Experiments were conducted in California to determine the effect of hook type (circle and J-type) on anatomical hook location and subsequent growth and mortality rates of white seabass. Juvenile white seabass were captured with 4/0 offset circle hooks, J-type hooks or a control net. There was a significant difference in hook location between the two types of hooks, with more fish being hooked in the lip with the circle hooks. The majority of mortality occured in fish with hook damage to the esophagus but equal numbers of these fish were caught on the two hook types. Deeply hooked fish died 65% of the time when hooks were removed and 41% of the time when they were left embedded regardless of hook type. White seabass caught on circle hooks grew at a significantly faster rate compared to those caught on J-type hooks or in the control net. The results suggest catch-and-release mortality should be included in management plans for this species.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management
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