Trolley Rigs and Circle Hooks for Salmon


Active Member
I’m considerring giving salmon try from from Pacifica Pier. But I would like to get a recommendation on a good quality circle hook. I would especially like to hear from the guys that have had success with this type of fishing.

Hook size and manufacturer’s model numbers would be apppreciated as well as any techniques you’ve found to be helpful in setting the hook once a bite has been detected.

From everything I’ve read about circle hooks, tension has to be maintained on the line to draw the hook around the jaw in order to get the hook to set properly. But if that hook is used with a trolley rig, this seems to just increase the difficulty factor. Because even though the fish grabs the bait and takes it well into his mouth, he can still swim freely up and down the trolley without having the line drawn taut and the hook setting.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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I am certainly no expert at salmon fishing Pacifica Pier, as I've never caught one there - tried a few times. Did hook a nice bonito while fishing for salmon during an El Nino year, ran about 5lbs. I don't know the model number, but I would recommend Owner barbless circle hooks - Owner hooks are expensive, but super-sharp, from what I remember. FYI, when I went years ago, many guys just used barbed hooks and would hang circle hooks as if they were using them. They also would overhead cast, which was not supposed to be allowed.

It is much harder to keep a fish on a circle, once you get bit you have to reel in fast so you can apply pressure - having the fish stay on until you reel your weight to your trolley rig is luck.



Active Member
Thanks Salty. I also tried looking up some information on YouTube but that proved to be fruitless. Funny that you should mention overhead casting and non-regulation hooks. Saw a couple of YouTube videos posted about month ago on how to rig for salmon from Pacifica Pier. One video featured scenes of guys at the end of the pier blasting overhead casts out into the blue yonder. And then, as unbelievable as it seems, another "how to" video shows the guy tying up "J" hooks" for his trolley rig instead of the mandated circle hooks!
I have been out to the pier a few times this salmon season and did not see anyone using circle hooks and all were overhead casting.
I still use circle hooks and never overhead or inboard cast whether salmon fishing or crabbing. There were always a few guys on the ends that did not follow the rules but over the years, with lack of enforcement, it is now the whole pier. I have seen more than a few kids and tourist almost get there heads taken off over the years. It would make a great people behaving badly episode.


Active Member
Hate to say it, but hard to prove that they are targeting salmon. Trolley rigs target stripers and shark too
Your right hard to prove. Until salmon season opens never see trolly rigs out on end of pier. Salmon season opens and there is now a 100 bobbers out. I guess they could have all decided to start fishing for stripers. They may say if asked they are not fishing for salmon but the salmon at there feet would say different. Fish and game don't seem to care so it comtinues.