The circle hook is widely used to target many different species with both live and dead baits. I use many different brands of circle hook in both inline and offset but I don’t recall any of them featuring a baitholder until I received the new Eagle Claw Circle Baitholder. It’s an inline circle hook with two pronounced barbs on the rear that help to hold your bait. While this is perfect for dead baits, this hook is also fine for livies as the bait holder barb’s position won’t interfere with your Dacron or rubber band.
It makes sense that a circle should have bait-holding barbs on it as anglers are largely using circle hooks for presenting dead baits. My first thoughts of where it would be advantageous were gummies in the surf and off the boat, whiting heads for snapper, squid strips for snapper – and I’m sure they’ll be appreciated by many anglers in the north bottom bashing for all manner of species using strip baits and squid.
The bait holder barbs just provide that little bit of extra security when presenting certain bait styles and stop them from sliding down the hook.
These hooks are available in Platinum Black and Gold and we were snet the Gold to review. The gold colour is interesting, and it doesn’t bother me as I’ve never found that hook colour affects strike rate. I use hooks that are silver, red, black, bronze and even white and I’ve never noted a difference. If anything, a gold hook will give off some flash which could be advantageous.
As the name suggests these hooks are Lazer sharpened and even in these large sizes they present with a sharop point. They have a long shaft which assists in presenting different styles of bait.
My first thought as a test species were snapper and gummy sharks but I happened to go for kingfish and thought this would be the best test. I was targeting large kingfish in shallow water in Western Port and knew I needed a good strong hook as drag pressures would be high. I rigged a large fresh gar through the head with a half hitch and noted that the baitholder barbs stopped the gar from sliding down the hook. After letting the bait soak for about 5 minutes the rod buckled in the rod holder and I had a pretty crazy fight on my hands. I had just been smoked about 10 minutes before on the small patch of reef I was spot locked over and I knew instantly this was a big fish, so I muscled it out with some heavy drag at the start of the fight before going a little easier to not anger the king any further.
The Eagle Claw provided a textbook corner of the jaw hook placement and I successfully landed the fish. It really was the perfect scenario to test this hook and I’ll be using them further for bait fishing. It’s a sharp and very strong hook and after further use I noted they are not at all prone to corrosion, which I attribute the gold coating.
These are great hooks for both chunk and strip baits, live fish baits and perfect for live squid. They have a nice wide gape for larger baits and a sharp point. Eagle Claw are American-made and have a huge catalogue of amazing hooks – and this is another one of their models that has a permanent place in the tackle box.
Words & Images: Kosta Linardos