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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I asked this a few years back but can't find the post nor do I recall the response(s).

How do you guys that have success fishing bunker heads hook them? I've read alot of various methods from cutting the jaw off to avoid spinning, to hooking thru the lip/head, and some even hook them behind the head.

I am using a FF rig with 8/0 Gami circle hook. What is the preferred way?

Thanks for any help.
 

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I go through the first section of meat behind the head. The head is so hard and bony that I've always avoided trying to force a hook through it. I do not baitfish a ton, but my hookup ratio on heads has been very very good with an 8/0 gami circle. I do not cut the gills, and I let the fish run longer than what I have seen others do. Needless to say, I am a big fan of circle hooks.
 

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The head is so hard and bony that I've always avoided trying to force a hook through it.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I do the opposite. Take the point of the hook -- and with bunker heads, you should be using only big inline circle hooks (10/0 is what I usually use) -- run it into the mouth, and then out through the top of the head, just behind the eyes. If you're using good hooks, then the point of the hook will penetrate without too much trouble, and then the hard, bony head of the bunker will actually provide a benefit: it will keep the noggin on your hook.
 

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10/0 octo circle. threw the bottom jaw and out just behind the nostrils. the boys down south cut the bottom jaw off altogether as it really is just cartilage and has minimal to no benefit. the reduced noggin casts much better as there is less drag going through the air.
 

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I generally don't fish heads because I have not had confidence in them. They cast like crap too. But this spring I have had to use them out of necessity for the following reasons...

I did not bring enough bunker and I am stretching my supply out.
I am waiting for the tide to turn and am saving the gut filled bloody chunks for the better part of the tide.
There are doggies and skates around. Putting on a head will keep the junkfish off my hook.

Now all that being said I have 3 fish on heads this season. Missed a few pickups too.

I hook my heads through the bottom of the chin and out the bony part between the nostrils with a 10/0 gami octopus hook. I fish them on a short leader fish finder rig. Now I do not use a whole head. I cut the head in the middle of the gills so that it casts better. I guess a full head you would cut at the black spot and leave the gills on the head. But I like getting one more piece of bait out of my bunker.

I also do not spike my rod with a circle. I hold it and wait for the bite then I set the hook. Sometimes it is not even a bite. I just get a lighting fast drop of slack line then I have to reel in quick, feel the weight of the fish then slam the hook in. If the fish feels me first they usually drop the bait and I miss the fish. This is one reason I hate circles. If a fish runs toward the beach with your bait there is a good chance the circle will not set and you will miss an opportunity.

There probably is a better hook than the 10/0 gami octo for chunks and heads. Whenever I unhook a striper I always say how small that hook is in comparison to their mouth. I might be trying those gami big river hooks in the future. I have thought about using tuna hooks but that could get expensive.
 

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I go through the first section of meat behind the head. The head is so hard and bony that I've always avoided trying to force a hook through it. I do not baitfish a ton, but my hookup ratio on heads has been very very good with an 8/0 gami circle. I do not cut the gills, and I let the fish run longer than what I have seen others do. Needless to say, I am a big fan of circle hooks.
I currently prefer hooking just behind the head as well. I've been using an 8/0 siwash. It casts well but will rip through on the hook up. Last time I hooked a head through the lips I missed the fish.
 

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10/0 or 12/0 gami big river hooks. up thru the chin out the top of the head couples inches in front of the eyes. on a 60-80lb mono FF rig. usually a short one. 6-10". better have the proper rod/reel/line to handle the strike. you will test your knots on that one. lol. Nick
 

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IMO the most important no matter where you hook it. You must cut the nose and one gill plate off to stop it from spinning. I always do well with heads
 

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I actually prefer the heads to the body. I've had no problems with heads coming off when hooked in the meat from the surf or boat. When the fish are thick heads or body will work about the same. Some days in the Del bay it is all heads, and some days all chunks. I guess it's like us choosing between steak or a hamburger. When the blues are heavy it is all heads for me. 1 - The blues normally leave the heads of bunker and the bass are looking for heads lying on the bottom. 2. The blues will not eat the heads on my hook nearly as much as they would a chunk. A lot of people keep telling me to go to a bigger circle hook, but I find if it's not broke, don't fix it. The 8/0 has been great to me.
 
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