A Guide to Choose the Right Hook Size for Fishing


The most fundamental attribute of fishing is to select the right hook size for a day of fishing. Sometimes even the most veteran fishermen, the best guides, and tourist competitors get confused.

Hooks are one of the most common pieces of tackle in fishing, and you can find a baffling range of hooks at your nearest tackle store. They can be found in a mind-blowing range of shapes, colors, sizes, materials, and configurations.

Hooks are most commonly categorized and sizes. For instance, it is essential to understand that, a size 1 hook tends to be larger than size 7. In contrast, a 1/0 hook is actually smaller than 7/0. This “0” stands for aught, so wherever you see a 1/0 written on a hook, it is pronounced as (1-aught).

The standard smallest size of hook that is available is a size 32, whereas the largest tend to be 20/0. The slash symbol before the aught basically categorizes a hook when it is classified under the “aught” size system.

Why choosing the right fishing hook size is critical?

If the hook is inappropriately sized, then you are bound to face some complications. A small sized will not be able to get inside a large hook’s mouth.

Even if you feel like you get a strike from a fish, you will probably only get a hook without its bait. Contrariwise, if the hook is small and you are seeking larger fish, then there is a chance that the fish may gulp down the hook along with the bait.

This leads to deep hooking a fish, which is even more dangerous and life-threatening for the fish. This ultimately makes fishing practice and the catching and releasing part more difficult.

Knowing which hook size to select from your selection of hooks can be crucial to fishing.

Different Sizes of Fishing Hooks

Hook Size Chart
Hook Size Chart

A hook can be measured based on its spectrum of the aught and sizes. The aught sizes tend to be larger, whereas sizes are smaller.

Whatever kind of fishing hook you plan to use, it is absolutely essential to consider the hook’s size before attaching it to your fishing line.

Fishing hooks typically come in a range of colors, shapes, types, and sizes.

Deciding the size of a fishing hook is crucial to fishing. Hooks range from size 32 to size 1 or size 1/0 to size 20/0.

The hooks that range from size 1 to size 32 specify that the smaller the number, the larger the hook. Contrariwise, the hooks that range from size 1/0 to size 20/0 define that the smaller the number, the smaller the hook.

The aught system is different from the conventional number system, and they climb upwards accordingly with increasing sizes.

To make it simpler, here is an example. A 6/0 sized hook will be larger than a 2/0 sized hook, but a single-sized 6 hook will be smaller than a size 2 hook.

These hooks also vary in terms of thickness and wire gauges. They can range from ultra-thin wires to very thick gauge wires.

For instance, you are likely to come across hooks like fine wire, extra heavy, heavy wire 2x, 3x, and 4x heavy, and the like.

The Anatomy of a Fishing Hook

There are many kinds of saltwater hooks and freshwater hooks like the circle, bait, treble, double, and an arrangement of specialty hooks.

However, all these hooks share the same anatomy, whatsoever. Here is the basic anatomy of a fishing hook.

  • The point of any hook is the pointed end that pierces the fishes’ mouth.
  • The eye is that part where the hook is connected with the lure or the line.
  • The barb is the jutting point that extends backward and prevents the fishes from unhooking.
  • The bend is the curvy part of the hook.
  • The shank is the connecting part amid the eye and the bend.
  • The gap is the space that lies between the hook’s point and its shank.

Most Popular Types of Hooks

There are different shapes of hooks, and they are named as J Hooks, Treble Hooks, Circle Hooks, Wire Hooks, Kahle Hook, Double Hooks, and Thick Gauge Hooks.

These hooks are comprised of different metals like vanadium, carbon steel, and stainless steel. However, stainless steel is becoming less popular since it poses hazardous effects in the atmosphere.

1. J-Hooks

As the name suggests, the J-hooks are shaped in the same way as the alphabet “J.” A J-hook comprises a straight shank, so when the fish’s bite on it, it will somehow hook itself in its mouth. The J-hooks are different from circle hooks in a lot of ways.

  • It is not circle-shaped since its point and shank are not bent towards the shaft’s direction; instead, the shanks in J-Hooks are straight.
  • The J-hooks are one of the most ancient shapes that have been used by recreational fishermen for a long time. To this date, the J-Hooks continue to be the most widely recommended hooks for people who want to troll live baits from a pacing boat.
  • J-hooks’ barb and shape do not point dramatically towards the inside drastically increases the chances of hits you can get. This automatically ups your chances of setting the hook properly and striking a fish.
  • J-hooks are the best choice of hooks if you want to troll dead or live baits.

J-hooks’ only drawback is that when you do not match the right hook size with the fish size, they can get lodged or swallowed in by the fish, causing them to die painfully. J-hooks are classified as offset or non-offset. Get your j-hooks here on Amazon

2. Circle Hook

Circle and J Hooks
Circle and J Hooks

A circle hook is solely designed for the point to slide into the corners of the fish’s mouth after it catches the bait. A circle hook cannot precisely be set.

With this kind of hook, you have to reel in the line as soon as you sense a fish at the other side, so do not ever set or jerk the circle hook.

A circle hook is fashioned in a way so that it rotates in the mouth and gradually sinks in the corner of the fish’s jaw. The circle hook is actually mandatory for certain types of fish in some states, like the reef-dwelling fish.

A circle hook can also be classified as offset or non-offset. Non-offset circle hooks come with points aligned to the shank, whereas the offset hooks are aligned with the shank but at an angle. Check the circle hook prices on Amazon

3. Kahle Hooks

Kahle Hooks
Kahle Hooks

Kahle Hooks are also known as K Hooks or Shiner Hooks, and they are actually a blend of circle hooks and J-hooks.

The hook’s point is directed towards the eye rather than the hook’s shank. The gap between the shaft and the point is more in a Kahle hook than a circle hook.

Kahle hooks are renowned all over the world for bass fishing using live golden shiners. It is also believed that Kahle hooks have more chances of gut-hooking. Hence the mortality rate is higher for fish. Check out the prices on Amazon

4. Wire Hooks

Wire hooks are simply comprised of light wire and generally used over tiny baits to quickly enter the lure and the mouth of the fish. The Wire hooks also enable the bait to be more naturally presented.

Thick gauge hooks like 2x, 3x, and even heavier are preferred for larger fish species. They usually take more drag around the bridge or dock and require the utmost force to drag the fish towards you.

5. Treble Hooks

Treble Hooks
Treble Hooks

The Treble hooks are the most different types of hooks you will land on. Instead of one hook, the Treble hook comprises three hooks jutting out from one shank.

The most popular application of Treble hooks is to combine it with different kinds of artificial lures. In several states, it is prohibited to use Treble hooks with live baits attached to them. Check the prices here on Amazon.

6. Weedless Hooks

Weedless Hooks
Weedless Hooks

The majority of weed-less hooks have a sprout style straight shank, typically with a protective wire hook point.

They are usually comprised of stout wire and fashioned mainly for use on a pike, bass, muskies, and several fish species that live in and around the weeds.

The weed-less hook can be assembled with dead or live baits as well as soft plastic lures.

Check out Amazon Prices

7. Double Hooks

Double Hooks
Double Hooks

Double hooks are used on spinnerbaits, spoons, or live baits, and are mostly fashioned in ways where they can be assembled with soft plastic frog lures.

Double hooks are usually found in many sizes and designs. They are typically made with stout wires targeting fish species like muskies, bass, and pike that live in and around weeds.

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Some Basic Tips for Using Hooks

While using live baits for fishing, it is essential to see which hook should be used and how live baits can be hooked in a way that looks natural and allows the bait to live longer.

Sometimes a hook remover should also be included in your fishing gear tackle box when it gets challenging to remove the hook.

To remove the hook securely from the fish (a process called de-hooking), here are some tips you should follow.

  1. Try to be swift and careful as you twist the hook and push it in the direction of the bend.
  2. Pliers are an excellent tool for de-hooking if the hook gets stuck deep in the mouth.
  3. To release all the three hooks of a treble hook, remove them one at a time.
  4. If the catch gulps down the hook, slice the inside of the mouth and let the fish go without removing the hook.

Dean Jensen

I started fly fishing in 1972 and I have learned quite a bit about this wonderful sport called fly fishing and I want to share some of the things that I have learned.

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