I'm curious what size circle hook you use fishing with crabs for Tarpon. I've always done well with Owner 5/0 light wire. I've caught 100+ fish over the years and only had 1 break (2 weeks ago). I like the light wire because it does less damage to the crab and is light weight for a natural presentation.
That said, I was fishing last weekend and had 3 takes and all 3 spit the hook after a 2-3 minute fight. It might have been a fluke, but I'm thinking about upping the size to 6/0 or 7/0 to give me more shank exposure.
I'm all for trying new hooks too so I'll give stpetebaitman's recommendation a try as well.
I also am a mustad lightwire demon circle guy. But I have expiermented a lot seeing if I can find better ratios. Nothing beats them for me yet. But they aren't for everyone. They will bend out.
That's with any fish when you are not putting lateral pressure or when you are "walking the dog" and pulling away from their mouth not against their body.
If you get a good hookset all the way through - pump hookset after bite with proper drag - you shouldn't have any issues.
Exactly what I always use .. Great hook there.. And I always hit it with a DRET Diamond Retractable the night before.....not that it needs it..but habit from the 80's with to many spit hooks
That hook has the best ratios for me. I adjust the size depending on beach/pass/bridge. Don't try and fish that 6/0 in egmont or you will bend it out. Which is actually ok if I am stop em or pop em fishing but if you want the boat side pic in the pass use that style hook but 8/0.
Thanks for your response.
No doubt, the 6/0 a thin wire hook, and you are very correct to point it out. Put too much pressure on the fish (it's about 10lbs to 12lbs, incidentally, depending on where/how the fish is hooked) and the hook will straighten. Put even more, and the hook will break (around 15 to 20lbs, typically). But to be frank, it doesn't take any more than about 8lbs of drag that to land a fish quickly if the angler is experienced and skilled...and regardless of where you're fishing.
That said, I am going to disagree with you on one thing, and here's why: I've caught literally hundreds of tarpon in BG pass and Egmont/Skyway on the 6/0. Almost 75% of the fish hooked have come to the boat, and I've not had better numbers with any hook I've used (or even the bigger 39951, which tends to get thrown on the jump a bit more due, I believe, to the slightly larger gap). We actually land a higher % of those fish (a bit less than 5% better) in the passes than we do along the beaches with that hook -- which still doesn't make any sense to me other than you tend to get better hooksets (more button-hooked fish) in the pass -- because as you correctly allude to, it's generally tougher to get fish to the boat in deep water.
But what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another, and what's most important is that you're comfortable with whatever hook you're using and how you fight fish.
And if that's the 8/0, more power to you, brother.
Just thought I'd share given the conversation....and incidentally, 9 of the 11, fish were landed. One of the broken hooks in the bottom row (12lbs drag) occurred mid-fight, and one of the top row was thrown in a jump. The first hook in the photo was not used and is just there for reference.
For what it's worth, I have never, not even once, sharpened a 39951.
Is there a difference in a 39951 and 39951BLN-NP? I looked on the Mustad site and did not see the info. Also a search only shows a BLN variety.
Out of curiosity, do you happen to know what all the letters mean? BLN, NP...?
In your hook study was drag the only consistent variable? I know a fishes "personality" cannot be accounted for, but size, water depth, etc., were these factored in? Just curious.
Yes, the drag was the only consistent thing (along with the hook and leader). Rods, reels, and anglers all varied. All those fish were caught in one week in Boca Grande fishing in the pass and along the beach. One of the anglers with me that week liked to palm his spinning reel spool, but I think we got rid of those from the samples....it's been a while and I was unable to find my notes from that week.
Based on Tarponator's original recommendation with pictures from a few years ago, I use the 39951BN. This year used mostly 7/0 and a few 6/0 when I got to fish in early June. Released 7 of my 11 hook-ups. One bent out like the bottom row of Tarponator's pictures but I still released that fish. Had 1 pulled hook a couple of minutes in, 2 thrown hooks and 1 broke leader on jumps after 5-10 minutes. Took 10-25 minutes to releases from a kayak as I was pressuring them pretty hard.
Not to high jack the thread, but as a side note I do not "bow to the fish". I videoed 23 of their jumps and had just three fish lost on those jumps. I try to ease up on the pressure a little bit but keep them real tight. Maybe that hook has something to do with it.
Glad to hear they worked out for you.
Capt. Jim Lemke turned me on to those hooks, in the spirit of full disclosure.
And FWIW, I also use 7/0 occasionally on bigger blue crabs. I don't think the wire is any thicker though -- I'll check and report back later.
See the third page near the bottom right.
BN is black nickle. I think BLN is their old code for the same thing, but I'm not entirely sure. I should have some old boxes of hooks in the garage...I'll see if I can dig them up to make more sense of this.