Please Use Circle Hooks to Reduce Release Mortality, Fish F.A.S.T. For Striped Bass

In Virginia, we are promoting “FISH F.A.S.T. FOR STRIPED BASS”, encouraging anglers to use non-offset circle hooks while fishing. We hope this measure will decrease the amount of release mortality in our state and improve the long-term health of this resource.


F ocus on a quick release to increase chances of survival.
A lways use appropriate tackle: non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks are best.
S wim the fish to re-oxygenate before release.
T ry to remove the hook while the fish is in the water.

Circle Hooks

The 2019 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Fishery Management Plan for Striped Bass estimates that 2.8 million striped bass were lost due to recreational hook and line release mortality in 2018, more than the number landed by the recreational fishery during that year.

ASMFC defines circle hooks as “a non-offset hook where the point is pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank”. The term “non-offset” means the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank.

circle hooks


• Circle hooks reduce the likelihood that a fish will be “gut hooked” or “deep hooked” (fish swallowing the hook), removing a hook in these situations could puncture vital organs, resulting in mortality
• Circle hooks are designed to hook the fish in the corner of the mouth, making it easier to release while increasing the chances of survival of the fish
• Circle hooks have been used successfully with both dead and live baits for many species

To use circle hooks effectively, do not pull back hard on the fishing rod to set the hook. Let the fish run with the hook. This motion will allow the hook to move towards the back of the cheek and grab on to one of the strongest bones in the fish’s head area. Once it is set, it’s set until you remove it after the catch. Commercial fishermen have spoken to how effective circle hooks are at holding their catch, as long as you let the hook do what it is designed to do!

Click here for more infomation on circle hooks:  ASMFC Special Report on circle hooks

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