The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament has announced it will become the first fishing tournament in the country to advocate an all-circle-hook format for its 20th anniversary event in 2002.

Studies conducted by Dr. Eric Prince of the National Marine Fisheries Service on the performance of circle and comparable sized "J" hooks on Atlantic and Pacific sailfish show that using circle hooks significantly minimizes deep-hooking, foul-hooking, bleeding, physical trauma and damage to fish. While the tournament has employed an all-release format for 18 years, using circle hooks will significantly increase a released fish's survival chance, tournament officials said.

Anglers may be timid about trying new tackle or having to change their
fishing techniques. However, part of Prince's study includes comparisons of terminal tackle performance fishing with "J" hooks and circle hooks. His statistics show that the catch rate using circle hooks is comparable
or even slightly better than with Js, and hook-up rates using circle hooks are also better.

The tournament's board of directors contends that recreational anglers care enough to make an extra effort to dramatically enhance the fishery. And as an added incentive, the tournament is increasing its cash awards to winners.

To educate tournament anglers and the public about the benefits of using circle hooks, the tournament will host educational seminars during the next 10 months.

The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament's 20th Anniversary dates are April 4-7, 2002. For more information on the tournament or the circle hook educational seminars, contact the tournament office at (305) 598-2525 or visit the web site at