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Rhode Island

Saltwater Fishing

Frequently Asked Questions

New Striped Bass Circle Hook Regulation: Frequently Asked Questions

Circle hooks are required when fishing recreationally for striped bass with bait.

Q: What is a circle hook and how does it differ from other hooks? A: A circle hook is a non-offset hook where the point is pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank. Some hooks like J hooks have points which don’t curve back toward the shank. Other hooks are offset with a bend that position the point out of line with the shank.

Q: How do circle hooks help Striped Bass? A: Circle hooks are designed to reduce release mortality by hooking a fish in the corner of the mouth and reducing the incidence of deep (“gut”) hooking or ingestion of the hook.

Q: How do I fish with a circle hook? A: Simply allow the line to tighten on its own when the fish runs and bring the fish in. There is no need to set the hook due to the circle hook design, the hook should catch in the corner of the fish’s mouth.

Q: Do artificial lures need a circle hook? A: No, the circle hook requirement does not apply to any artificial lure with or without bait attached. This includes tube and worm rigs, pork rind, and naked bucktails.

Q: Do artificial baits require a circle hook? A: Circle hooks are only required when fishing recreationally for striped bass with bait which is defined as any marine or aquatic organism live or dead, whole or parts thereof.

Q: Do I need a circle hook if I am not targeting striped bass but using bait? A: No, A circle hook is only required when fishing recreationally for striped bass with bait, which is defined as any marine or aquatic organism live or dead, whole or parts thereof. The circle hook requirement does not apply to any artificial lure with bait attached. Striped bass caught on any unapproved method of take must be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury.

Q: If you catch a striped bass on a j-hook while fishing for another species do you have to release it? A: Yes, striped bass caught on any unapproved method of take must be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury.

ATTENTION: Striped Bass Fin Clipping Regulation

All striped bass recreationally harvested over 34 inches must have their right pectoral fin completely removed. Only remove the right pectoral fin of fish over 34 inches that you intend to take home, do not remove any fins of fish when practicing catch and release fishing. This regulation helps ensure that any fish captured during recreational harvest cannot be sold commercially in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. No dealer in Rhode Island or Massachusetts can purchase a striped bass with its right pectoral fin clipped. Please do your part and help prevent the illegal sale of striped bass caught while recreational fishing.