Hello, my name is Keith Lockwood of the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources and I’m here to provide information about circle hooks
and the new Maryland regulations that govern their use. State law currently requires anglers to use
non-offset circle hooks when fishing the Chesapeake Bay or its tidal tributaries – when
live-lining, chumming, or chunking from May 16th to December 15th – regardless of targeted
species. Research has shown the adherence to this
regulation will lessen the chance of deep-hooking and thus increase survivability for released
fish. When a fish swallows the bait and starts to
swim away, the line will usually orient in the corner of the fish’s mouth. As the line tightens, a circle hook will more
easily slide into the fish’s jaw before safely engaging. You will not need to set the hook – the fish
will do all the work for you. On circle hooks the barb is pointed at the
shank of the hook. On j-style hooks the barb runs parallel. You can easily tell the difference between
offset and non-offset circle hooks by laying them down on a flat surface. On non-offset circle hooks, the entire hook
is on the same plane. On offset circle hooks, the barb is clearly
bent away. Selecting for size is also quite different. For those anglers pursuing striped bass, the
department recommends the use of a hook in the 8/0-9/0 range. Smaller hooks will be less effective and can
increase the chance of mortality. For best results, be sure the snelled hook’s
line or leader runs straight through its eye. If you have additional questions, please check
out our website. You can also reach out via Fishing and Boating
Services General Information Line or by sending an email to customer service. I’m Keith Lockwood, good luck and happy
fishing!

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6 thoughts on “New Circle Hook Regulations – Maryland Department of Natural Resources”

  1. Don't see DNR enforcing this. Nice educational video but there are sticklers out there who believe that they lose fish using circle hooks.

  2. I would like to know why offset circle hooks are illegal. Is there a difference in how each kind hooks the fish?

  3. This state is really getting out of control with all these bullshit regulations. This is just another excuse to write citations. I'm no longer buying hunting or fishing licenses here, and I can't wait to move. Maryland at so many levels is just turning into the East Coast California, complete with nothing but dumb asses at the helm regulating everything to the point you are always going to be breaking some law. When someone told me about this today, I couldn't believe this little gem was true until I came home to look it up, and sure enough… full bore Maryland stupidity yet again. So when you were taking input from the public… was this topic even brought up and if not, why?

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