Circle Hooks are required for Fishing in the Florida Keys and you should know why. In short, it protects fish and increases the odds of landing a fish. Both great reasons to use them whenever you are fishing in Florida. Look closely and you will notice the fishing hook is designed so that the point is turned perpendicularly back toward the shank. Thus, the resulting circular-oval shape. The actual curved shape of the hook keeps the hook from catching in the gut cavity or throat.
It starts to make sense if you understand the principle behind the hook design. Once the target fish has swallowed the bait, you should remove any slack in the line by reeling the fishing line in steadily, but not with force. The hook shape causes the point to slide automatically toward the point of resistance. Thus, then it will embed in the corner of the fish mouth.
I agree all the way and it goes the same for bottom fishing off the reef patches. The key is what you do when the fish grabs the bait. Do not pull violently like we all learned as a child. Allow plenty of time for the hook to position itself in corner of the fish's mouth. The fish does that when they take off after biting the bait. Now you do a steady reel in and no sharp rod jerking. That is the ticket to more Florida Keys keeper fish!
I would go with the Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hook, and do the Barbless Inline-Point version. They are the best for hook and release with the Inline-Point and no barb makes it the choice for Florida Keys Tournament Regulations.
Captain Hooks is good for live shrimp and pinfish, plus you can pick up some frozen bait and chum. It is near Vaca Cut. Has fishing rods-reels for sale and the extras: egg sinkers, circle hooks, sizes, and good old bobbers.
It is almost exactly like fishing for tarpon during the day, except that it's totally different here in Marathon Florida Keys. Head for the bridge passes to find the rolling tarpon, ask them at Captain Hooks. When Bridge Fishing at night I will hook them through the lip to give them a bit more natural presentation when the tides are running. They certainly won't cook up as delicious as a grouper steak, and they don't have the full pallet of dazzling colors of a hooked sailfish or dolphin.