I've decided to try tarpon flies tied on circle hooks this season.
Had a spectacular tide first trip of the season a few days ago after a very sketchy start. I got nearly to Jay's house when I realized I'd forgotten all my flies so had to turn around and go back for them. Then found a message saying he'd left his wallet at a store in Homestead and was heading back for it. So we wound up about 3 hours late getting to the spot.
We arrived shortly before sundown and I was hooked up on my second cast to a fish that boiled on my side of the skiff that Jay could not reach. A non-jumper that kicked my butt. So we stayed until well after dark jumping 11 and landing 5. He wound up catching his 1st, second and third tarpon on the fly - losing one fly line in the process and catching the others on my spare rod.
The fish were very aggressive and often taking surface flies too deep - resulting in their chewing through both 60 lb fluoro and 80 lb mono too easily and leaving them with a hook who knows where.
So I've decided to try tying on circles and will be checking out which large ones have a relatively thin wire size/hook size ratio. If any of you know any offhand size 5/0 or 6/0 - non-offset circles with relatively thin wire - I'd appreciate a heads up.
Many manufacturers jump the wire size significantly at 6/0 on J-hooks. Even if circles result in half the number of solid hookups, it will be worth it to me.
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.
Circle hooks are typically utilized with live bait in that if the fish swallows it you'll pull it right back up and then hook them. The second benefit obviously being when the fish turns and it wont' hook until in the corner of their mouth......However, both entail the fish wanting to keep what it just took in its mouth. Fish all the time will take in something they won't be eating and spit it back out. That will not allow the circle hook to do its thing by dragging the line trough the corner of its mouth until the hook reaches it.
In contrast to that and knowing of the value of circle hooks, some offshore anglers have begun rigging artificials with CH's giving it a try. Some claim all it did was cost them fish, others that since the CH didn't snag then slip out like a J hook that it inspired the fish to strike again and kept doing so until it was hooked.
Give it a shot, what can it hurt, it would be GREAT if CH worked with artificials. But I'd not tie up a bunch until I knew for sure. I'll also let you decide the ethics of "seasoning" a fly (applying scent to it).
I haven't had a chance to look at any circles yet, as I've been right out straight working and fixing my boat trailer. I remember seeing some red ones at the Yellow Bait House that were pretty thin wire.
Unfortunately, my nephew will be bringing his new girl friend with him a week from this Sunday, so I'll also have a bunch of cleaning to do in addition to normal stuff like regular work. There are really good tides coming up Tues-Thurs this coming week, and Jay has been pushing me already about them and his brother Chris probably will be too.
I am not getting too hopeful about the circles, but saltwater fish can be different from trout, say, about spitting something out. Often, released snook, for instance, won't let go of your thumb and swim away when you try to release them. They've got your thumb and won't let go - and my thumb certainly doesn't taste very good, unless they like the taste of nicotine.
But I will be trying circles starting the 12th and will let you know how they work or not.
T Blom, when in June are you going to be here?
Lksmarlin, a budy of mine that got into fly fishing used to squirt bunker oil on my flies he'd use and it was way worse than using none because it would matt down the bunny tails or hackle and ruin the action. He quit doing this after a couple trips, and started catching more fish. I think most saltwater fish strike more because of the action than any other single factor except for sharks and dock fish.
Bob Clouser in his book, "Clousers Flies", mentions using circle hooks for Tarpon. I'll take a peek & see what hooks he was using!
---------- Post added at 07:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:10 PM ----------
On page 3, Bob states he uses the Mustad Demon Circle hook 39951BLN, and on page 4 describes some of the uses. He says they caught Tarpon, Barracuda, Bonefish, Snook, various Snappers, and Jack Crevelle on flies tied on circles.
There has been some pretty extensive field testing on flies tied with circle hooks for tarpon. The majority consensus is nada. However, you have a unique situation and I can see why they may work in this case. Only problem is, how do you luck into another day where tarpon are so gluttonous as to swallow your flies? Maybe you should just extend the length of your shock? This would violate IGFA parameters, but who cares unless youre after records.
Thanks, BigJim, I checked that one out and it appears to be an offset circle - but it's hard to say with such sketchy stuff on the internet. I'll give mustad a call this coming week.
I'm after in-line circles. One guy I know suggested VMC's which I've never used and never noticed in any of the shops. There was a research article about using circles for Atlantic sails down in S. America someplace and Pacific sails someplace in S. America as well that I read a while back. According to that article, circles are the way to go for sails. But sails are cast to such that they are going away from the boat when they bite when using flies - not so with tarpon. That, I think, could make a huge difference.