Striped Bass Circle Hook Regulations for Massachusetts Anglers

Massachusetts fishermen are required to use circle hooks when fishing with whole or cut natural baits.

Attention striped bass fishermen in Massachusetts: If you’re fishing with bait, you now have to so with in-line circle hooks. Beginning with the 2020 season, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries now requires anglers to use in-line circle hooks when targeting striped bass with whole or cut natural baits.

Here is the official regulation from Mass DMF:

“Recreational anglers are required to use an in-line circle hook when fishing for striped bass with whole or cut natural baits. A circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point of the hook is not offset from the plane of the shank and bend and is turned perpendicularly back towards the shank to form a circular or oval shape.

This requirement does not apply in the following circumstances: 1) when a recreational angler is fishing aboard a for-hire vessel on a for-hire trip; and 2) when a recreational angler is fishing with natural bait attached to an artificial lure that is trolled, jigged, or casted and retrieved (e.g., ‘tube and worm’).”

This video was produced in partnership by On The Water and Keep America Fishing.

4 on “Striped Bass Circle Hook Regulations for Massachusetts Anglers

  1. Ronson P III

    Not ‘for hire’ vessels? Rec anglers only? $$$ obviously more important than the health of the fishery. Another corrupt system.

  2. APEX

    It is about time. Hook regulations should be extended to ban multiple hooks and treble hooks from plugs and lures.

    I recently watched a guy land two stripers and saw him struggle to remove his lure with a pair of fishing pliers. Both treble hooks appeared to be engaged so removal took some time and effort. He made no attempt to revive either one and both got tossed back bleeding. I don’t expect them to return as slot fish next year.

  3. Trevor

    Caught 10 fish on the inline circle hooks. 6 were buried and they are impossible to get out. I never seemed to have a hard time getting my octopus hook back.

    1. Logic 1.0

      Hi Trevor,
      I’ve been fishing circle hooks for years and when the hooks work as advertised they are great. But from my own records of fishing for stripers will live & cut bait I have found circle hooks to be 50/50, either hooked in the corner and easy to extract or hooked deep across the stripers gullet effectively pinning it shut.

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