Still not sure if you should be using circle hooks? Well, you should be – because new scientific research backs up the claims (again) that billfish are much more likely to survive a catch-and-release …
IGFA Fish Release Recommendations: Part I – Terminal Tackle
Modifying the types of hooks you use can significantly affect a fish’s chances for survival after it is released. When fishing with natural bait (dead or alive), IGFA strongly encourages the use of non-offset circle hooks. Extensive research on species from salmon to sailfish has demonstrated that circle hooks gut hook significantly fewer fish without sacrificing catch rates. Lures that have treble hooks should have the barbs bent down or removed to facilitate easier hook removal.
Interested in the science behind circle hooks? Read Circle hooks, ‘J’ hooks and drop-back time: a hook performance study of the south Florida recreational live-bait fishery for sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus published inFisheries Management and Ecology in 2007.