Tackle and Tactics
More on circle hooks.
Following my exchange of emails with Mark Roberts in New Zealand I have had another email on the subject of circle hooks from David Evans-Roberts.
On Sunday morning I had one of those fishing sessions that went totally different from expected, but proved quite an eye opener. I opted to fish from the boathouse where I work on the River Thames, as it is a consistent chub mark, and I wanted to finish the season with some fish. I had fished it a fortnight previously and caught a chub and some roach in what looked to be unpromising conditions (the water was only 4 degrees C, and a cold north wind was bringing snow showers). On Sunday I went armed with a tub of maggots (and with great optimism as the water was up to 6 degrees and a light wind was blowing). Now on the previous session I had noticed predator activity so I took a packet of sprats for the second rod. Now reading your articles I had bought some Varivas circle hooks from Veals, which I was trying for the for the first time.
Despite the more favourable conditions it was over an hour before I got a touch on either rod, and then I caught a small gudgeon. I decided to take off the sprat and hook the gudgeon through the jaw. Within 5 minutes I had two perch around a pound mark on the same gudgeon. After which I had to rebait with the sprat and a bit later caught two pike. What really impressed me was that I hooked 4 out of 4 takes, and as your articles said all neatly jaw hooked. I was able to unhook the pike without forceps. I never did manage a chub! The Varivas hooks seem a bit heavy in the wire for some purposes, but looking at catalogues other makes are available in finer wire down to small sizes. I shall be experimenting with these for tench in the next few weeks, and possibly Mullet in the summer.
I was pleased to hear of David's success. I suppose we would expect the circle hooks to be effective for things like pike and perch where the mouth is large and bony. Presumably the hook slides out, catches on the edge of the mouth, rotates and penetrates. Whether they will work as well for things like tench, carp and mullet - only time will tell - but: since many of the modern carp 'rigs' seem to be designed to turn a J hook into a circle hook by folding it back on the trace: I expect conventional circle hooks might be just as effective.
One last point. I have recently been given some 'semi-circle' hooks to try out. They are just what they sound like - hooks in which the points are not bent back quite as far as in a full circle. My problem with these is whether "- to strike or not to strike!" Any thoughts or experiences???
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More on circle hooks.