I wish I would have read this thread last week. I surf and pier fished at Wrightsville Beach and on Topsail Island (Surf City pier) with circle hooks for the first time and really had issues with being robbed by fish. I used rather small hooks and felt plenty of bites. Didn't set the hook but didn't catch many fish. Had a few pomps, a few spots, a few whiting and a ribbonfish or two.
I did bury the barb in the peeled shrimp and I bet I missed many a fish because of that.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit on a beach and drink beer all day.