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paul.

first try with circle hooks.

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i have decided that this year i am going to try to switch to circle hooks for all my live bait fishing.  this is definitely going to take some getting used to.  :o  any tips from circle hook veterans on here would be much appreciated.  i got out and played around with circles for the first time today with some bluegill.  still haven't quite got the hang of it after 35+ years of using "regular" hooks, but i'll get there.  i did manage to get this nice one right before dark.  this girl here would be a good one to play "guess my weight" with 'cause she sure fooled me.  i guessed her weight wrong by over a pound before i put her on the scale.  not gonna say which way i guessed wrong yet in case any of y'all wanna take a crack at it.   i guess i'm a little rusty.  hope y'all are catchin' some too. :)

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Beautiful fish! I havent seen any of them for a while, must be because the waters hard. :-/

Im going to guess 7lb 13oz.

                                                                Ian

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Great fish, Paul. She looks pretty fat, I guess 7 pounds. I have used circle hooks for some time when deepsea fishing for snapper. I have had luck with setting the hook and just reeling in.

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Wow, beastly! Send a couple of those TN bass up north over here and I'll ship you guys some IL whitetails, deal?

BTW, what were you using as bait? Nightcrawlers?

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Paul, I guess 9.8 pounds.

I use circle hooks almost exclusively in saltwater for years.  The idea is to NOT set the hook like you would using regular hooks.  Simply wait till the line is taught and start reeling.  This takes a lot of getting use to if you're accustomed to setting up.  

You should notice a dramatic difference in hooking your prey.  I venture to say that 95+% of the time you will hook your catch in the side of the mouth.  But remember to not set the hook like you're trying to yank the fish out of the water.  All you need to do is just simply reel.

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Paul,

Nice hawgs.

Not to hijack your thread, but could you let us know what you are using as far as rod/reel/line with the 'gills?

FD

sure doug.  no problem man.   most of my live bait fishing is in small lakes or ponds with few obstructions, so i go pretty light on equipment.  spinning equipment just seems to work better for me with the conditions i fish.  of course this also enhances the fight and it's more of a challenge to land the fish.  i also don't spend a ton of money on my live bait rigs.  i just don't see why breaking the bank is necessary with this type of fishing.  i'm no expert, but here's a rig that works well for me.  

rod- 6 ft. medium action bionix.

reel - shimano syncopate 2500fe.

line - 10-15 lb. test braid.  

of course i just listed the setup i use most often.  i occasionally toy around with much lighter stuff.  but anything similar should work in obstruction free water, as long as you have your drag set properly and play the fish correctly.  if i was specifically targeting bigger bass or fishing water with more potential snags, i would either go heavier on the spinning tackle or use baitcasting tackle.  the braid is an important component to me because i freeline my baits.  i do not use floats or sinkers.  i want the presentation to be as natural as possible.  with the sensitivity of the braid, i can always feel what my bait is doing down there.  usually i can tell ya within a couple of seconds when i'm about to get hit because i can "feel" the bait getting nervous.  hope that answered your question. :)

Wow, beastly! Send a couple of those TN bass up north over here and I'll ship you guys some IL whitetails, deal?

BTW, what were you using as bait? Nightcrawlers?

thanks man.  that's quite an offer. ;D  i was using live bluegills.

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thanks for the tip bb.  that's what i was trying to do.  in fact i think i under-did it and didn't put quite enough pressure on the fish 'cause i was trying so hard not to jerk. ;D  what can i say?  it's a work in progress. ::)  it just felt so odd not "setting the hook."  l

do you hold the rod up or point it at the fish when you are reeling down on it?  i was holding it up so it would "load".  is this right? :-/  

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Bassn is right on the money.  The fish will set the hook, you yank it, you lose it.  Healthier for the fish if you plan on releasing.

Did ya know, they hook live bait (goggle eyes ) for sailfish with a rubberband around the baits body and put the circle under the rubberband, so you never have an injured bait that may die.  Good idea as those goggleyes are 10 bucks apiece.

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i did manage to get this nice one right before dark. this girl here would be a good one to play "guess my weight" with 'cause she sure fooled me. i guessed her weight wrong by over a pound before i put her on the scale. not gonna say which way i guessed wrong yet in case any of y'all wanna take a crack at it. i guess i'm a little rusty. hope y'all are catchin' some too. :)

You managed to get this nice one?  You always manage to get a nice one!  What a hog!!!  I'm with the guys guessing around 9 lbs.  That's a sweet fish.  

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Paul,

Nice hawgs.

Not to hijack your thread, but could you let us know what you are using as far as rod/reel/line with the 'gills?

FD

sure doug. no problem man. most of my live bait fishing is in small lakes or ponds with few obstructions, so i go pretty light on equipment. spinning equipment just seems to work better for me with the conditions i fish. of course this also enhances the fight and it's more of a challenge to land the fish. i also don't spend a ton of money on my live bait rigs. i just don't see why breaking the bank is necessary with this type of fishing. i'm no expert, but here's a rig that works well for me.

rod- 6 ft. medium action bionix.

reel - shimano syncopate 2500fe.

line - 10-15 lb. test braid.

of course i just listed the setup i use most often. i occasionally toy around with much lighter stuff. but anything similar should work in obstruction free water, as long as you have your drag set properly and play the fish correctly. if i was specifically targeting bigger bass or fishing water with more potential snags, i would either go heavier on the spinning tackle or use baitcasting tackle. the braid is an important component to me because i freeline my baits. i do not use floats or sinkers. i want the presentation to be as natural as possible. with the sensitivity of the braid, i can always feel what my bait is doing down there. usually i can tell ya within a couple of seconds when i'm about to get hit because i can "feel" the bait getting nervous. hope that answered your question. :)

Wow, beastly! Send a couple of those TN bass up north over here and I'll ship you guys some IL whitetails, deal?

BTW, what were you using as bait? Nightcrawlers?

thanks man. that's quite an offer. ;D i was using live bluegills.

Thanks, Paul.

One more thing-I am assuming you are lip hooking the 'gills?

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Well Buddy,

You can't post pictures like those and ask for advice... ::)

I use #4 or #6 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks exclusively.

The key, which you already know, is to NEVER set the hook!

Nice fish.

8-)

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One more thing-I am assuming you are lip hooking the 'gills?

nope.  i used to lip hook 'em but i found they either got lazy or outright died too quickly that way.  now i hook 'em through the meat just ahead of the tail.  (a)  they will not tire nearly as quickly.  (B)  they will not usually go as deep or to the bottom where they can hide in something.  ©  i can feel much better what the gill is doing down there because every beat of the tail is transmitted to me.  (d)  there is just something about this presentation that bass seem to like a little better.

but definitely play around with it.  you will find that baits will act differently when you hook them different ways.  i think this has to do with where the weight of the hook is.   for example, tail hooked gills seem to try to swim upward.  lip hooked gills seem to try to swim downward.  use this to your best advantage with the conditions you are facing.  some people hook their baits in the back, or behind the bottom fin.  i have found that with these 2 ways, the hook will occasionally rotate and hook back into the the bait instead of hooking the bass.  so i don't use these methods very often.  hope this helps and good luck with it. :)

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One more thing-I am assuming you are lip hooking the 'gills?

nope. i used to lip hook 'em but i found they either got lazy or outright died too quickly that way. now i hook 'em through the meat just ahead of the tail. (a) they will not tire nearly as quickly. (B) they will not usually go as deep or to the bottom where they can hide in something. © i can feel much better what the gill is doing down there because every beat of the tail is transmitted to me. (d) there is just something about this presentation that bass seem to like a little better.

but definitely play around with it. you will find that baits will act differently when you hook them different ways. i think this has to do with where the weight of the hook is. for example, tail hooked gills seem to try to swim upward. lip hooked gills seem to try to swim downward. use this to your best advantage with the conditions you are facing. some people hook their baits in the back, or behind the bottom fin. i have found that with these 2 ways, the hook will occasionally rotate and hook back into the the bait instead of hooking the bass. so i don't use these methods very often. hope this helps and good luck with it. :)

Glad I asked! Thanks again.

FD

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o.k. she weighed 8-0. so unless i have miscalculated, ian came the closest. when i first saw this fish, i didn't think there was any way she would weigh more than 7 because she just didn't have much length to her. i'm gonna say she was around 23". i woulda guessed in the neighborhood of 6-12. but when i picked her up, she sure felt heavier and the scale confirmed it. she was extremely fat and probably one of the "thickest" fish i have ever caught for her length. kinda like one of daniel's swiss bass. also notice the relatively small head on this fish compared to her body size. can you say serious potential? :)

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Before reading your last post, I was going to say 8lbs 10oz.  Looks very similar in size to an 8-13 I caught last year.

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a while back my friend bought a pack of about 5 and we just kept losing fish all day cause we didn't know not set the hook we taught the were dookie but on the back of the package it said and i quote don't set the hook these are true lazy hooks just let them bite and just reel them in ;D

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no bobber.

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