The hook is probably one of the most vital yet under-appreciated parts of a fishing rig. Without a hook, there will be nothing for the fish to grab onto so you can reel him into the boat. Also, there will be nothing for you to put your bait on if you’re using shrimp, squid, pinfish or some other type of live bait.
Fishing charters around Orlando and the Indian River Lagoon will keep a variety of hooks onboard. Which ones they use will depend on the bait, the type of fish they’re targeting and whether they plan on keeping their catch or throwing them back.
While there are only 3 basic types of hooks (see below), there are literally dozens of sizes. Which size you should use for your particular outing depends on the size of the fish. If a fish’s mouth is small for example, you’ll want to use a small hook since they won’t be able to bite a larger one. Conversely, if you’re fishing for larger gamefish like a Tarpon or Kingfish, they will just spit the small hook out or swallow it whole.
Also, while there are many different sizes and shapes of hooks, pretty much every hook available on the market today is made from stainless steel or high-carbon steel. Stainless steel resists rust and corrosion, but can easily break. High-carbon steel on the other hand can rust, but can be bent and twisted without breaking.
Continue reading for more information about the 3 common types of hooks used by saltwater fishing charters in Orlando and throughout Florida.
- J-hooks – These are called J-hooks because they literally look like the letter J. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the type of fish you’re going after. Many of these hooks have a long shank, which makes it easier to take out of the fish’s mouth. Also, many J-hooks are designed to be used with a specific type of bait. When fishing with a J-hook, it’s recommended that anglers go ahead and set the hook at the first sign of a fish tapping on the line since it’s much easier for the fish to swallow the hook into its stomach or gills.
- Circle fishing hooks – This type of hook was developed as catch & release fishing became more prominent. They look like a half circle since the point of the hook is bent toward the shank. If a fish bites on a circle hook and fully swallows the bait (i.e. shrimp, squid, etc.), the hook will be pulled out of the stomach and catch in the fish’s jaw. Besides being easy on the fish so it can be released, many Orlando fishing charters prefer circle hooks for their novice anglers since they are so easy to set. If the angler has a fish on the other end, all they need to do is steadily apply pressure rather than jerking the rod. Some states actually require anglers to use circle hooks as opposed to a J-hook or treble hook. Anglers using circle hooks are using live bait over 90% of the time.
- Treble fishing hooks – A treble hook can be described as three J-hooks in one. One key difference though is size – since there are 3 hooks, they don’t need to be nearly as big to catch the same fish. Another difference is how the fish is hooked – a circle fishing hook for example won’t immediately be embedded into the fish. Treble hooks on the other hand snag the fish as soon as it hits the bait. This is important if you’re fishing with artificial lures rather than live bait. As soon as a fish bites down on a lure, they will know that it isn’t natural and immediately spit it out, which is why the treble hook has to be set as soon as the fish bites it. Although treble hooks will snag a fish as soon as he hits it, many anglers prefer circle hooks or J-hooks since they are easier on the fish and easier on their fingers.
If you’re on one of many fishing charters on the Indian River Lagoon just outside Orlando, your captain will choose the best type of hook and size for the species you’re fishing for. Many use circle hooks by default, especially for their patrons, since they’re so easy to use and present the lowest risk for the angler and other patrons.
Captain Mark Wright is a highly experienced fishing guide offering inshore charters to visitors and residents of Orlando. Visit http://www.captmarkwright.com/ for more information, or visit the reservations page for available dates for get on the water.