Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


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More on semicircle hooks

15 August 2008

I'd more or less dismissed semicircle hooks because I don't use worm baits much and I've had no bother baiting up on full circles. In addition I was never sure whether to strike or not - the confusion was just too much for me to bother with. Anyway, a recent email from Peter Jones made me think that this type of hook may have it's place and perhaps they should be treated as full circles if you want to use them. Here's Peter's account (slightly edited), sorry there aren't any pictures but the message is clear -

Hi Mike,

Most of the time my bass fishing is quite disappointing. There isn’t a session that goes by where after getting interest from a bass on the end of my line(Sounds good to me! ML) for some reason it doesn’t get hooked(Not so good! ML). No matter what technique I use for trying to hook the fish I usually miss the majority of bites. After reading what you’ve been saying in your diary about the hooking rate of circle and semicircle hooks I’ve been very keen to give them a go.

After purchasing my first semicircle hooks I decided to fish at one of my favourite bassing spots and put them to the test. This spot is very productive for bass albeit mostly small ones. It is a very shallow estuary where at the mouth shoals of bass move upstream with the rising tide. I fish in the pool at the mouth as they swim past. This I thought would be an ideal place to test the semicircles against my usual J hooks by rigging up two rods with identical rigs and bait (blow lug) but one with the J’s and the other with the semi’s. I would not strike into the fish but would see how each type of hook fared against the other’s self hooking qualities.

As I arrived at the spot and started setting up my rods I was getting quite excited as I could see and hear the fish swishing around in the shallow water. It was an ideal evening for fishing the venue (just getting dark as the tide started to flood with hardly a breath of wind). As soon as the fishing was under way I was getting bites straight away on the J hook rig but as usual the fish weren’t being hooked. I wasn’t getting any interest on the other rig though. I guess that was because the J hook rig was being fished on the seaward side and attracted the bass first. After a while of having quite a few missed bites on the J hook rig I swapped the rods around and cast the semicircle rig over to the seaward side in front of the J hook rig. Doing this immediately improved the number of bites on the semi' hook rig and with each bite I let it develop for a while and then reeled in. Amazingly almost every time I reeled in there was a fish on the end of the line and every one lip hooked, even the eels which always swallow down the J hooks and get hooked in the stomach. At the end of the session after getting roughly the same amount of bites on each rig I ended up catching 7 bass and 3 eels on the semicircles and only one bass on the J hooks. I think I’m converted.

Hope you found this interesting,

Peter Jones

I certainly found Peter's email interesting. Bass can be buggers to hook - particularly if you don't want the hook to be down in their throats. Eels, of course, are even worse. I wrote back asking whether I could put the stuff on my website, whether he had any pictures and about the size of the bass being caught.

Thanks for the reply Mike.

Sure you can use the email if you wish. As for the bass they were all between around 10 - 14 inches long. Even though the numbers have been around same as the last few years at this spot the size is right down. I have not caught a bass bigger than around 14 inches long at this mark this year. In previous seasons I have caught bass here weighing a few pounds on most sessions with my largest catch being 9 pounds 14 ounces. Interestingly this bass was caught in January (or was it February) and had its stomach full of flatfish (something which I would like to use as bait sometime if I can catch enough small flounder for a session). As for pictures I don't usually take a camera with me so I don't have any. Another thing about fishing this mark is that the majority of the bass don't seem to be put off by the resistance of the line. They will keep pulling at the lugworm until they either get hooked or have stripped the bait off. There are not many places that I know where the bass to do this. Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on in future sessions with the semicircles.



Fascinating eh? Peter's experience with the declining size of bass seems fairly typical of many south-coast marks. I'm really looking forward to the next episode.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


I've used this picture before but it's just a reminder of the three hook types (semicircle in the middle).'