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When fishing for arapaima, conventional hooks like this should be replaced by circle hooks.
Animal Planet/DCL

Hooking Arapaima

Sometimes, when an arapaima takes the bait, it will take line so slowly that the line is hardly moving. But on this occasion I felt a hard “twitch” on the line as the fish opened its great mouth and sucked my deadbait in, then it moved off steadily.

Using a conventional hook, it is very common to miss even a confident take, but leave the run longer and there’s a risk of hooking it deep where it’s not easy to remove. It’s hard to get the timing right. I’ve overcome this by using circle hooks, which look like they shouldn’t work at all. You don’t strike with a circle hook. Just let the line tighten, and it will pull into the corner (usually) or edge of the mouth. It can be a major factor in returning the fish unharmed.

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