Hey there fellow fishers and welcome to my post where we will check out how to choose the right hook size for fishing this year. Fishing is a popular pastime enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out, choosing the right hook size is crucial to your success on the water.
A hook that is too big or too small can make all the difference between landing a fish and coming home empty-handed. In this post, we will discuss how to choose the right hook size for your fishing needs.
What is a fishing hook?
Ok, so at the risk of being patronizing, just so we are all on the same page, a fishing hook is a small but important tool used in fishing to catch fish. It consists of a pointed, barbed metal hook attached to a line, which is then tied to a fishing rod and reel. The hook is designed to be baited with a lure or live bait, which attracts fish to the hook. When a fish takes the bait, the hook pierces its mouth or other body parts and the angler can then reel the fish in.
And as we will discuss below, fishing hooks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each designed for different types of fish and fishing technique. However in my experience, as long as you have around the right size, and you use a new hook each time you fish, then you will generally be ok.
Regardless, let’s have a deeper look.
What to consider to choose the right hook size for fishing
Ok, so let’s check out the science behind choosing the right hook size for your needs below:
Factors of influence
As you start to think about your next fish hook purchase, consider the following:
- Type of fish: This is again probably stating the bleeding obvious, but different fish species have different mouth sizes and feeding habits, which can affect the hook size needed. For example, smaller hooks are typically used for smaller fish or those with small mouths, whilst larger hooks are used for larger fish or those with larger mouths.
- Bait or lure size: The size of the bait or lure you’re using can also affect the hook size needed. It’s important to choose a hook that is proportional to the size of the bait or lure. A hook that is too small will drop its bait more often than not (or will not hook the fish) and one too large will often mean it is also too large for your targeted fish.
- Fishing conditions: Fishing conditions such as water depth, current, and visibility can also affect the hook size needed. For example, when fishing in clear water, smaller hooks may be more effective since they are less visible to the fish. Additionally, if you are fishing in an area where there are a lot of small or vermin fish (such as the Toad Fish), then a larger hook and bait will reduce the amount of time you need to remove these from your hook.
- Hook strength: The strength of the hook is also an important factor to consider when choosing a hook size. For larger and stronger fish, you’ll need a hook with a higher weight capacity and thicker gauge. That said, in my humble opinion and experience, get the strongest hooks you can regardless of how big they are.
- Fishing technique: The technique you’re using can also affect the hook size needed. For example, if you’re trolling for fast moving surface fish, you will need a hook that will move through the water well – such as a longer, j-hook option (the ones shaped like the letter J). Whereas many prefer to use the circle shaped hooks if they want to catch and release.
It’s important to note that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the right hook size and of course it’s best to experiment with different hook sizes and techniques to see what works best for you. Before diving into hook sizes however, it’s important to understand how they are measured.
Hook size is determined by the distance between the hook’s point and the shank, and is typically indicated by a number. The smaller the number, the larger the hook. Hook size numbers can be confusing as they are not standardized across different manufacturers. Additionally, hook size numbers do not correspond directly to units of measurement like inches or millimeters, so it’s important to be consistent in using hook size numbers when selecting hooks.
That said, in general, you can work to the following:
|Hook Size Number||Diameter (inches)||Diameter (mm)|
Matching hook sizes to fish
Again, to explain the obvious, different types of fish require different hook sizes to be successful. And of course there are way too many fish species in out waterways to outline every need here, however the following can give you a bit of a guide:
- Panfish: Panfish such as Bluegill, Crappie and Sunfish typically require smaller hooks in the range of size 6 to 10. These fish have small mouths, and smaller hooks are less likely to be detected by the fish, resulting in a better chance of a successful hookset.
- Trout: Trout are a popular freshwater game fish and require smaller hooks in the range of size 10 to 16. The hook size will depend on the size of the trout being targeted and the type of bait or lure being used.
- Bass: Bass are a popular game fish that can be caught in both freshwater and saltwater. For Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, hooks in the range of size 1/0 to 4/0 are commonly used. The larger hook size allows for a stronger hookset when using heavier baits and lures.
- Walleye: Walleye are a popular game fish found in many freshwater lakes and rivers. Hooks in the range of size 4 to 6 are commonly used for catching Walleye. Smaller hooks are preferred as they are less likely to be detected by the fish.
- Catfish: Catfish are a bottom-dwelling species that can be found in freshwater and saltwater. Hooks in the range of size 1/0 to 6/0 are commonly used for catching catfish. The larger hook size allows for a stronger hookset when using heavy baits and lures.
As always, it’s a good idea to do some research on the specific species of fish you’re targeting and the fishing conditions in the area to determine the best hook size to use.
Matching hook size to bait
Choosing a hook that is too small or too large for your bait can result in missed or lost fish. Here are some guidelines to follow when matching hook size to bait/lure:
- Use a smaller hook for smaller baits: If you’re using small baits such as worms, maggots or small grubs, it’s best to use a smaller hook in the range of size 10 to 16.
- Use a larger hook for larger baits: If you’re using larger baits such as minnows or crayfish, it’s best to use a larger hook in the range of size 2 to 4/0.
- Match the hook to the type of bait: When it comes to bait, presentation is often key meaning different types of bait may require different hook styles to be most effective. For example, if you’re using live bait such as worms or minnows, a hook with a long shank and a small gap between the point and shank may work best. If you’re using artificial lures such as crankbaits or jigs, a hook with a wide gap and a shorter shank may be more effective.
- Consider the weight of the bait: The weight of the bait or lure can also affect the hook size needed. If you’re using a heavier bait or lure, you’ll need a hook with a larger weight capacity to handle the added weight.
And as it is with fish species above, the best way to determine the right hook size for your bait or lure is to experiment with different sizes and see what works best. Again. keep in mind that the right hook size may vary depending on the specific fishing conditions and the species of fish you’re targeting.
Matching the right hook size to your bait or lure can greatly increase your chances of catching fish. By following these guidelines and experimenting with different hook sizes, you can find the perfect match for your bait or lure and increase your chances of success on the water.
There you have it, my thoughts on how to choose the right hook size for fishing this year. Let me know what you think below and of course what you do to choose the right hook for your needs.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.