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Best Fishing Hooks: Your Ultimate Fishing Hooks Guide

Fishing hooks are the single most important piece of equipment, you can have as a fisherman.

In 2005, the fish hook was chosen by Forbes as one of the top twenty tools in the history of man.

It is, for this reason, it is important to have the best fishing hooks in your tackle bag, and on your rod and spinning reels.

Top Fishing Hooks:

A good selection of fishing hook types and fishing hook sizes are vital to making your fishing trip more successful.

I remember as a young boy, I went to the neighbors fish pond with my small, very limited supplied fishing tackle bag.

I immediately was right on top of a bream bed and they were biting very good. The only hook sizes I had were large hooks for catfish, and the catfish were not biting! From then on I made sure I had a variety of hook sizes in my tackle bag.

In this article, I am going to cover the best fish hook sizes, brands, and much more, including proper knots and fish specific hooks, to help you decide the best fishing hooks for your tackle box.

Fishing Hook Anatomy

Best Fishing Hooks Anatomy
The anatomy shows the various combinations of parameters a fishing hook can have. Wikipedia

Contemporary hooks are manufactured from either high-carbon steel, steel alloyed with vanadium, or stainless steel, depending on the application. Most quality fish hooks are covered with some form of a corrosion-resistant surface coating.

Corrosion resistance is required not only when hooks are used, especially in saltwater, but while they are stored. Additionally, coatings are applied to color and/or provide aesthetic value to the hook.

At a minimum, hooks designed for freshwater use are coated with a clear lacquer, but hooks are also coated with gold, nickel, Teflon, tin and different colors.

Commonly referred to parts of a fish hook are:

  • Its point, the sharp end that penetrates the fish’s mouth or flesh.
  • The barb, the projection extending backward from the point, that secures the fish from unhooking.
  • The eye, the loop at the end of the hook that is connected to the fishing line or lure.
  • The bend and shank, that portion of the hook that connects the point and the eye.
  • The gap, the distance between the shank and the point. In many cases, hooks are described by using these various parts of the hook, for example, wide gap, long shank, hollow point or out turned eye.

Common Hook Types

Literally, thousands of hook styles are available today, making the selection process confounding for even the experienced angler. The following hook types are the most commonly available today.

Regardless of the hook type, you should match the size of the hook to the bait you are going to use and the size of the species you’re targeting.

Baitholder Hooks

Keeping slippery, wiggling live bait on a hook is a challenge, and manufacturers have developed several designs to make it easier.

Generally, live baitholder hooks have long shafts, and there often are barbs on the shaft to assist in keeping bait securely hooked. Baitholder hooks are also available as snells, pre-tied to the line that is looped at the end and ready to be attached with a knot, swivel or snap.

When fishing for walleye in the spring, using a live-bait presentation, snells with size 8 or 10 are common, while bass fishermen use 1/0 to 2/0 hooks for shiners or minnows.

Eagle Claw Hook Size Chart
There are many sizes and styles to choose from when selecting a hook. Here’s an example from Eagle Claw of their selection. Source

Worm Hooks

This particular hook is for worms of the plastic persuasion, and a mainstay for bass fishermen. Since bass are heavy fighters, worm hooks are built sturdy for deep penetration and durability. This type of hook is used for Texas rigging, a technique in which the point of the hook is embedded in the body of the worm for a weedless presentation.

With the hook’s point buried in the body of the worm, you can work it through heavy vegetation where lunkers like to hide. Worm hooks are usually wide-gapped, where the space from the point of the hook to the shank is wider than standard hooks.

The advantage of using wide-gapped hooks is so worms of different sizes can be used and the hook can be embedded easily in a natural configuration.

Common sizes for worm hooks are 2/0 to 5/0 and should be matched to the size of the plastic bait to be used and the size of bass you expect to catch.

Double Hooks

This hook design is similar to a treble but with only two points. Double hooks are great for use in a trailer-hook setup or for thick-bodied soft plastic baits like floating frogs.

This will usually ensure a top lip hook and makes it more difficult for the fish to spit out the lure without being hooked.

Treble hooks

The three legs of a treble hook are forged together to form the eye. Multiple J hook points provide superior hooking and holding power and are most often used on lures such as crankbaits or bucktail jigs used for muskie or pike.

Crankbaits for bass or walleye usually employ treble hooks sized 1 to 2/0, but sizes vary with the size of the lure. These hooks can get snagged easily, and can tear up a fish’s mouth, making them a bad choice for catch and release. In some areas, treble hooks are illegal to use.

J Hooks

J hooks work better when a fish takes a bait slowly, doesn’t move off after the strike, or continues moving directly forward after a strike.

Striped bass taking bunker chunks, and most panfish eating most baits, provide the examples. Since these fish don’t usually move off immediately after eating, you’ll be pulling the hook in a straight line with the fish’s body.

Because they’re shaped like the letter “J”, J-hooks are the oldest hook shape used by recreational anglers and are still by far the best hook to use if you are trolling live bait behind a moving boat.

The shape of the hook and the fact that the barb doesn’t point inward dramatically, improves the percentage of hits you get that will end up actually setting the hook and catching a fish.

The downside of the J-hook is that when improperly matched to the size of the fish, they tend to lodge themselves deeply or get swallowed, usually resulting in death. J- hooks are defined as either non-offset or offset.

A circle hook will slide right out of its mouth, but a J hook will (hopefully) snag something on its way out.

Old Hook Ads
It’s always fun to go back and look at how hooks were marketed back in the day. Wikipedia

Circle Hooks

Are designed for the hook point to roll into the corner of the fishes mouth after he takes the bait. You do not “set” this type of hook.

With the circle hook, you simply reel in when you feel the fish on the other end — never jerk or set the hook! These hooks are designed to rotate in the fish’s mouth and settle in the corner of the jaw.

This design lowers fish mortality and is a requirement in some states when fishing for certain species, such as reef-dwelling fish.

Circle hooks also are defined as non-offset or offset. Non-offset circle hooks have the point aligned even to the shank, conversely, the offset hooks are aligned at an angle to the shank.

When fishing live or dead bait for large species such as catfish, pike or muskie, a circle hook is a good choice.

Here’s how this configuration works:

  • Fish often swallow the bait and hook, especially if you take your eyes off the rod tip for more than a few seconds.
  • When you get a bite using a circle hook, you gently lift the rod tip and begin reeling in line. This allows the hook to slide backward until it penetrates at the angle where the jaw rises up to form the lip.

Octopus Hooks

Octopus hooks are short-shank hooks that feature a round shank and bend, but it’s not as dramatic as circle hooks.

Octopus hooks are often used for bait fishing when minimal hook weight and size is essential for a natural presentation. These hooks are great for hooking a leech through the sucker.

The Bass Pro Shops XPS Octopus hook is a good example and highly rated. A mosquito hook is a variation on this style.

The Octopus hook is ideal for rigging cut bait for catfish or salmon, minnows for bass, pike, and walleyes and are a good choice for building crawler harnesses.

Octopus hooks are available in an assortment of painted or metallic colors.

Weedless Hooks

Common types of hooks
Common types of hooks worth knowing.

When fishing heavy cover such as tree limbs, logs, stumps, weeds and rocks, a weedless hook can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

You’ll find several different approaches to making a hook weedless, and they all work fairly well, but remember, they’re weed-less, not 100% weed proof. You’ll still have to work your bait or lure carefully.

The weedless hook has a light wire wrapped on the shank formed in a loop that covers the point of the hook.

This allows the hook to be fished in weeds logs, trees, stumps, rocks, and lily pads. Upon a fish striking the bait the wire compresses exposing the hook point.

Aberdeen Hooks

Aberdeen hooks are composed of a lighter wire than Siwash hooks and are often used for bait fishing. The thin metal easily hooks bait with minimal damage so it stays lively.

The light wire also makes them a good option when fishing timber for crappie. When snagged, you can sometimes bend the hook and pull it free with a bit of pressure.

Aberdeen hooks are also a good choice for catch and release, as they do minimal damage to a fish’s mouth.

Siwash Hooks

Siwash fishing hooks have a long shank and a straight eye to ensure they sit properly on lures.

Siwash hooks are often used on single-hook baits, such as spinner baits. They’re also an excellent alternative to factory-provided treble hooks on spoons and other baits.

These hooks are handy to replace treble hooks on hard-baits when fishing a zone that limits hook points on a per lure. The Gamakatsu Siwash Open Eye hook is a quality Siwash hook.

Jig Hooks

Jigs are simply hooks that have been molded with lead or other heavy metals, forming various shapes for special applications.

Jigs are used for both live baits such as minnows or crawlers in walleye presentations, or for soft plastics when fishing for crappie or bass and other species.

When using plastic baits such as twister tails, crawdads or worms, select a jig with a molded collar just behind the jighead. This collar is provided to hold plastic baits more securely, so make sure you force the bait onto the collar.

King Kahle Hooks

King Kahle hooks are large hooks that accommodate live bait or cut pieces of fish (cut bait)

King Kahle hooks have a unique bend, that prevents life bait from coming off the hook while keeping the hook point exposed.

These hooks need to be set like J hooks. King Kahle hooks are the best size for catfish, because of their strength and design.

Shiner Hooks

These hooks are a smaller version of the Super Kahle hooks. They are primarily used to fish for largemouth bass using live minnows and shiners.

The hook size should be based on the size of the shiner your fishing with. On average the 5/0 Kahle hook is the starting point. Kahle hooks have a wider gap between the eye and hook point than circle hooks. When you go to purchase your hooks, some companies will just label them shiner hooks, others just label them Kahle hooks. They are both the same.

Punch Bait Hooks or Stink Bait Hooks

Punch bait hooks tend to use treble hooks, with a unique device that holds soft, gooey baits, such as catfish baits.

Punch bait hooks (stink bait hooks) are used by catfish anglers, due to their easy to rig punch bait design that allows the angler to simply push the hook down into a catfish bait bucket and pull it out by the line and the hooks ability to hold the bait without it slinging off while casting.

Punch bait hooks can be found in a variety of catfish hook sizes, making them very popular to catfish anglers.

Swimbait Hooks

Swimbait hooks are used to keep your swimbaits upright in the water and on the hook. Swimbait hooks often have lead in the shank or a screw near the eye.

This weight helps your bait drop more naturally instead of just dropping nose down.

Swimbait hooks need to be set the same way as J hooks.

Hook Sizes

Choosing the correct hook size is always a compromise.

Smaller hooks are hard for fish to detect, easier to swallow (causing gut hooking) be pulled out of the mouth easier, and break easier.

However, smaller hooks are easier to set, affected less by current, can cast farther, and you can catch small or large fish.

It is advisable to pick a hook that will easily pop into a fish’s mouth, specific to the species you are fishing for.

Best fishing hooks from back in the day
Hooks haven’t changed much from 1800s outside of newer methods of producing materials. The designs are relatively the same.

When it comes to hook size, you have to think backward.

  • The smallest hook sizes have the largest numbers such as 25, 30, 32, etc., and the largest hooks are designated with a 0, or progressive sizes of 0 such as 18/0, 19/0 and 20/0.
  • Larger hook sizes are referred to as 20/naught and so on.
  • Currently, 20/0 hooks are the largest, and size 32 is the smallest.

Hooks are classified by “sizes” — for example, a size 1 hook is larger than a size 7, while a 1/0 is smaller than a 7/0 (pronounced 7-aught). The smallest standard sizes available are 32 and the largest 20/0.

The slash symbol ( / ) defines a hook as grouped within the “aught” measurement system. As defined in aughts, the higher the number, the larger the hook.

A 1/0 hook is bigger than a size 1. They ascend in accordance to their increased size. For this reason, a 6/0 hook is larger than a 2/0, but a plain 6 is smaller than a 2.

Hooks are also made from various wire gauges or thickness. They run from very thin wire to thicker gauge wire, for example, fine wire, heavy wire, extra heavy, 2X heavy, 3X heavy, 4X heavy and higher.

It is important to remember, each manufacturer has their own hook size, they are not the same across all brands.

Fishing hooks are also different sizes between styles, as well as brands. For example; A 4/0 shiner hook is different from a 4/0 circle hook.

How To Set A Hook

A good rule of thumb when learning how to fish is to wait and feel the weight of the fish before setting it.

If the fish is cautious and just tapping your fishing line and bait lightly, and not biting it, it’s best to wait. Let the fish take the bait, and then set the hook after you feel its weight.

For best results, be sure to use the proper fishing hook setup. For example, the use of circle baits when fishing catfish often eliminates the need to set the hook, as it generally gets caught in the fish’s mouth automatically.

To help you better know how to set the hook, look for common signs a fish is biting such as your bobber is pulled completely underwater, you feel a true tug on your fishing line or your fishing line starts moving.

Reel in the slack and keep your line tight with the bait or lure. This helps increase the sensitivity allowing you to feel the fish bite and be in a better position to set the hook.

You want to make sure as you set the hook, you use enough pressure to get the barb through the fish’s mouth.

The motion of setting the hook is relatively simple. But it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have a bite or if you’re just feeling the current or a fish bumping into the bait.

The more you know about the fish species you’re after, and the more time you spend on the water practicing, the better you’ll get.

Fish with hard mouths such as tarpon and bass need a hard hook set, while fish with soft mouths such as carp, crappie, or trout do not need a hard hook set. (If you set the hook too hard, it can tear out of the fish’s mouth)

What to Look for in Quality Hooks

Quality and dull resistant pointed tip: this can eliminate the need for frequent sharpening.

Strong yet flexible: to allow the hook to give enough to prevent breaking or tearing out of the fish’s mouth.

Price: Prices can range from $1.00 per dozen to $1.00 each. When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for.

Hook Care

The biggest enemies to your fishing hooks are rust and wear. This can especially be true for saltwater fishing hooks.

A jewelers eye or a good magnifying glass can allow you to see early signs of wear, corrosion, or small fractures, that will tell you if it is time to retire your fishing hook.

A sharpening stone or a piece of sandpaper can be used to sharpen the point of hooks that are showing signs of dulling.

A fish hook holder can help protect your hooks for a longer lifespan, also the separate compartments make retrieving the correct hook easy.

Tips for Using Hooks

When fishing with live bait, you should consider which hook to use and how the live bait should be hooked to ensure the most natural presentation and to keep the bait alive longer.

How to safely remove the hook from your catch (also called “de-hooking”):

  • Be careful and quick, twist the hook while pushing it toward the bend.
  • Use pliers or a dehooking tool if the hook is deep in the mouth.
  • Remove treble hooks one at a time to release all three.
  • If the fish swallows the hook, cut the line inside of the mouth and release the fish without removing the hook.

Baiting A Hook

Most anglers have their own method for baiting their hooks. A good rule of thumb is to hold the hook with the fingers of your left dominant hand and use your dominant hand to attach the bait to your hook.

The goal with most rigs is to make them look as natural as possible. Depending on the species of fish you are going after, the baits can vary greatly.

As with punch baits, for catfish, that only require you to stick the hook into the bait and pull it out.

Called a bait holder hook, this is a relatively simple bait to use, where Texas and Carolina rigs, for bass, can be more complex.


If you are getting several bites but can not get the hook set, you are probably using too big of a hook.

Smaller fish are biting your hook and are not able to set. Keep progressively shrinking your hook size, bait and lure until you catch what is biting.

History of Fishing Hooks
Don’t worry if you’re having trouble with hooks, everyone has at one point! Wikipedia

If you are hooking a fish and fighting, if the hook releases when you pull hard, that means the hook is pulling out.

This can simply be bad luck, due to where the fish was hooked in the mouth, but if it happening often it could be toy are using too high of a reel drag and fighting the fish too aggressively.

It could also be that you are using too small of a hook, which has too small of a hook gap. Thin hook gauges increase the chance of the hook tearing out.

If fish are spitting out your hook, you are not hook-setting good enough. Try a sharper hook, and improve your hook setting technique.

Best Fishing Hooks Reviews

Best Quality Hooks


Gamakatsu 25 Pack Octopus Hook
  • Closed Eye
  • Forged Steel
  • Barbed

Gamakatsu makes stellar Octopus Hooks, which are specially designed to set in the corner of the fish’s mouth, making them a great choice for both freshwater and saltwater anglers using live bait.

Gamakatsu hooks are made from high carbon steel and are forged through a unique tempering process. This precise combination creates a super-strong hook with quick penetrating points perfect for handling tough gamefish. Black Nickel finish.


  • Very strong.
  • Good for a variety of fish.
  • Easy to handle (not slippery).
  • Extremely sharp and stays sharp.


  • Size 10 does not come in bulk packs.
  • Red coloring can come off quickly.
  • Does not make a size 12.
  • Harder to find in local stores.

See Prices >

Best All-Around Hooks


Mustad UltraPoint Demon Perfect in-Line Circle 3 Extra Strong 2X Extra Short Shank Fishing Hook (Pack of 25)
  • In-line patterns have been awarded an endorsement...
  • Offset patterns feature no-nonsense tempering for...
  • Ultra point technology means sharp, durable hook...

Mustad’s wire technology and non-tempering process mean that the hooks are lighter and up to 20 percent stronger.

UltraPoint technology means sharp durable hook points that resist rolling and stay sharper longer.

Mustad Ultrapoint finish also help the fishing hooks resist corrosion, making them suitable for freshwater and saltwater use.


  • Very sharp.
  • Durable and holds up to heavy loads.
  • Settles in the corner of the mouth very well.
  • A hard hook set is not necessary.


  • Can become dull quickly.
  • Thick gauge wire can kill live bait quickly.
  • Can bend and break on larger saltwater fish.

See Prices >

Best Saltwater Hooks


Owner's Mosquito Hook (Size 2/0, 34 Per Pack)
  • Fine wire forged shank
  • Offset super needle point
  • Ideal for rigging small live baits, for nose...

Owner saltwater hooks, with heavy-duty forged shanks and Cutting Point, are the ideal combination for tying streamer patterns for saltwater game fish.

Features include a straight eye for more efficient in-line hook sets and a black chrome finish.

Owner offers a wide variety of bass hooks that are suitable for all types of bass lures and rigs


  • Effective for a large variety of fish.
  • Does not bend under the fight of heavy saltwater fish.
  • Very sharp.
  • Extremely good quality.


  • Packaging count can be off.
  • Can become dull quickly.
  • Size can be off on some hooks.

See Prices >

Best Budget Hooks

Eagle Claw

Lazer Sharp Circle Hook Assortment, Platinum Black
  • Highest quality angler gear for all types of...
  • Trusted for reliabilty, durability, and strength
  • Quality and field tested to ensure you can...

A proven brand name with a slew of different hook styles available, it’s no surprise that many anglers begin their fishing careers with Eagle Claw hooks and simply never make the decision to switch.

Eagle Claw hooks perform well across the board without breaking the bank, whether you are looking for a simple worm hook for catching bass or a durable treble hook for all different types of baitfish.

Image result for eagle claw hook size chart

Buyers who want only “American made” fishing gear often go for eagle claw. It is important to note, while eagle claw fishing hooks are affordable, they are lower quality.

When going for fun use cheap hooks, when going for big game buy the best you can afford.


  • Very affordable on any budget.
  • Can be purchased in bulk variety packs.
  • A larger selection of hooks than most brands.
  • Can be purchased almost anywhere.


  • Low quality compared to the other brands.
  • Can dull easily.
  • Can rust quickly.

See Prices >

Final Thoughts

Whether you are going out for a Saturday afternoon fishing trip with the family, or a professional angler, you have plenty of options when it comes to fishing hooks.

Knowing which hooks to use for which species of fish, as well as the way to set the different types of hooks is crucial to the success of your fishing trip.

Out of the fishing hooks covered in this article, Gamakatsu hits the number one spot.

For durability as well as reliability, Gamakatsu has the more superior hooks as well as versatility.

Fish hooks are one of the oldest tools ever invented and still widely in use today. Not much different today than when it was first invented, the fishing hook then, as well as now, has been a necessity that quite literally, no angler can live without.


Q: What is the best size hook for bass?

A: Most bass fishermen use sizes 1/0 and 2/0 for minnows and shiners. Walleye fishermen will get bait hooks as snells pre-tied with line and smaller 8 or 10 size hooks.

These come as small as size 14 and as large as 6/0. Aberdeen Hook – Another hook that is used for live bait.

Q: What is the best size hook for trout?

A: When bait fishing for rainbow trout in lakes, for example, single hooks size 4 to 8 will work with weights, small split shots to sliding weights that are up to a ¼ oz.

Q: What is the best size fish hook to use?

A: Eagle Claw offers a wide variety of hooks if you are on a budget. Refer above to the graphic showing the various styles, sizes, and colors Eagle Claw has to offer.

Typically, circle hooks offer an easier hook set, basically the fish hooks itself. This is a good choice for fish that have softer mouths.

For sport fish that have tougher mouths, J hooks would be a better choice.

J Hooks have shown to be the best hooks for bass fishing.

Just remember, you have to set these hooks when the fish strikes.

Q: What is fish hooking?

A: The act of a fish taking a bait or lure, that has a hook inserted into it, and the hook being swallowed or caught in the fish’s mouth.

Q: What size hooks are best for redfish?

A: Larger hook (5/0-8/0) Are the best hooks for redfish, but you can base your hook size on the size bait you will be using.

Trolling gear for redfish should consist of at least medium-light rods and a reel spooled with at least 250 yds of 20-lb test.

Q: What is a circle hook?

A: A circle hook is a type of fish hook which is sharply curved back in a circular shape. It has become widely used among anglers in recent years because the hook generally catches more fish and is rarely swallowed.

Q: What is a treble hook?

A: Treble hooks consist of three hooks with a single eye. These hooks are used by anglers in a variety of applications and on many fishing lures.

Note; Some areas have banned the use of treble hooks. It is advisable to make sure these hooks are legal in your area.

Q: What is the best hook size for striped bass?

A: Sizes 5/0 to 8/0 used with live eels, cut bait, and clams for striped bass.

Q: What is the best size hook for a Texas rig?

A: The Texas rig can be used in a variety of ways. Texas-rigged lures are typical 3/0 straight shank for plastic lizards, Senkos and 6-inch plastic worms;

4/0 straight shank for 7- to 8-inch plastic worms;

5/0 straight shank for 10-inch or longer plastic worms; 4/0 extra wide gap (EWG) for beaver baits and craws;

5/0 EWG for creature baits and flipping tubes.

Q: What is an octopus hook?

A: Octopus hooks are short-shank hooks that feature a round shank and bend, but it’s not as dramatic as circle hooks.

Octopus hooks are often used for bait fishing when minimal hook weight and size is essential for a natural presentation.

Q: What is the best size hook for drop shot?

A: Typically size #1 and #2 work best but sizes range from 2/0 down to #6. Weights range from 1/8 up to 1/2 ounce, but the best selling weights are 3/16 and 1/4 ounce.

Note: Line is also a special consideration. This is a light line technique and 4-10 pound test is usually the range with most anglers using 6-8 pound.

Q: What is the best hook size for largemouth bass?

A: For the largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing, sizes are 6/0, 5/0, 4/0, 3/0, 1/0, 1, 2, and 4 are the best fishing hook sizes.

Definitely, the size depends on the technique one uses. Sometimes, fish hooks that are larger or smaller than this range are utilized.

Q: What are the best hook for salmon?

A: Some use standard hooks, others use the traditional salmon or steelhead hook, which is a thicker, short shank, eye-up hook.

Hooks used are larger than normal, with hook sizes of at least size 2 or larger commonplace.

Q: What is the best size circle hook for redfish?

A: The Mustad demon perfect circle hook (size 3/0) is the best circle hook for redfish. For larger sizes, refer to their circle hook size chart.

Q: What are octopus hooks used for?

A: Octopus hooks are often used for bait fishing when minimal hook weight and size is essential for a natural presentation.

These hooks are great for hooking a leech through the sucker.

Q: What is a Siwash hook?

A: Siwash hooks are excellent replacement hooks for spoons, spinners or plugs.

They have an open eye, a unique tempering process and high-carbon steel construction ensure superior strength and durability.

The sticky sharpness is the result of a patented mechanical needle-honing process developed to ensure you get the sharpest hooks possible.

Q: What is the best hook size for speckled trout?

A: Circle hooks are recommended for trout fishing-both because they are good for the fish (less swallowed hooks, easier to get the hook out) and because the toughest part of the trout’s mouth is near the corner.

Trout have notoriously soft mouths, and many times the hook simply pulls free after gouging a large hole in the fish’s mouth.

Hooks should be scaled to match the bait, allowing it to swim freely without weighing it down to much. Light-wire hooks are a good choice when fishing for trout.

Q: What is the best size hooks for smallmouth bass?

A: For smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing the most appropriate sizes will be sizes 4, 2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0 and 6/0.

Of course, the size varies depending on the technique you’re using and fish hooks that are smaller or larger than this range are sometimes used.

Q: What size treble hooks are best for catfish?

A: Treble hooks in the appropriate size range for channel catfish are size #2, #4, #6 and #8.

The smaller the number, the larger the hook is so a #2 hook is much larger than a #8 hook.

The #6 size is the best all-around size hook when fishing for numbers channel catfish with prepared bait.

Note: Some areas have banned the use of treble hooks. It is advisable to make sure these hooks are legal in your area.

Q: How are hooks made?

A: Contemporary hooks are manufactured from either high-carbon steel, steel alloyed with vanadium, or stainless steel, depending on the application.

Most quality fish hooks are covered with some form of the corrosion-resistant surface coating.

Q: How do you choose fishing hook size?

A: Fishhook size depends greatly on the species of fish you are going after, and the bait you will be using.

It is wise to have a good selection of sizes and styles of fish hooks in your tackle bag.

Q: How do you bait a hook?

A: Worms are the most commonly known fishing baits, so the following is an example:

This bait is widely used in many types of fishing. Use earthworms or manure worms in freshwater and bloodworms or sandworms in saltwater. Mealworms and other live grubs are usually used for trout or bass.

Pierce through several smaller worms or cut up worm halves to hide the hook in a mass of wriggling worms. Some hooks come with smaller hooks attached to the side for this purpose.

For large worms, thread a single worm along the hook until the hook is mostly or completely hidden.

For very large worms, pierce the hook through several points of the body. Leave a length at the end to wriggle and attract fish.

Q: How do you hook bait fish?

A: If you are dragging the bait behind you in a moving boat (trolling), hook the fish under its jaw and exit through the top, or just through its upper jaw for especially large bait fish. Alternatively, you can hook it through both nostrils.

Any of these hook methods will maximize the fish’s ability to swim with a natural motion to attract predator fish.

For fishing while still or moving slowly, hook the bait fish on its back just in front of the dorsal fin. Hook it underneath the spine to avoid paralyzing it.

This forces the fish to swim more frantically and head-downwards, attracting attention. You can fine-tune the depth by placing it further ahead of the dorsal fin; this causes it to swim at a shallower downward angle.
If you are free lining (fishing while stationary, using no floats or weights), you can hook the bait near the tail to make it swim forward. To force it to swim downward instead, hook into the mouth and exit through the gills.

Q: How do you set a hook?

A: in order to “set” a fish hook into the mouth of a fish once it has bitten a fishing lure or bait. That is, in order to secure the fish on the hook, a sharp motion is performed to push the barb of the hook into the fish’s mouth, preferably in the corner.

If this motion were not performed, while it is possible for a fish to set itself, the likelihood of successfully landing the fish is minimal since, without the barb of the hook secured, the fish could shake the hook out of its mouth. The motion is usually a sharp, sweeping motion of the rod, either upwards or to the side, depending on the orientation of the rod at the moment the fish bites.

Some fishermen will perform several hooksets in quick succession to ensure that the fish is securely hooked, especially on fish with tough mouths such as some saltwater species. In contrast, anglers using circle hooks needn’t set the hook, since the hook’s design allows it to set itself when the angler reels in.

Q: How do you make weedless hooks?

A: One of the easiest ways to make a hook weedless, is to attach your lure, let’s say an artificial worm, starting with the head, push the hook through the body, lengthwise, approximately 1 inch.

Let the point exit the lure, push the head all the way up to the eye. Bring the body around to the point and push the point though, just until the point starts to protrude.

Straighten your worm to a natural look without allowing the point to pierce all the way through.

DISCLAIMER: Always check your local fishing regulations for which hooks are allowed in your area.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom

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2 thoughts on “Best Fishing Hooks: Your Ultimate Fishing Hooks Guide”

    • Hey Dustin – I see no problem with this. I’ve used weedless hooks on both live and artificial worms without issue. Good luck out there! Shoot me some pics of your catches!

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