Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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circle hooks have been my number 1 catcher for bluegill in a size 6. the 1st time i used the size 6 circle hook my catch increased dramaticly. i will never go back because no other hook ive used has worked like this 1. do you bluegillers find this interesting.

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Yep, that's my hook of choice too.
Well thats cool buddy, im glad im not the only 1 who loves circle hooks.
I read this discussion and seen a show on TV about this hook. I started use the number 6 also when fishing my pond. Catch more gill ( or sunfish) and have less problem with them sallowing this hook. As Josh said I'm too going to a smaller hook as it does on some catch come up near the eye. As for the barb i push them down with my needle nose as not to damage my pond fish. Now this is just me. But this is the hook used at Magnolia Lakes. Required by the owner LOL
I've just had better luck hooking fish and keeping them hooked on those octopus circle hooks. Gamatzu circle hooks. Really sharp and I don't lose as many fish as I did with other hooks. Only problem is sometimes the 6 is a little too big if you happen to hook a smaller fish as it can tend to hook them up through the eye. I hate it when that happens so I've scaled it down to an 8 and haven't had that happen since.
I've not used circles but don't have the bigger gills nearby. I do have some new snelled hooks and what are called spade end hooks available. I've never seen any of the advanced anglers in our leagues fish circles. If they work for You, and make you more confident- then Fish 'em hard right? I will be driving a couple hours to a cooling lake next week a where they say bigger gills haunt the waters- more soon.
John, what size do you usually go with these spade hooks?
Size 14 is magic, but Size 16 in cold and size 12 if the fish are going crazy. Note- every manufacturer has different sized hooks.
I have some that are Chinese, Some English and some Japanese, but most hooks come out of Japan and then end up everywhere else.
Chemically sharpened hooks totally worth it as they stay sharp longer and the tips don't break. I will have some tied to leaders for sale coming up. These are really handy and quick to fish with.
This was taken from recycledfish.org's Stewardship Tips and thought I would share it since it's about circle hooks.

http://www.recycledfish.org/home/

Stewardship Tip - Circle Hooks
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

In 1999, Rudy Lukacovic, a biologist with the Maryland DNR, noted that, of 640 striped bass caught with circle hooks, 96.6% of the fish were hooked in the mouth and had a mortality rate of 0.8%. In comparison, he noted that, of 476 striped bass hooked with J hooks, 82.8% were hooked in the mouth with a mortality rate of 9.1%. When fish are deep-hooked, the chances for internal injuries increase. Numerous studies with a variety of species have shown that the location of the hook wound is the single most important factor influencing the survival of released fish. If the wound site is a vital organ, the mortality, as expected, is high.

Circle hooks increase the likelihood of lip-hooking. The actual curved shape of the hook keeps it from catching in the gut cavity or throat. After the fish swallows the hook, light pressure pulls the hook toward mouth. The unique hook shape causes the hook to slide towards and embed itself in a point of resistance, usually the jaw or the corner of the mouth.

The secret to using circle hooks is to let the fish take the bait and resist the urge to set the hook by pulling back on the rod. Circle hooks work well with slower action rods that allow fish to pull against the rod without ejecting the bait.

Circle hooks are effective when pursuing fish that engulf their prey; hook-ups require that the hook be fully within the fish's mouth. When selecting a circle hook, it is important to select a hook that does not have an offset. Offset circle hooks have a tendency to hook fish deeply when they are swallowed.

Why it is important to the fish: A fish should be in viable condition is an angler releases it. Circle hooks increase the likelihood of lip hooking and reduce the mortality rate of released fish. They provide additional tool that the catch and release angler can use to efficiently return fish back into the wild with minimal injuries.
There are a couple of factors with the hook. Many times I will fish with a micro barb. The hook itself is not responsible for the mortality. The barb, I have been taught is mostly to hold the bait on. I have found a smaller barb keeps your bait alive longer, doing less damage on the way in. No barb does the least damage and works for bait, but you have to rebait faster. A happy balance is a very flat barb or a micro barb. The ultimate in safety to both angler and fish is the barbless hook. Any parent or kids fishing event should be entirely barbless. When I catch my largest bag of fish, it is using a barbless hook. Can I say the word barbless any more time in one paragraph?
Location, Location, Location...
The location of that fish hook, such as the eye or gill is part of the reason for most mortality. Also, the length of time and amount of handling the fish receives which creates the damage to gills, slime coat etc. reduces chances for survival.
Cut The Leader on Deep-hooked Gills
Careful handling is essential. If a bluegill is deep hooked and it is a giant which you intend on releasing - if you can't get the hook out first try, I put the fish back in the water, it can swim in your net to keep it's gills wet. A sharp hook is essential for hook set. I have no problem snipping my leader and attaching another pre-tyed leader with a fresh hook- especially on a prize gill.
I have been told the acidic mouth region of these fish will oxydize the hook in a matter of weeks. The hooks I use are small enough where these fish can feed with the hook still inside them. I use a size 12 or size 14 which is roughly half the size of the nail on your pinky finger.
My hooks are usually tied to 1 lb - 1.5 lb. leader when fishing gills.
I count fish often now and my mortality rate for 300 fish averages below .5%. On good days all are released healthier than when I caught them. I'm serious, they've been fed bait, gently unhooked and placed back in with bluegill love. The fish I catch are placed in a 3 foot wide by 9 foot long mesh bag during competitions, while I fish. This bag has a wire frame so it is like a large rectangle which water can enter and escape. The mesh is pretty tight so it offers a good amount of shade for recovery.
Note that these bluegills near Chicago are 5" long so their mouths are much smaller than many of your fish. Yours are easier to get off the hook.
Ultimate Gill Hook Remover Tool
I do have the tool which assists with deeper hooks. I will be selling these coming up as well. Everyone in competitions uses these removers for several reasons. 1. They work. 2. They are fast 3. Anglers have to get the fish off the hook so they can keep their catch rate going. Time spent on unhooking a deep hook is time lost. Any damaged fish in our competition is NOT counted in the total weight. We never reward an angler for hastily removing a fish and damaging it.

Back to the mortality. I know leaving these hooks in fish doesn't cut off their feeding. Why? Several times I have had a rig pulled off float and all. Within :30 minutes, I have caught the same fish with my hook, line and fish rig in it's mouth.
I don't doubt that circle hooks work, but if you see the system I am fishing, it is so precise and my hook hits fish in the front of their mouth. Bluegill have much smaller mouth openings than Striped bass too- I'm not sure what size circle hook is being used for them.
Adjustable Hook Speed
If my hook is too deep, I modify my rig, move the split shot towards the hook and reduce the ease at which the hook travels in the water column. I add resistance and reduce the distance the hook travels when the fish go to suck it in. If my split shot was 12" away from the hook, the shot swing point creates a pendulum. A 3" pendulum doesn't swing as far and as fast at the 12" distance would.
This trick works instantly.
Handle Them Less
Handle your fish quickly, carefully and you will save them. I highly recommend everyone have these hook removers ( a few of them ) in your box. It is the best bluegill hook remover of any. I also highly recommend that you use a microbarb hook, flatten your barb or use a barbless hook. The barb impacts fish damage more than anything. The hooks I use can be popped out of their mouth instantly in nearly all cases. If I am speed fishing and trying to catch 200 - 400 fish, I need to get them off quickly. I'll link to a video in my section when I go speed fishing on the warm water discharge next week. (Wish for a warm-front for me so I demo some of this). I'll take 25 and no wind please.
- John

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