Buzz, I am new to fishing live herring this season. Have been about 10 times so far. I started with circle hooks and managed to catch one or two nice fish but after losing about 6 more I went to Red Top and the guys there said circle hooks may have been to blame for the lost fish. The circle hooks are hard to hook in the live fish because of the crimp at the tip of the hook, and seem to often reset themselves somewhere in the gill plate during casting making it impossible to hook a fish. This is in addition to the usual difficulties of hooking a fish with circle hooks.
I switched to live bait hooks and lost no more fish. However, a couple trips later, I managed to viciously gut-hook a 30" fish which I ended up keeping and eating even though I didn't need it because I figured he didn't have a chance. This was after 20 or so that weren't gut-hooked on other trips. My take on it is: when fishing for dinner I'll use live bait hooks when fishing just for fun I'll use circle hooks.