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Trouser Trout

Hook Eyes

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The circle hook proves SilverCreek's statement, that the hook usually turns sideways in the fishes mouth. Circle hooks almost always end up hooked in the corner of the mouth. If swallowed, depending on bait/hook coverage, the in-turned hook point will allow the hook to slip back out of the throat and again, hook in the corner of the mouth.

Circle hooks have been proven to make a large reduction in the gut hooking when using live bait.

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The only problem is that you can't "set the hook" when using a circle hook. That's half of the fun in fly fishing.

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Even the idea of modern circle hooks has some debate with it. There are circle hooks with straight eyes & with up turned eyes, and those that are inline & those that have an offset or kirb to them. The debate is that those circle hooks with up turned eyes may drag within a fishes mouth & deflect the position of the hook, so that it does not end up in the corner of the mouth, and perhaps elsewhere. The same with the offset, as it may act like a grapple & take hold other than in the corner of the mouth. There are tournaments that only allow the use of inline, straight eyed, circles because of these possible problems. The desire being to assure that the hook ends up in the corner with as high a degree of probability as possible so that releases are as easy as possible on the fish. However, this is primarily a bait fishing issue, and really has little to do with flies because these types of circle hooks are not usually associated with fly tying.

 

If you go back far enough in the history of manufactured hooks, they were initially made without an eye, as the process & probably the metal was not refined enough to allow for the forming of an eye. At least not a small eye. In this case snelled or lashed leaders had to be added. I once read that it has been speculated that the up or down turned eye is a result of the snelling or lashing used on the early eyeless hooks, and was simply a way to provide a better stop point for knots used with leaders. I don't know if this is true or not. Up turned eyes on small size hooks may in fact have been attempts to provide additional clearance, particularly when we consider that the small diameter mono type tippets that are available weren't always such small diameters in early silk or cat gut leaders relatively speaking. Plus, these types of leaders & tippets were quite stiff, which could hinder good hook sets. Even early nylon materials were not as supple as we have today.

 

However, Silver Creek's explanation is highly likely the primary reason that we still have up turned or down turned eyes on fly hooks, and that's because of how it looks.

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However, Silver Creek's explanation is highly likely the primary reason that we still have up turned or down turned eyes on fly hooks, and that's because of how it looks.

 

Amen to that. Whatever looks good, go with it.

 

BTW, FWIW: when the NE bonito/false albacore crew started using circle hooks back in the '90s, the only hooks readily available at the time were offset Eagle Claw and Owner circles, and they worked like a charm, even though, strictly speaking, they weren't really fly hooks. The real concern about offset hooks is that they're more apt to injure small fish, sometimes even lodging in the eye socket. I think the concern is valid. I've never noticed a difference between up-eyed or straight-eyed circles. IME, they're equally effective.

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