Many studies have shown that one of the most influential factors affecting the survival of fish released by anglers relates to where the fish was hooked. Specifically, survival has been shown to be greatly reduced for fish that are deeply hooked in the throat or beyond.
Circle hooks have been shown to increase the survival of angler released fish. With their success already proven for many game fish species, these hooks are now used increasingly for many other common recreational species including golden perch, bream, flathead and kingfish.
A circle hook is a fishing hook manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the hook shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape.
Various studies have shown that circle hooks mouth-hook a greater proportion of fish than typical “J” pattern hooks.
Percentage of mouth-hooked fish
up to 90%
up to 96%
up to 79%
Red Drum (similar to Mulloway)
up to 96%
up to 98%
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
up to 94%
up to 95%
White Marlin (similar to Striped Marlin)
up to 100%
Circle hooks bring about many benefits for anglers, but they do require a few minor changes to your normal fishing techniques.
Occasionally some fish will still be deep hooked. To maximise survival it is best to cut the line and release these fish with the hook still intact rather than attempt to remove it. Float rigs, short leaders and keeping your line tight may also increase the number of fish that are hooked in the mouth.