Circle Hook Law

What about the new circle hook law ?

The new law you are referring to applies to fishing from a vessel on the gulf side of ocean. It does not apply to fishing from a vessel on the Atlantic Ocean, nor does it apply to fishing in the bay or Gulf of Mexico from shore. The law states that when using natural or live bait you need to use circle hooks. It prohibits the use of “J” hooks and offset circle hooks. It is a law designed to protect the fish, primarily Snappers and Grouper which often die when they swallow a hook and it becomes lodged in their system. Using circle hooks is a big change. You cannot fish them in the same manner as “J” hooks or you will not catch very many fish. You no longer can simply jerk the rod to set the hook, to do so will simply pull the hook out of the mouth of the fish. With a circle hook you first need to wait about three to six seconds before acting. I like to hold the rod high when the fish grabs and then bring it down to waist level. I wait for the fish to grab my offering and begin to swim away. When this happens I use a moderate pace and reel with the rod tip down. If you follow this procedure you should hook the fish in the corner of its mouth every time. The only time I fail to do this is when I catch a fish that is much larger than the size of hook and bait I am using.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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