Hooking and Dehooking

The chief advantage of using circle hooks is that fish are almost never deep-hooked.

A circle hook is a fishing hook designed so that the point is turned perpendicular to the shank to form a circular shape. The principal advantage to using circle hooks is that fish are almost never deep-hooked - research has found that circle hooks are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth rather than the gut, making them easier to remove and reducing harm to the fish.

The principle behind the hook is simple: after the hook has been swallowed the fisherman applies pressure to the line, pulling the hook out of the stomach. The actual curved shape keeps the hook from catching in the gut cavity or throat. Instead, the hook slides toward the point of resistance and embeds itself in the jaw or in the corner of the fish's mouth.

Watch the short video below for a quick overview.


State and federal regulations require all commercial fishers and recreational anglers fishing for any reef fish species to have and use certain gear. Reef fish species include groupers, snappers, amberjacks, triggerfish, porgies, sea bass, hogfish and tilefish.

Regulations change often, so know the rules before you go.

Reef Fish Gear Rules | Federal Fishing Regulations | South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Florida State Waters of the Gulf of Mexico Required Gear:

State Waters of the Atlantic Required Gear

Other Areas

When to Use Them

How to Use Them

Hooking Technique

Don't set the hook! Slowly and steadily reel in the slack in the line until the hook sets itself in the fish. This requires some patience and restraint... patience to make sure the fish has had time to swallow the bait... and restraint in the initial urge to forcefully set the hook.

Benefits of Non-stainless Steel Circle Hooks

  • Non-stainless steel hooks will deteriorate over time.
  • The hook sets itself when you reel in the line. This is great for inexperienced anglers and for deep-water fishing.

  • Circle Hooks Brochure

    Download the Florida Seagrant Circle Hooks Brochure