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04. Hooks

Hooks, weights and other terminal tackle

Hooks are as varied as lures and artificial baits. You have J-hooks, O’Shaughnessy hooks, circle hooks, treble hooks and snelled and unsnelled hooks. Ask an angler which they prefer and you will get many different answers so let’s look at these and explain some of the functions of these hooks.

  1. Circle hooks as the name implies have a circular bend to them. Do not confuse circle hooks with hooks used for cat fish such as “whisker stickers.” Circle hooks are mainly designed for salt water use. They are also designed to give the salt water angler an advantage on hook up. When a big bull red fish or black drum or any large game fish takes the bait on a circle hook, the fish will hook themselves. How? As a fish runs with the bait from a circle hook, either the resistance of the weight or drag pressure from your reel turns the hook and this pressure allows the circle to penetrate the jaw of the fish and the fight is on. Some anglers will still set the hook but, if the circle hook does its job, its a mere formality in setting the hook. Some will disagree on this. Some anglers also like to offset or gap their circle hook by opening the hook wider or moving the tip and barb off to the left or right. Again, some will agree and some will disagree but the fact remains that if the circle hook is made and rigged properly they will do their job so altering them is a matter of angler preference.
  2. J-hooks are hooks are in the shape of a “J” and are the most recognized hook. Everyone that has fished has used a “J” hook of some type.
  3. O’Shaunesy hooks look like J-hooks with a little bit more bend in them for holding live bait.
  4. Snelled hooks are basically a hook that has some kind of leader tied to them. Unsnelled hooks do not
  5. Treble hooks are three hooks in one. Most anglers know what a treble hook is so there is no need for further explanation.

The pictures on the following pages will give a few examples of some of the various hooks used in surf fishing. There are many more to choose from depending on your preference.

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Circle Hooks

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O’Shaughnessy Hooks

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Bait Hooks