I love live bait fishing. At times it can be a hassle, especially when catching your own, but locating the baitfish, throwing the net and getting dirty still has its rewards. Ninety percent of the time with live bait, I am using a circle hooks at the end of my leader. One problem with using live bait, especially with circle hooks, is the pilchard or bait of choice “double hooking” itself (usually the hook burrows in at two different locations of the head), putting off an abnormal presentation. When this happens frequently it can get pretty annoying, and you may miss that trophy fish cruising the flats while setting up your bait over and over. MiHatchii, a manufacturer of numerous styles of fishing hooks, has come out with a solution to this problem. Sam gave me some of their new hooks to try out from the ICAST show. These hooks are designed to stop double hooking. I know, there are already bait stopper “beads” out there that one can put on their hooks to somewhat solve this problem, but MiHatchii has come up with a better way.
These new hooks have a built in bait stopper made of a rubber material that is less prone to wear than a standard bead, and wont slip out of place under normal circumstances.The stopper is adjustable and is black in color to match the black nickel coating of the hook. This stopper is more durable than a standard bead and is a totally different design. The stopper is a small tab that points down, and again, blends very well, to keep a natural bait presentation. These guys didn’t just throw a rubber bead on there and call it a day. MiHatchii also claims these new “Wide Bite” circle hooks have the widest gap out there to increase hook ups, and also have less than one percent offset shank. Let me tell you, these hooks are pretty sharp too, I know by experience. We won’t talk about my thumb puncture though.
When fishing with these hooks, no double hooking took place during testing, even with the liveliest of baitfish. When bottom fishing for grouper and snapper with the 5/0 hook, I had no issues, unless when hooked to a rock or rubble, or casting improperly with a weighted setup. On the flats, with a smaller 2/0 hook, I had very few problems, unless hooking weeds and pulling the stopper or baitfish in a strange direction. My only real issue, and it only happened rarely, is when a baitfish gets the stopper caught in the eye, and this can usually be prevented with proper adjustment of the stopper.
MiHatchii’s new Wide Gap circle hooks currently come in 1/0 to 6/0 and are very reasonably priced, running from 3-5 dollars for a pack of 6. Surprisingly, I was unable to find a website on a Google search, but I did find some retailers, http://www.youvellausa.com/youvella-usa-products.html?page=shop.browse&category_id=54
Give these hooks a try. I will be keeping some of my favorite sizes in my tackle bag, probably for bottom fishing and tarpon. The hooks are not fine wire and are thicker than I like to use for the flats when I normally try to downsize as much as possible, but they definitely have my approval.