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Hey Gang,
I've got a quick question for you all. Are circle hooks recommended when drifting eels for bass? Does it make a difference? I'm pretty sure that a bass will attempt to swallow it's meal whole, in which case, I don't know if the circle hooks would be beneficial like they are with many other spoecies. If any of you have experience, help me out.

Good luck and stay warm!
 

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I love circle hooks. For bass I use the Gama Octupus circles especially with eels. The octopus version allows you to still set the hook. Most fish hook themselves though and 99.9% of the time its in the jaw. I also switched to Owner circles for fluking, weakfishing and seabass. I think I've had 3 gut-hooked fluke this season out of over a hundred fish(shorts included) I only use circles now for pretty much every species...well except of course for tog, but I'm experimenting with them now.



Remember, ya gotta hook 'em to cook 'em.

got tog?

Bergalls have feelings too...
 

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Fitz you are right to question the effectiveness of circle hooks for striped bass. This is what I have found;

Circle hooks only work if the fish takes the hook in its mouth and attempts to swim AWAY from the angler. The hook eventually finds its way into the corner of the bass' mouth and the fish's own momentum sets the hook. This is true for all "true" circle hooks (the gamakatsu octopus hooks that gottog mentioned are great hooks but they are not true circle hooks).

What I have found is that circle hooks are very effective for bass when there are many fish around and that are competing for their food. For instance, when chunking bunker or drifting eels in Montauk where the large fish are "stacked" over a ledge, they are amazing hooks because most bass there strike their food and try to run off with it in a hurry before other fish can get a chance to steal it from them.

However, what I have also found is that if you try to use them in areas where there are less fish and less competition for food, there are many bass who inhale their meals like you said and they don't immediately swim away in a hurry. When this happens, bass have much more time to figure out that something isn't exactly right. Since there is no exposed barb or hook point, the circle hooks are easily expelled with a single exhale. In the case of conventional hooks, there is an increased likelyhood that you will set the hook as soon as you feel the initial pickup or the hook will hang on the fish's jaw as he attempts to expel it. Hookup ratios are higher, but so are gut-hooked fish. There is no perfect solution in these situations.
 
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