or three to one on the same pattern, with all hookups being lip- or corner-of-the-mouth connections. Almost no unbuttoned fish, very easy barbless hook disconnect, easy to release a fish without raising it from teh water or touching it (key to striper survival, especially in summertime), and easy to handle big fish (in fact, I killed my first three big stripers trying to remove deep hooks--15-25 pound fish--then caught several more when I switched to circle flies. See http://www.flyfishsaltwaters.com/images/2002%20Gallery/gal_02_motesrockfish.jpg to see one of the bigger fish--the pliers in the background are a bad sign and this one did not survive.) Also stripers on the Cape often come with bluefish and circles will lip-hook blues and avoid the bite-off. Incidentally they seem to work only moderately well with Northerns, again I think it's something about the bite process, though my experience with northerns is not nearly as extensive as it is with smallies. Bluefish have a serrated sharp-a55ed set of lip teeth that almost always cut you off if it isn't wire; northerns have all those spikes, something different happening there. Last summer I got tired of losing good hairbugs to northerns and went to a circle hook and caught three in a row, but that's probably not a good data sample.

I've also used them with false albacore, where you usually don't sense a hit at all but just have a tensing or tightening of the line and so the "no-hookset" process takes care of itself. Had a trip two years ago where three anglers had exactly three hits apiece; I hooked and landed all three of mine and the other two guys boated one fish between them. Again maybe not a good data sample, but I have very high confidence with circle hooks for albies.

All in all I'd say circles won't be worth the trouble for anything fly-wise here in MN. I do recommend them for catfish trotlines, though.

If you do the circles, DON'T chicken out and go for a hook that doesn't seem to go all the way around...if you're going to do the circle thing, trust the hook. It's counterintuitive for open-gap anglers to try a circle hook, and lots of people try to hedge their bets by using a "semi-circle." They are not the same thing and won't function the same way.

Check out (Please See Forum Policy on Links) for these hooks and pictures.

I like the Eagle Claw 2050 circle for freshwater applications (my only real eagle claw fave.) The Gamakatsu circle and the Mustad Freshwater circle work well for clousers--upsize eyes to rotate these heavy wire hooks. I don't like the Mustad Streamer Circle, and reviews among the people I know are not good...I think the longer shank, though it looks good, interferes with the rotation of the circle hook. Look at the Daiichi circle wide for an example of a "semi-circle" hook. Some people swear by these, and they theoreticall work EITHER as rotating no-set hook or as traditional yank-back set hooks. Also, either buy in-line hooks or bend them so the point is in-line with the eye before tying flies--for obvious reasons. That's why many store bought circles won't make good flies; they're primarily used as a bait hook.

Ice

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I would say that's the authoritative answer on circle hooks.

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