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Circle Hooks


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D-Man mentioned the use of circle hooks as a poosible way to reduce walleye mortality when rigging. On the last two trips to Mille Lacs my son in law and I have been experimenting with them. Two weeks ago he used only circle hooks and of the 16 fish he hooked, he only lost one. Only one of the fish he caught was hooked in gullet, all the rest were hooked in the corner of the mouth. I hooked 12 fish using a standard octopus hook and didn't lose any but all were hooked deep and required cutting off the line. Yesterday we both fished with circle hooks. We caught 23 walleyes, but lost at least 9. I don't know if they were hitting short or if we just weren't waiting long enough. Anyway, I would be interested in hearing from anyone using circle hooks as to your experience. Do you fish them any differently? One other thought, since so many of the Mille Lacs walleyes are going to be released anyway, has anyone tried barbless hooks? I have fished them in Canada with better success that I had thought I would have but I have not tried them here.

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Econguy: We were fishing the North End sand yesterday with rigs and lost alot of fish too. Started waiting 20 seconds after the hit and then got most of them. I've used circle hooks for the past two years and have the same experiance, most of the fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth. Instead of trying to cross their eyes when I set the hook I just make a long sweep with the rod and usually hook the fish.

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NOT setting the hook is the key. You will loose tons of fish if you do. It was very hard for me as well getting used to not crossing thier eyeballs. All you need to do is to start reeling once you ave given them some time with the bait. The hook sets itself.
One other thing that must be made clear-
Many of the hooks are not ready right out of the package, some are off-set a little, making gut-hooking still possible. If you take the hook, hold it in front of you, the point should be in-line with the shank, if it angles off to the side, it is off-set and must be bent a little. Bending it this way does not affect the hook at all, it actually improves it by making it 99.9999% less likely to hook anywhere but in the corner of the mouth.
Good luck

Gull Guide Service
Brainerd-Mille Lacs-Willmar

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