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Thread: Favorite halibut hook

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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Default Favorite halibut hook

    What is your favoriite halibut hook and what size?

    It seem that the standard advice is the circle hook, but I am not sure just when to set the hook-or, if I even should. One old guy I take out is often missing his fish using a circle hook because he wants to jerk the fishes' head off at the first good tug. Should he be using a J-hook or learn to wait?

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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Most people on bait use circle hooks because they set by just pulling back on them with steady pressure. The most common size is 16/0 but that will very by brand. Most people do not use J hooks as Halibut will swallow them and get gut hooked.

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    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    My understanding is you do not "set" circle hooks. The design causes the hook to rotate as it is pulled and will basically set itself if steady pressure is held.

    In other woords a steady pull instead of trying to lift the fish off the bottom while setting.
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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    16/0 Mustad Circle hook.

    You can "set" the hook, but you have to wait until the fish tries to run with the bait, not just when they are tugging on it.
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    Default Easy-Peasy

    Circle hooks are the most popular for a reason; anyone can catch halibut on them. The tried and true method is to have your bait 3-5 cranks off the bottom and keep your tip high; when the halibut hits it, you have to let them chew on it to get serious. This requires a level of patience that most people have to learn. Once the bite is on, slowly let the tip down and when you feel the first real "tug" then slowly lift it and start reeling in. Sometimes you don't get a hook set with this method either but it's the most productive way to get some 'but. Good luck. Tell your friend to take a shot of whiskey first to dull his reaction time.
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    When I soak bait in the sound, I like to use a 20/0 mustad (I think). If there is someone on the boat that keeps trying to pull the lips off, I have them put the rod in the holder and wait for it to really start dancing or hand them a jigging set up. The circle hook will work its magic on its own.
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    Mustad has a "wide gap circle" or some such that goes only to 12/0. The gap between its point and shank is wider than the standard heavy tinned 16/0 by the same folks. I got a few of them for Christmas; we'll see how they do. They're a lighter wire and look to me to be better suited to sport gear rather than riding the end of a longline gangion, which is where most of the circles you see come from.

    I've used the light gamakatsu octopus circles snelled with 100lb mono before and they work (very well), but you gotta watch the line for fraying. Wide gap on them too, out of proportion to their small size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Back Country Robb View Post
    Circle hooks are the most popular for a reason; anyone can catch halibut on them. The tried and true method is to have your bait 3-5 cranks off the bottom and keep your tip high; when the halibut hits it, you have to let them chew on it to get serious. This requires a level of patience that most people have to learn. Once the bite is on, slowly let the tip down and when you feel the first real "tug" then slowly lift it and start reeling in. Sometimes you don't get a hook set with this method either but it's the most productive way to get some 'but. Good luck. Tell your friend to take a shot of whiskey first to dull his reaction time.
    Not good advice for every one with the shot of whiskey. For me it took 5 shots. You are dead on with how to do it. Its takes a bit to learn to let them hook themself. All the comercial lines work that way and its deadly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    Mustad has a "wide gap circle" or some such that goes only to 12/0. The gap between its point and shank is wider than the standard heavy tinned 16/0 by the same folks. I got a few of them for Christmas; we'll see how they do. They're a lighter wire and look to me to be better suited to sport gear rather than riding the end of a longline gangion, which is where most of the circles you see come from.

    I've used the light gamakatsu octopus circles snelled with 100lb mono before and they work (very well), but you gotta watch the line for fraying. Wide gap on them too, out of proportion to their small size.
    The wide gap is why I went with the 20/0. I have had fish just up to the boat that would just open their mouth and out the hook would come. Not enough gap to "turn the corner". Nice that there are other options now.
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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Halibut fishing 101:

    Thank you guys for turning the light on---16/0 circle hooks. And I think that I have not been waiting long enough to get the hook in the mouth as often as I would like.

    Robb says to fish 3-5 cranks off the bottom. I think we generally make contact with the bottom and then fish just barely off the bottom. I've only been doing two years and I am all ears.

    As far as the old guy friend that I take out, he is an 80 year old preacher from Louisiana and I doubt he has ever tasted whiskey. So, it might be more than the halibut he occasionally misses. The last fish he did catch before heading home in August was a 70lber. He's been talking a little bit about it since.

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    Idakfisher you can also take the 16/0 circle hook and put about a 1/4" more off set in the hook. This will help it set quicker. Just place the hook in a vise and give it a twist with a cresent wrench.

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    Idakfisher you can also take the 16/0 circle hook and put about a 1/4" more off set in the hook. This will help it set quicker. Just place the hook in a vise and give it a twist with a cresent wrench.
    This is what I have been told also. Haven't tried it yet but I will this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    The wide gap is why I went with the 20/0. I have had fish just up to the boat that would just open their mouth and out the hook would come. Not enough gap to "turn the corner". Nice that there are other options now.
    Its not the size of the hook its the offset, some circle hooks have no offset and they don't work well, Many longliners use the same hooks (12/0) on Halibut that they use on black cod.

    I like the 16/0 with about a 1/4" offset.

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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Mustad makes a 16/0 circle hook that comes with a swivel on it. The off set is almost a 1/4" I found using these that they really dig in deep when they hook in side the jaw. The down side is they are hard to un hook. #39963 I used the 20/0 regular hooks for several years and I did not see any inprovement in hookup vs the 16/0. My main reason I used the 20/0 was to try an avoid hooking the smaller halibut. Will that did not work but I am a firm believer in the use of circle hooks to like the damage that is done to the fish we release.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captaindd View Post
    Idakfisher you can also take the 16/0 circle hook and put about a 1/4" more off set in the hook. This will help it set quicker. Just place the hook in a vise and give it a twist with a cresent wrench.

    Great tip!
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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Everyone is talking about circle hooks, but what ablout J Hooks and jigging as opposed to soaking bait? Personally, I use circle hooks 80% of the time, but I have had others tell me that J hooks outperfom circles for halibut. Any comments when you use each option? I usually fish one of 4 as a J hook, and then switch to circle on all of them after people tire from jigging. Since I am running the boat, getting gear for people, clubbing fish, etc., I think I am better off personally with circle hooks, since it works better for unattended fishing. What do you guys think?
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    I might be one of the only ones that doesn't use circle hooks. I don't them, because I like to set the hook. To me setting the hook is the most fun part of fishing. I used some that a buddy gave me and I missed fish, because I was setting the hook. Nothing like saying fish on when you set the hook and feel a huge tug on the other end.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    J hooks are unpopular with alot of Halibut fisherman because you will mangle lots of fish with them. With circle hooks you just pop it out of their lip and let them go.

    I don't see a need for J hooks unless you are jigging.
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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    OFFSET QUESTION ?

    By offset, do you mean twisting the point of the hook to the side 1/4", so it is not pointed to the eye of the hook?

    Or, do you mean opening the gap of the hook 1/4" wider and having the point of the hook still pointed toward the hook eye?

  20. #20
    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    if you want more hookups use a smaller circle hook, say smaller than 16/0? when I have guests that want fish "period", I go to my small circle hooks, you will get more of those pesky nibblers(eaters), but when you have a guest who just wants a hook up, smaller works better for me.
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