finally got to try out the circle hook clousers i tied up, and heres what i experienced.

when i first started, i missed a lot of fish. i think it was beacause i was stripping when they hit the fly, and it was equivalent to setting the hook, which doesnt work with a circle hook. i slowed down my retrieve, gave it a smaller strip with long pauses and kept some slack in my line at all times. this seemed to do the trick, i immediately started hooking up. the trick was to let the fish come tight on the line as the fly swung in the current. it was a lot like swinging a brace of wets in the current for freshwater trout.

i guess i should have mentioned when i started that i was pursuing salt water speckled trout.

things seemed to work fairly well, as long as the fish were agressive. when they lost their agressiveness, i had to speed up the retrieve, and this resulted in missed fish. as long as i could keep the retrieve at a liesure pace with plenty of pauses, i dont think my hook up ratio was affected. one problem i did have was, if i hooked a fish deep, it was a given that i was going to injure the fish. deeply hooked circle hooks are tough to remove. i think the deep hooked fish were caused by me stripping at the precise moment the fish inhaled the fly. all the deep hooked fish were hooked the same way, deep down the throat.

of 30 fish, i had 3 deep hooked. this gave me a 10% mortality rate which is twice what i was getting with "J" hooks. i think this is caused by how difficult it is to remove a circle hook that is deep down the fishes throat. allthough i had a lot more deep hooked fish with the "J" hooks the removal is pretty easy, they are barbless, and pop out fairly easy when you run your finger down the line and give them a push. the only down side is at the end of a night of fishing you finger looks like ground beef, which was one of the reasons for trying the circle hooks to begin with.

finall conclusions, right wrong or indifferent,

1. if fish are not agressively feeding, it is difficult to get them to hit the fly and hold it , which is whats needed if your going to hook up with a circle hook.
2. the mortality rate with the circle hook is twice that which i have experiencd with a "J" hook.
3. "J" hooks are easier to remove from a deeply hooked fish than circle hooks are.
4. need to experiment a little more with the circle hook, and see what happens when i crimp the barb down.
5 need to experiment with a hook disgorger for clouser minnows.

circle hook, "electric chicken clouser"
Hook: owner #4, model, 5114T-071
Thread: fire orange
Eyes: extra small pearl dumbell eyes
Body: pink wool , dubbed
Tail: pink bucktail
Wing: chartruse bucktail over 6 strands of silver flashabou

normally for a standard "J" hook i use a size 6 or 8 mustad 34007, whic seems a lot smaller than the size 4 circle hook, but the shank of the circle hooks is so short it dictated going to the larger size. i dont think this size difference had any effect.

i will try and get my wife to post some pictures of the pattern at a later date.