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One eye fishing,
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been fishing inshore panhandle waters now for nearly 20 years. I have zero experience offshore. Finally got my first boat that is marginally capable of hitting up some of the nearshore state water fishing. Since then, I've been battling a total knee replacement and now lithotripsy... Still zero offshore experience.
But I've hunted up a few places in the bay where I know I can catch red snapper. I'm looking forward to getting to them as soon as the season opens, but I am curious about the circle hook regulations. I know they're mandatory when using live bait for reef species and all that, but I just cannot find the specific answer to my specific question. I've been catching them on inshore jigs (non-circle hook) and live shrimp. Same rigs I've always used for reds, trout, and flounder.
Will it not be legal to keep a fish (ARS) caught in this fashion from the bay?
Should I switch up to a tiny knocker rig with a circle hook?
I'll be happy with a few 5 to 8 pounders till I find my way off shore!
Thx...
 

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circle hooks are required in conjunction with natural bait. A jig with a non-circle hook is fine.
From FWC:
"Circle hooks (must be non-stainless and not offset) when using natural baits."
"Non-offset means the end of the hook is in line with the shank of the hook – rather than being angled sideways away from the shank." i.e. it you laid it flat on a table the entire side of the hook would be touching the table. On an offset hook one end, usually the point end, would be raised off the table.
So my favorite circle hook, a standard Owner Mutu Light hook is not legal, but the ones marked "tournament legal" are OK because they are non-offset.


I just re-read your post. If you are asking if you can use a plain jig head instead of a circle hook to fish a natural bait, then I would say that is not legal. If you are asking if it legal to tip a standard j-hook style bucktail jig with a natural bait like squid, then that is a good question. I have done it without even thinking about it, but a strict reading of the rules would suggest that it is not legal. I sent a clarification question to FWC and will update when / if they respond.
 

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One eye fishing,
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Discussion Starter #5
["If you are asking if you can use a plain jig head instead of a circle hook to fish a natural bait, then I would say that is not legal. If you are asking if it legal to tip a standard j-hook style bucktail jig with a natural bait like squid, then that is a good question"]

These two sentences are confusing to me. Concerning the distinction between a "natural bait", and "a natural bait like squid."

I'm okay with going with the fact that my inshore jigs are not legal to fish for snapper with. I can easily switch to a small knocker rig with a circle hook. Question are my octopus hooks legal as circle hooks? I'm guessing no.
Next question, as I'm in the bay, surely there will be no problem with me having rigs with this jig ready to go in my rod rack or even fishing with them for whatever after I have a couple of snapper in the cooler. As in, I'm still fishing elsewhere for something else (with live shrimp on a jig) after I've already caught my snapper.
Jeez,sometimes I get the feeling the government wants to make something as simple as catching a fish as complicated as possible! Ha.
 

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You can keep a reef fish caught on a plain jig.
You cannot keep a snapper caught on a jig tipped with natural bait like squid, cigs, cut bait, live bait, etc, unless that jig has a circle hook.

J hooks + natural bait are more likely to hook a fish in the throat, stomach. Most of the time it means a dead fish, that is why you need to use circle hooks.
 

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One eye fishing,
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the lesson!

What about fishing around the bay with jigs and live shrimp after I already have rsnapper in the box?
 

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Thanks for the lesson!

What about fishing around the bay with jigs and live shrimp after I already have rsnapper in the box?
I mean, how else are ya gonna catch trout and reds? Haha. Nothing illegal about that...and between us girls here on the forum, every single one of us would keep that 5-8 lb red snapper if in season and we just so happened to "accidentally" catch him while fishing for drum with a jig and shrimp
 

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One eye fishing,
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Discussion Starter #9
Agreed, feeling a little more comfortable now.
And I haven't figured out how to tell a jig hook hole in the roof of the mouth from a circle hook hole. The snapper are so aggressive with the shrimp/jigs once they hit it, they are off to the races. Can't recall a jighead completely in one's mouth, their teeth would have cut my 20 lb leader...
Just getting over pissing blood and vinegar, time to get my game on...
Weather looks a little touch-and-go, and I'll be off and on in the bay in order to keep up with the doctor appointments...They left a stent up there they gotta go back for shortly.
Catch'em up!
 

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Reef fish no matter where they are caught...circle hooks required
I catch legal snapper and an occasional gag in the bay fairly regularly while flounder fishing with live bait and j hooks. If you think I'm throwing them back because they ignorantly bit the wrong kind of hook.....
 

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One of the guys fishing with us on Tuesday was free lining a cigar minnow on a treble hook in the current hoping for a king while we were bottom fishing with circle hooks for snapper. His rod bent over with what turned out to be a 30+ inch red snapper that I guess was big enough to feel comfortable leaving the wreck we were on.

That snapper was chastised soundly for hitting the wrong hook and its punishment was to be placed on ice. :whistling:
 

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One eye fishing,
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643 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
One of the guys fishing with us on Tuesday was free lining a cigar minnow on a treble hook in the current hoping for a king while we were bottom fishing with circle hooks for snapper. His rod bent over with what turned out to be a 30+ inch red snapper that I guess was big enough to feel comfortable leaving the wreck we were on.

That snapper was chastised soundly for hitting the wrong hook and its punishment was to be placed on ice. :whistling:
So the treble hook resulted in the death of a snapper?
Just like they said!
 
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