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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 05-01-2014, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

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Originally Posted by ditz View Post
Sometime back I posed the circle hook question concerning gar flies since they are notoriously difficult to hook. I was told that it would not work and that I should try small sharp hooks. Anyway I can't help you with your question but I am interested in the outcome of your experience. Good Luck.
The trick with Gar is the same as with oceanic needlefish, use a fly tied with macramé yarn. It gets tangled in their teeth and they cannot spit it. Don't even need a hook.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

Circle Hooks will work on any fish, and I suspect any fish with flies AS LONG AS when the fish takes the fly in, it instantly turns to head away or flank you. Instantly in that if it instead opens its mouth realizing what it just took up is not food, it will spit it out. Heck even just opening its mouth won't give you a chance to set it (not that you really can).

Really, fish hook themselves with CH's. A conventional J-hook has the advantage of snagging something, anything, and the second it starts to dig in you have it. A CH must find a spot that is narrow enough to get the gap around and then due to the track of the fish in relation to your line the hook obviously rotates and sets....That's good and fine with live bait in that the fish wants to keep it for those brief seconds more, and you might get lucky and have the fish turn upon pick-up if it doesn't.

Again, I think it would be great if CH's worked out with flies consistantly...Yet from what I've read about non-live bait it is really hit and miss...With live bait they are rather consistant in the hook-up.

........and i agree with Flygrain. If your 12" shock tippet is too short, though it won't qualify lengthen it out. If it is just that they were wearing through it, go to 130# or something tougher then Mono/Flouro.....You can use any material for your shock tippet though it's my understanding with Tarpon presentation is key so might prevent that.

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Old 05-01-2014, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

Flygrain,

It's not a matter of losing fish to me, it's that I hate to hook them deep. That usually isn't a problem when sight fishing with good vis, but in poor vis or none as when drifting a fly on the current, they can take them deep. When that happens, they can abraid through 80 lb in 10 minutes like a fine wood rasp.

I quit using 11 1/2" shockers in around 1980 and know only a few people who still do. 12" shockers will be over 12" after a tarpon fight and won't qualify for an IFGA record.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

I've used VMC 7385 Tournament & 7387 Tournament circles, as well as Owner SSW Inline Circles & some of their MUTU versions. Have only used them for bait, not used any of them for flies.

The fish do not have to swallow the hook for them to work properly, but they do have to turn. The advantage to circles is IF they swallow the hook deep, the hook doesn't usually catch flesh until it gets to the corner of the mouth, helping to prevent gut hooked fish. That is IF, inline circles are used. Offsets sometimes will work fine, but will gut hook a fish with a higher percentage of frequency compared to inline circles. IMO, offset circles defeats the purpose of using a circle hook.

I tried the Mustad Circle fly hooks for bass flies, but really didn't like them. Doubt they would be good for Tarpon anyway.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

I'm interested to hear the results. The hook size may be the problem. When using bait, you'll need ~ 13/0 circle hooks for large Tarpon. I can't see tying flies with that size! And I don't think a smaller hook will work well on a big Tarpon.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

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Originally Posted by wjc View Post
Flygrain,

It's not a matter of losing fish to me, it's that I hate to hook them deep. That usually isn't a problem when sight fishing with good vis, but in poor vis or none as when drifting a fly on the current, they can take them deep. When that happens, they can abraid through 80 lb in 10 minutes like a fine wood rasp.

I quit using 11 1/2" shockers in around 1980 and know only a few people who still do. 12" shockers will be over 12" after a tarpon fight and won't qualify for an IFGA record.
Got it. I miss understood your goal What I do know about tarpon and have personally experienced is they notoriously DONT turn their head like, say, a steelhead in current. Which is part of the reason its so hard to get a solid purchase with tarpon. I've heard Andy Mill talk about this on several occasions. I'll be curious to hear your results if you do try em. Keys tarpon season is upon us
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

My nephew arrived last Sunday. Fortunately, he brought his girlfriend because smallcraft warnings were up from the day he got here through yesterday with wind averaging above 20 knots day and night. So he had something to do.

The backcountry water, for the most part was milky. but then late yesterday, the wind started swinging around and there were about 7 hours of near flat conditions with thunderstorms everywhere.

We left the house at 1;30 this morning and drove to a ramp near my spot. Tarpon were busting in the channel right out from the ramp, and the lightning was oceanside, so we headed out. No one else was on the water.

After the second hookup, I put on a circle as he'd already caught a large tarpon I'd hooked initially and then one he'd hooked himself, and was taking a breather. it was a gami in-line 7/0 (red ones) with thin wire for a 7/0. I had three bumps in a short period of time. Could do nothing with the first two.

The third I could not tell exactly what was happening. Don't know whether it was repeatedly taking the fly or if it was simply moving toward me as they sometimes do. Anyhow, I kept stripping line long and slow to keep feeling continuous light pressure, then just clamped down when it increased and waited until the fish hooked itself then took off.

I handed Conor that fish, too, but he changed his mind after about 5 minutes and decided he wanted to drive the boat, so he gave it back to me.

When I got it boatside , I couldn't really tell exactly where the fish was hooked because she was uncooperative and Conor was nervous driving the boat in a narrow twisty channel in the dark.

So I was alternately blinded by the Q-beam then left in the dark again. A hat light is not very bright after getting flashed by a Q beam at my age. It was in the corner of the mouth of course,
and I think stuck in the clipper bone itself about a quarter inch and required a plier grip on it to remove. The red coating on the hook was completely gone from the point to 1/4" up.

It definitely takes concentrated effort to keep from striking hard when they come tight, but it is doable. I will continue using them when I fish evenings/nights with friends from out of state who want to actually catch one instead of just casting to them and frustrating themselves. The only reason I even fish while with them is to determine if the fish are where I think they are if they are not busting. All I really want to do anyhow is to determine if we are fishing to fish or just empty water. I am perfectly content to just be there.

So I will continue using them for that purpose and keep a tally. There was no abrasion whatsoever to the tippet. It will be interesting to see how things play out for the rest of the season.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

Excellent! Thanks for posting your findings with the hooks. Are you fishing a night Palolo worm hatch? Hope the wind stays down for you
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

No, I fish a spot that's really good on the outgoing at happy hour and into the night that can be spectacular when the wind dies after a long blow on a good tide especially if it swings around to the NW.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Circle Hooks

Thanks for an excellent report WJC. I am looking forward to your next report. I may never get to throw at a tarpon but I sure enjoy second hand info. I have been following tarpon fly fishing since Stu Apt set the record at 151#. Lordy, that was a long time ago. Maybe one of these days........
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