Circle hooks and fingers

Circle hooks and fingers

There are many reasons to adopt circle hooks wherever possible. Gonna go through them in this post. And right on top of the list, will selfishly be, my fingers!

Circle hooks and fingers

I’ve been lucky enough to be at the Umzimkulu Marina for the ease of schmockdown. And we have been fishing, whenever the tides allow. And sometimes, this means staying into the dark a bit. We have been catching all sorts – it’s been good, even in the screaming current. Fishing 40 meters is a grind and we lose many traces out that way. But shallower, on the hunt for daga salmon and things, it’s just plain fun!

Which is why I was checking my hands out and as unusual as normal – they are remarkably good shape. Fingers are fine. Joints working great. No slices. No pain. No swelling penetrations. Wierd.

Must be the circle hooks!

My hands never go inside a fish’s mouth anymore! No more fingers in gills. Being bitten. Scratched to pieces by the ungrateful fish about to get it’s freedom anyway! Nope, that is all gone.

In the river too. I made the change, learning from some of my clients. And, thinking back, my fingers have been blessed by circle hooks in those waters too. Sometimes that rock salmon, or perch, takes the bait right into the stomach. And I used have to cut the line in desperation, weighing up the damage caused by that, and sticking a long nose plier right down into the poor fish’s gut.

Anyway, those nightmares are well and truly over…

More reasons

A quick summary of why you should use circles at every opportunity…

  • fingers
  • quick and healthy release as the hook is almost always in the corner of the mouth, handily available and ready to come out
  • it’s such a fair fight as your hook ain’t nowhere the fish’s vulnerable innards – so he fights that much harder – it’s the way it’s meant to be – and he always swims away with a smile (sometimes a half-smile if he’s pinned as a live-bait)
  • ancient fisherfolk actually invented the circle hook, which was carved from stone and bone, doing the job for aeons – efore wire came along and produced the j-hook syndrome
  • they never get left in a fish’s mouth or insides
  • they are not expensive
  • they can more easily fall out of the fish’s mouth if the line parts during the fight and the hook stayed. Circles need constant tension to stay in so the hope is the fish’s body will reject the hook (need more study on that for sure). The wire hooks will also rust away and weaken more readily than previous materials used. Don’t worry, they are strong as hell in a tussle and I have yet to see one straighten out, even a bit.
  • safety (gets it’s own chapter below)

Circle hooks and safety

It’s very hard, very, to hook yourself, or your friend, with a circle hook. And so, is relatively safe for kids. The only hassle now is they could swallow them whole! For that is how they operate – these circles, they go right inside as there is no protruding point like a j-hook has. And so they only find purchase when swivelled around the jaw of the fish as the hook as the line is being pulled tight.


Is to change to circle hooks wherever you can. I’ve seen some jig heads with circles even recently, so am gonna rig some Mydo Luck Shot jig heads with them and see what happens.

Stay posted!

Sardine Run 2020

The Sardine crew is operating out of Port Shepstone for the Sardine Run 2020 season, which so far looks to be a lot of fun coming up. The usual smattering of pilot shoals have gotten the gamefish and sharks all interested and they have been popping up all over. But not in big numbers. That’s still to come.

Except! For the dart couta! That for one or two fun days came through and some sixes and sevens and things were shot by divers. And even some bigger sized fish shoaled through out off Durban some commercial guys made the most of the empty seas.

The big and ugly cold fronts that last year this time were battering us, have not materialised although the predictions are wild with fury. Somehow, this current cold front, hopped, skipped and jumped right over us here at the Umzimkulu Marina.

Staying here puts us within striking distance of everything. And with the sardines imminent, we are going to maing the most of everytghign.

The Umzimkulu Marina has boats and accommodation. Kids love it here. Everything is close.

We can go out to sea on Ocean Safari on board the Niteshift. The whales have just arrived as we saw out at sea in the last few days. We can fish deep-sea for gamefish like couta and snoek if they rock up. Or just fun old bottom fishing for dinner.

The river is really, really clean, and in some places there are loads of mullet and other baitfish. We have a river fishing and cruising boat available for charter aswell. The Garrick have arrived. The kob must be here too…

The Umzimkulu River
Come and join us here for the Sardine Run 2020 which happens just at the top of the photo where the Umzimkulu River meets the Indian Ocean.

So, pop on over to, to learn more (they are also offering day passes for fisherfolk), and to get in touch. Or take a short cut and contact me Sean on or WhatsApp +27793269671.

We are also on Facebook at, we run a jam-packed YouTube Channel at

Post by The Sardine News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.