Fishing Hooks 101: The Top 11 Hooks Every Fisher Needs
The humble fishing hook is one of the smallest pieces of an angler’s setup, but it is one of the most important; without one, you are simply not going to catch many fish! There are countless fishing hooks designed to catch countless types of fish. This is why it is essential to know your hooks so you can choose the best one to improve your chances of success when out on the water. Today, we will break down the different parts of a hook, uses for each of them, and how they impact your chances of reeling in the big one.
We also have a list of the top 11 fish hooks every angler should own!
Parts of a Fishing Hook
I, Mike Cline, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons.
To understand the various types of hooks and their purposes, we have to discuss the basic parts that make up a hook. It is pretty simple! Each hook has a throat, point, barb, bend, shank, eye, and gap.
- Throat: The area of the hook that runs down from the point. The throat part of the hook goes down the fish’s throat!
- Point: The sharp spot at the end used to puncture the fish’s mouth
- Barb: A backward-facing spike placed to stop the hook from coming loose once you’ve hooked your catch
- Bend: The section of the hook where it curves back on itself
- Shank: The long section of hook (think of it like the hook’s back) that runs up to attach to your line.
- Eye: The small hole that enables the hook to attach to a lure or a line
- Gap: The distance between the end of the throat (the tip of the hook) and the shank (the hook’s back).
- Every hook works to fulfill a particular purpose and help catch a specific fish. For example, narrow, long shanks work well with thin baits, such as worms, while other hooks have a wide gap to enable you to fit larger baits onto the hook.
Now that you know the different names for the parts of your hook, let’s talk about what purpose it serves!
Different Types of Hook Points
The fish hook is like a mullet. Yes, you read that correctly! Business up front and party in the back! The hook’s point takes care of business upfront so you can party over your latest and greatest catch. The right point is the difference between landing the big one and coming home empty-handed. While there are many types of hook points, we will discuss the five most common ones you might encounter.
Rolled in Point: These hooks are ideal for fish that jump and thrash around when they’re brought up on shore or into the boat. The rolled in point provides a deeper pierce with minimal pressure.
Needle Point: The needlepoint reduces the harm to the fish and is more challenging for the fish to throw. They taper slightly towards the shank, which makes them pierce easily and cause minimal damage and harm to the fish once through. This taper makes it an excellent option for catch and release.
Hollow Point: This type of point is the perfect choice for soft-mouthed fish as these hooks have a bent-in spike that curves down to the barb, helping the fish stay in place once hooked. Because of this feature, they might not be the ideal choice for tougher-mouthed species of fish.
Knife Edge Point: These bad boys are ideal for maximum penetration, are sharp on both sides, and pointed away from the shank. Keep in mind that they can cause substantial damage to the fish because of their intensity.
Spear Point: Looking for a one-size-fits-all point? The spear point might be your bet! The spear point is the perfect balance between penetration and limited damage to the fish. They are also easy to sharpen.
Types of Hook Eye
While it is initially tempting to assume that fishing hook eyes are all created equal, this is not true. There are very specific eyes for specific purposes, and certain eyes require certain knots and tying styles. Some eyes are also strengthened to deal with the pressure of big game battles.
Simple Ringed Eye: This eye is the most common and versatile. The fishing line is easy to thread through it, and it works with a variety of knots.
Brazed Eye: This eye is ideal for bigger fish! Melted metal closes the loop to keep the hook from bending or breaking when fighting your monster!
Needle Eye Hooks: This eye is perfect for fishing with bait. It is easy to thread the entire hook through the baitfish.
Finally, there are a wide variety of eyes that you will only use with specific fishing techniques to catch particular fish. For example, dry fly anglers often opt for a tapered eye (a tapered eye is more slender towards the end of the loop). The more slender eye keeps the weight down, which helps the fly float properly. However, some fly anglers choose a looped eye, giving wet flies a little more weight.
To Barb or Not to Barb? That Is The Question
Finally, we want to talk a moment to discuss barbs. They serve the essential purpose of keeping your bait and your fish on the hook. However, that also means the barb can cause more damage to the fish than a barbless hook. A barbless hook is the better option if you plan to catch and release. The barbed hooks can make bigger holes and sometimes get lodged deep inside the fish, making it more difficult to remove the hook and lessening the fish’s chances for survival. If you plan on taking the fish home to eat, then the barbed hook is the choice for you.
One Size Fits All?
Sizes and Aughts
Choosing the right hook size can be a big challenge, as larger and smaller hooks both have their pros and cons. For example, smaller hooks are easier to set, affected less by current, cast farther, and enable you to catch small or large fish. However, smaller hooks are harder for fish to detect, easier to pull out of the mouth, easier to swallow and break.
The smallest hook size starts with the largest number and works its way down. For example, a 32 is tiny in comparison to the size 0. Once you work past zero, the larger hook sizes become naughts (pronounced aught). The size then has a slash and a zero, for example, 20/0. So, for example, a 2/0 hook is larger than a size 2, while a 4.0 hook is bigger than a 2/0.
In addition to the different sizes, hooks feature various wire gauges (thickness). Hooks can have very fine wire, heavy wire, and extra heavy wire and work up to 4X heavy and higher.
While each manufacturer uses the same numbering system, hook sizes differ across various brands. They also vary in size between styles. For example, a 4/0 shiner hook is entirely different from a 4/0 circle hook.
Top 11 Types of Fish Hooks and Their Uses
Choosing a fish hook can be overwhelming as there can be hundreds of varieties. We obviously can’t discuss each of these and the unique purposes they serve, so we are going to mention the top 11 that every angler should have handy.
1. Bait Holder Hooks
The name says it all. Bait holders make sure your bait stays in place. They are very effective at keeping the bait on the hook but at the cost of damaging the fish. In addition, the barbs tend to tear up your catch, making it not the ideal option if you are catching and releasing.
2. Worm Hooks
If you love fishing with plastic (or real) worms, this hook is for you! Worm hooks feature a bend near the eye to hold the “head” of the worm in place, while the point pierces the body, which disguises it from unsuspecting fish. The rest of the lure is free to move about naturally.
3. Jig Hooks
Jig hooks are easily adaptable for catch and release by simply filing off the barb on the point. They are simple and effective. The angle of the eye is set to increase the lure’s movement in the water.
4. Circle Hooks
Fish are friends! Circle hooks are the kindest hook you can use when hooking your catch as they target the corner of the fish’s mouth. The point bends towards the shank and stops the hook from sinking down a fish’s throat or gut. There is a small learning curve when using a circle hook, as you need to know the ideal time to place pressure, or you’ll pull the hook right out of your prize’s mouth!
5. Weedless Hooks
Are you hoping to snag a bass? Well, the weedless hook might be your new best friend. They are ideal for fishing lakes and ponds where your hook risks getting caught in heavy plant life. The hook features a thin guard that clips to the point, which stops you from pulling out a catch of weeds every time you reel in. It is also fixed lightly enough to release as soon as your fish takes the bait.
6. Treble Hooks
Are you planning to scale a mini-castle on your way to the water? Well, the treble hook looks like it can accomplish just that! There are three points on the treble hook and thus three chances of snagging your prize. Regardless of where your hook is in the water, chances are one of the points is facing the right angle. So what are the challenges with these hooks? They do not offer a deep pierce on your catch, and it’s easy to catch yourself in the process of removing them accidentally.
7. Zeoneloc Hooks
If you struggle with hooking your fish and keeping your fish hooked, you might fall in love with the Zeoneloc hook. This hook locks your catch and keeps it in the holding zone while you reel it in! In addition, it features an offset main bend to keep your fish in the “sweet spot” and increase fish retention.
8. Siwash Hooks
These hooks can be an excellent alternative to treble hooks; they feature an open eye for easy attachment and long shanks and points. The long shanks and points help them naturally hang off your lure and don’t easily come out. In addition, they are easier to remove and don’t cause as much damage to your catch.
9. Octopus Hooks
If you are hoping to lure in your catch sneakily, then the octopus hook is for you! This hook presents small baits in a very natural way. They have a short, round shank making them small in size and weight while still leaving enough gape to hook larger fish. And while the point bends in slightly, it does not bend quite as much as it does on the circle hooks.
10. Aberdeen Hooks
These hooks hail from the remote Salmon streams of northeast Scotland and have been a popular choice for hundreds of years. They are very lightweight and serve to fix live bait securely without injuring them. This keeps your bait fresh and tempting for longer!
11. Kahle Hooks
Kahle hooks are the hook you go with if you want to catch something big… really big. They feature a wide gape and heavy build so that you can bait with large baits and endure long battles. They are similar to a circle hook but do not bend towards the shank. This feature makes it a little easier to set the bait.
An Extra Point (Pun Intended)
A file can be a convenient tool when preparing your hooks, regardless of the hook style you choose. Even if you pull your new, shiny hook out of the bag, take a few minutes to sharpen it with a file. When filing the point, always go forward in the same direction, never back, and never scrub. Most new hooks will have a coating on them, and once you’ve taken a few passes with your file, the coating will come off.
In addition to sharpening the hook, the file helps create an edge and remove any tiny bends on the point. Two to three passes with the file are plenty to get it sticky sharp!
We hope you now have a solid foundation for a lifetime of fishing hook choices and catches! However, we understand it can be a little overwhelming when chasing your prize to know the exact hook to use at the precise time to seize your moment. A fishing charter can significantly help increase your odds of success and your knowledge out on the water. Are you interested in taking a look at the types of charters we offer? Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your fishing game and your bragging rights over that coveted catch!