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Circle hook use has been mandated in U.S. waters for years. Their use has been implemented to save fish from lethal wounds inflicted by conventional J-style hooks. North Carolina State biology research assistant Paul Rudershausen wanted know whether circle hooks are effective as conventional J-hooks.

Rudershausen, teamed up with North Carolina charter boat captains to determine the efficacy of circle hooks versus J-hooks when trolling for game fish. Researchers compared hook-up rates for three popular fish: 1) mahi mahi (dolphin); 2) wahoo; and 3) yellowfin tuna.

Exhaustive research revealed circle hooks were about 60 to 70 percent as effective as traditional J-style hooks. The study further concluded when a fish was hooked using circle hooks, the landing rate was the same as with J-hooks.