Article: Circle Hooks

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing

Circle Hooks Save Fish!

Did you know…

• Recreational anglers in Massachusetts catch and release millions of fish each year!

• Sometimes fish die from their hook wounds after they are released back into the ocean.

• Circle hooks can help lower the number of these kinds of deaths by 50%!

Using Circle Hooks

When using live bait, turn the hook through soft flesh or bridle the bait to the hook.

For cut-bait, rotate the piece completely onto the hook to ensure it doesn’t fall off.
When the fish takes the bait, be patient and don’t set the hook.

Calmly reel the line tight and the hook will do all the work.

What species benefit from Circle Hooks?

Fish that eat by inhaling their food are good candidates for circle hooks.
Examples include:

• Striped Bass
hook size: 6/0, 7/0, 8/0

• Black Sea Bass
hook size: 4/0, 5/0, 6/0

• Tuna Species
be sure the gap on the hook you select is large enough to fit around the lip of your target fish

New Rule for 2020

  • Striped bass anglers (not fishing on for-hire vessels) must use in-line circle hooks when targeting striped bass if using whole or cut natural baits.
  • Visit www.mass.gov/marinefisheries for more information.


Why don’t circle hooks snag?

Circle hooks are designed so that the point is turned back towards the shank at a 90° angle. This causes the hook to catch on the lip or mouth instead of the gut or gills.


Avoid offset hooks

Offset hooks are NOT true circle hooks! The offset shape makes it easy to “foul-hook” a fish.