One of our favourite fish to target are kob (also known as kabeljou, mulloway, jewfish). In my opinion, very few fish hit a lure as hard as a kob. While targeting any of the kob species you always stand a chance of catching that 100b fish you have been waiting for, as it is not uncommon for large fish to come out in-between a shoal of juveniles.
The one problem that makes targeting kob species on lure a challenge is their love for structure, as we all know that structure equates to snags. Attempting to catch these fish on lures often ends up being a pricey exercise. But there is a simple way to reduce our risks of turning that kob into a rockfish – circle hooks!
Spoons rigged with circle hooks take some getting used to as one often finds themselves falling into the trap of striking when you feel that bite. It is important to note that in order to increase your chances of a perfect hook set a slow, steady retrieve is required. Once you have felt that distinctive tap at the end of your line, maintain your constant, steady winding until the fish is on – it really is that easy! Another thing to take into account is the type and size of the circle hook you choose to use. I personally prefer the Eagle Claw Billfish L2004ELG-7/0 as to date they have resulted in the best hookup rates (they are also not so heavy on the pocket) – a smaller hook is better than a larger hook. Furthermore, we have found that by replacing your traditional split-ring with a homemade piano wire ring, one allows the circle hook free movement to do its thing – your hook is therefore more likely to be in the right position when the time is right.
Once you have mastered the technique you are bound to reap the benefits. Advantages of fishing with spoons rigged with circles include:
1) Your chances of getting stuck between the bricks is significantly reduced, allowing you to fish your spoon at a slower speed with more confidence.
2) You are not only limited to kob. Since using this technique we have landed a variety of “by-catch” using spoons rigged with circles, including leeries, shad, yellowbellies as well as a 50kg dusky shark.
3) Circle hooks are easier on the fish than J-hooks. Your chances of a successful release are therefore significantly increased when using this technique. Fish around the globe are under increasing threat – remember by letting them go, you let them grow.
So, next time you tempted to target a kob, take a leap into the circle of trust and give this method a try.