result, their application is limited mostly
to bait, and it’s very unusual to see circle
hooks on lures.
Using circle hooks effectively also
takes some practice. The toughest part?
Training yourself NOT to set the hook.
When you feel a fish strike, jerking back
on the line is an instinctual reaction.
Unfortunately, with a circle hook, it also
means that you’ll usually jerk the hook
right out of the fish’s mouth. To be successful with circles, however, you need to
allow the fish to eat the bait, then slowly
apply pressure while the curved point
finds its way to the corner of the fish’s jaw.
The Treble Hook – Trebles have one eye
and a shank that splits off into three
separate bends and points. They’re most
commonly seen on lures which may be
struck from any direction – with three
points waiting, at least one will usually
be in the proper position to
snag the fish. Some people
also use them when fishing
Trebles are quite effective,
but they’re also a bit more dangerous than regular hooks.
Many lures have two sets
of trebles, one aft and one
forward. A striking fish
usually finds just one of
these. And when it comes
a b o a r d kicking and flipping, the second set of trebles can easily end up in a
seat cushion, a jacket, or a body part.
Trebles are also terribly destructive
to the fish. As they thrash, the multiple
points commonly rip free and then get
stuck again. Two or more points may get
stuck in the fish’s throat or mouth, making removal quite difficult. And sometimes, one of the points will snag the
roof of the fish’s mouth while another
snags the bottom jaw, making it virtually impossible to remove either without
doing serious damage to the fish. For this
reason, trebles should never be used when
catch-and-release fishing, nor should
they be used when you’re fishing an area
in which large numbers of undersized fish
Considering all of the above, you should
now have a fairly good idea of what type
of hook to choose
for a particular type
of fishing. Planning
to live-line with
pinfish for tarpon?
Octopus or circle
hooks are a good
bet. You’re fishing
timber for bass?
These would be
a horrible choice,
but an Aberdeen
or worm hook
is probably in your future. One huge
question, however, remains: How do you
choose appropriate hook size?
This question is actually much easier
to answer than you might think – if you
know one simple rule of thumb: Match
your hook size to your bait size. Truth be
told, you can catch a 100-pound tarpon on
a shockingly small hook. But if you choose
a very large hook, thinking that you need
it to match the fish’s large mouth, you may
weight your poor baitfish down so much
that it can hardly swim. As a result, it
won’t look very lively and may sink to the
bottom, ignored by those big predators.
And what about the bass angler cast-
ing his or her lures? Again, many different
sizes of bass can be caught on a single size
of hook, but the fish may never strike the
lure if an oversized or undersized hook
ruins its action or appearance.
There are, of course, limitations to
this rule. Using too small a hook for too
large a fish can result in the hook never
finding its purchase, and you might
drag the bait right out of the fish’s
mouth. At the other end of the spec-
trum, certain species of fish, like sunfish
or triggerfish, have exceptionally small
mouths. If you don’t use an exception-
ally small hook for fish like these, they
simply won’t be able to wrap their jaws
around it. So apply some common sense
as you match your hook size to your bait
size. But that’s all it takes, anglers: a
little basic knowledge of which type of
hook you need, a hook sized to match
your bait or lure, and a dash of common
sense. Put these three factors together,
and you’ve got the point.
BoatU.S. electronics editor Lenny Rudow
is a fishing expert and senior editor for
76 | BoatU.S. Magazine JUNE | JULY 2016
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