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By texnomad
I quit bait fishing about 25 years ago. Back then you just chose a size of J hook you wanted to use. I want to probe the deeper waters here in the Rockport/Corpus area this winter with natural baits. Probably mostly dead shrimp/mullet. A trip to the supply store showed me about 200 trillion different styles o f hooks now days. In the past you used a 1 to a 2/0 for size. The proliferation of different hooks brought me here to find out what style and size is preferred these days for table fare sized fishes. My guess was that it would be mostly bottom feeders as my target in this area. Please bring me up to date on preferred hooks for natural baits.
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By Neumie
For dead shrimp nothing wrong with the classic J-hook if fishing under a cork. If you're bottom fishing with a carolina/fish-finder rig I would lean towards a circle hook. I use the Owner Mutu Light for live croaker on a fish finder rig. Let the fish take the bait and run with the dead bait and set the hook when you feel its weight.
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By texnomad
Thank you. I appreciate the input. I was planning on a fish finder rig and a single drop rig for the bottom. An old popping cork for upper levels fishing. A popping cork since I have a few old ones left from way back in history. Just wanting to do something different than the same ol thing.
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By texnomad
That is a very good video. It also shows that what we did in the 50s and 60s is still a good choice for hooks. Thank you for the video reference.
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By karstopo
Man, I love circle hooks but am not an expert using any kind of natural bait. We have done a mini experiment with dead shrimp and catfish using a circle on one rod and a equivalent sized treble on the other. The circle wins that contest by a long shot. Circles also seem better than j hooks when fishing for LMB or catfish using live tilapia or bluegill. What I like about circles is their tendency to self set. I used to rig gulp crabs or shrimp under a cork and a circle. The circle was better than the jig head rigged gulp shrimp under the cork. And in my limited surf fishing with live or cut bait, I want a circle.

I’ve tied a couple of flies on small fly circle hooks and so far am not impressed.
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By kickingback
I am amazed at all the hooks as well but I use the standard "J" hook for most of my live and plastic lure fishing. The standard jig heads are J hooks and I use them and regular 2/0 or 3/0 O'Shaughnessy hooks for Gulp, mullet, shrimp and mud minnows. I use a circle hook for croaker as I find it stays in the fish better. Of course the bull red hooks are the standard circle hooks as well. You can't go wrong with a J hook but have a few circles around to catch snapper or other bottom feeders.
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By TroutSupport.com
either use a small Kahle style hook or a circle hook. You'll drastically reduce deep gut hooked fish by not using 'J hooks'. Sure J hooks hook fish.. but you can't pre determine what fish you want to keep or have to release due to size.. unless you are sight casting of course.

My favorite for live or cut bait is the Gammy Kahle hook in 2/0 . If I'm soaking dead (it's been a long long time since I've done that) then I might use a 2/0 or 3/0 circle for inshore reds.
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By Yaklash
For cut bait fishing on the bottom, I would go with a circle hook, size depending on the size of the bait.

For live mullet or mud minnows for flounder, call me a dummy or an old-timer, but I still use treble hooks. I have yet to have a flounder swallow one (because I know when to set the hook) and I have lost very few fish after the pause when using a treble. Can't say the same for a kahle or circle hook. I also use trebles for live shrimp, when fish for trout free-lining, carolina or under a cork (which is very seldom). Just how I was taught I suppose.

The only thing I have ever use a J-hook for is fishing minnows or shiners in fresh water, and if I were to do that again, I'd likely use a circle hook.
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By texnomad
Thank you everyone. I will be a couple more days before I make my first re-acquaintance with bait soaking. I think it will be a lot of fun again.
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