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Thread: Hook prefference when drifting halibut "J" or Circle

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    Default Hook prefference when drifting halibut "J" or Circle

    When drifting for halibut what is your preferred hook a J hook or a circle hook?
    Do you use a spreader or a 3 way with a longer leader?
    Do you use one bait or more on your line?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanttofish View Post
    When drifting for halibut what is your preferred hook a J hook or a circle hook?
    Do you use a spreader or a 3 way with a longer leader?
    Do you use one bait or more on your line?
    I always use circles, don't use a spreader bar because the leaders that I make myself don't need them (I'm not sure what you mean by a "3 way" but that might be the type of leader I do make---a sort of triangle rig where the weight hooks to one apex you attach your line to the other and then a longer leader to the hook) and I often times will use one or two baits on each line depending on whether the fish are being difficult or not. A couple of days ago we were catching halibut almost as soon as the bait hit the bottom and I was using JUST squid with my "secret sauce" so sure didn't need any other bait on there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanttofish View Post
    When drifting for halibut what is your preferred hook a J hook or a circle hook?
    I keep both on my boat. When i get someone who can't resist jerking the rod at the first touch of a fish, I switch them out to J hooks. Anyone who can resist that instant reaction to a strike hooks a lot more fish on the circles. With circles it's easy to pull the bait away from a halibut if you're too quick on the trigger.

    BTW- I used to go the other way: Fish mostly with J's, and only switch people out to circles when they were slow on setting the hook.

    You're choices and strategies will likely differ, but I bet you see a difference between them.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    My wife and I perfer a J Hook, Gamakasu 12/0 but everyone else along with guest poles have circle hooks. Neither one of us has the disipline to not set the hook on a good bite.

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    By 3 way I was meaning a swivel or connection so that I had a 2' dropper and maybe a 2" leader to keep the hook or bait from getting snagged up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I always use circles, don't use a spreader bar because the leaders that I make myself don't need them (I'm not sure what you mean by a "3 way" but that might be the type of leader I do make---a sort of triangle rig where the weight hooks to one apex you attach your line to the other and then a longer leader to the hook) and I often times will use one or two baits on each line depending on whether the fish are being difficult or not. A couple of days ago we were catching halibut almost as soon as the bait hit the bottom and I was using JUST squid with my "secret sauce" so sure didn't need any other bait on there.

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    I fish mainly J-hooks but I run them in size 9/0 mainly to keep from doing eye damage on smaller fish that I don`t plan to keep...much bigger and you can do some serious damage to the little ones. As mentioned, if you are hook set happy you should fish J`s but if you can let them eat circles work great.


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    Ok thanks, I just was not sure if people had a preference due to drifting vs anchored for them. Thanks for the info I will bring both with me just in case.

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    When drifting we have found that using a bit smaller bait seems to get more hookups versus a larger bait. Circle or J hook it seems. I figure it is easier for the fish to suck in a smaller bait as it whizzes by than a larger bait. Take a fresh herring you just jigged up and cut it in half, add a 2" piece of squid or salmon and start a drift. If using horse herring, I cut them into 4 pieces about 2" each. Lots of hook showing. When on anchor I use whole salmon carcasses or cut plug humpies if i'm looking for a lunker. On a final note, last trip out on Friday we went for a two hour trip - wife got 12 fish all on a Kodiak Custom jig, I got 1 on bait, buddy got 2 on a B2 squid with bait. 12 fish = 2 butts, 1 yelloweye, 1 quillback, 1 5 foot octopus, 1 shark, and 6 cod. I hate her sometimes.
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    Thanks, great info I will give it a try when we are out there I am bringing some shad with me so I guess those can count as horse herring.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I also use both hook styles depending on the individual anglers preference.
    Another thing we always do with circle hooks is to cant the hook point a bit sideways. Many hooks come this way but some still do not and it makes a big difference.
    I switch it up on the baits sometimes a mix of salmon scraps and herring or just plain herring.Sometimes we use octopus as well or even Hooligan.
    But usually we only use one hook so put both baits on the same hook.
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    I guess we need to find out if your wife wants to go fishing with us when we are in town in a couple of weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by Gooch View Post
    When drifting we have found that using a bit smaller bait seems to get more hookups versus a larger bait. Circle or J hook it seems. I figure it is easier for the fish to suck in a smaller bait as it whizzes by than a larger bait. Take a fresh herring you just jigged up and cut it in half, add a 2" piece of squid or salmon and start a drift. If using horse herring, I cut them into 4 pieces about 2" each. Lots of hook showing. When on anchor I use whole salmon carcasses or cut plug humpies if i'm looking for a lunker. On a final note, last trip out on Friday we went for a two hour trip - wife got 12 fish all on a Kodiak Custom jig, I got 1 on bait, buddy got 2 on a B2 squid with bait. 12 fish = 2 butts, 1 yelloweye, 1 quillback, 1 5 foot octopus, 1 shark, and 6 cod. I hate her sometimes.

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    We do this a lot with our salmon and sturgeon hooks for the columbia river.

    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I also use both hook styles depending on the individual anglers preference.
    Another thing we always do with circle hooks is to cant the hook point a bit sideways. Many hooks come this way but some still do not and it makes a big difference.
    I switch it up on the baits sometimes a mix of salmon scraps and herring or just plain herring.Sometimes we use octopus as well or even Hooligan.
    But usually we only use one hook so put both baits on the same hook.

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    Iwanttofish, did you bring shad to Homer two years in a row and get fish over 100lbs each time?

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    I have never been to Homer but I hope the fish in Ketchikan like them, I hear they do

    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    Iwanttofish, did you bring shad to Homer two years in a row and get fish over 100lbs each time?

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    I use both, generally prefer J-hooks when drifting. I find I hook fewer fish with circles, but lose fewer of those hooked. Hook more with J, but lose more too.

    One of the big differences is J-hooks can generally get farther down the gullet of a fish if you aren't quick on the hook set, causing a lot more injury. I don't want to preach ethics here, but you can wind up injuring a fish to the point its survival is highly doubtful, so I think you need to be prepared to keep injured small fish you might otherwise like to release.

    I generally don't find this to be as likely with lures/jigs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort View Post

    I generally don't find this to be as likely with lures/jigs.
    The only problem with jigs I've found is that more often than not you end up snagging fish which is why I tend to shy away from them for halibut.
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    I'd have to say jigs will 5 to 1 (not scientific) over bait in my experience while drifting. I am a fan of the Kodiak Jig, REALLY not too big of fan of lead heads though they work. We don't snag too many unless they are 'laying' on the jig on heavy feed days. That said I lose a TOM of fish, expecially big ones on jigs for some reason. I love to work it though.
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    If you are using jigs and losing alot of big fish try adding a stinger hook. That is what I used out on Albatross Banks not many big fish lost!

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    Thanks, I think I will be using some Pipe jigs with a large hoochie and a couple of hooks, they weigh 2lbs and should get it down there fast. I will put a picture up of them. Kind of like the Kodiak jigs but with a copper pipe and lead inside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanttofish View Post
    TKind of like the Kodiak jigs but with a copper pipe and lead inside.
    That's been a popular jig style in Puget Sound for decades. I made some and tried them up here, and they're great.

    One tip- I use plain copper pipe when I'm painting the jigs, but you can make an often-better version if you hit the recycle yard for some chrome plated stuff from kitchens and bathrooms. Dandy.

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