While bass anglers boast finesse and fine-tuned presentations ad infinitum, legions of panfishers operate on whole other levels of subtle and small. The dainty specialty panfish hooks we wield work with calculated efficiency, precisely extracting their quarry like a master dentist. Size, shape, bend, barb, gap, and sharpness of panfish hooks really do matter, as does quality of the metal. So does bait selection, of course. Put these together and the result is a pile of fish, giving us grins broader than a 20/0 shark hook. Classics such as an Aberdeen and a minnow, or a baitholder and worm, are steadfast panfish producers. Yet, we’d be remiss not to mention a host of new options—hooks for spinner rigging, multi-bait dropper rigs, float rigging, drop-shotting, and ultra-finessing with soft plastics.
The Aberdeen’s light wire easily penetrates bony-jawed bluegills and perch, yet typically doesn’t damage a crappie’s paper-thin mouth. Its slightly beaked point further aids light hook-sets, and keeps fish pinned. Many anglers prefer gold or red finishes for flash and visibility, while muted bronze is another option. Size 8 and 10 are favored.
Perhaps the trendiest Aberdeen-style hook, the easy-setting Tru-Turn, was invented by John W. Campbell in 1960 and is now owned by TTI-Blakemore. With its kinked shank, the hook rotates toward the source of pressure, moving and perhaps embedding the point more easily. This design is also offered by Mr. Crappie, another TTI-Blakemore brand, and there’s a newer rendition from Eagle Claw.
Often presented on a slipsinker or split-shot rig for perch, trout, sunfish, and rock bass, the baitholder’s thicker wire makes it less desirable for rigging with minnows or other delicate baits. Anglers commonly opt for a #8 baitholder, with #6s and #10s also popular.
Choice options from Daiichi, Tiemco/TMC, Kamasan, and Partridge feature premium forged steel, micro barbs, and chemically sharpened points.
Even with deeply hooked fish, the long shank and eye of this hook protrude out of the mouth, allowing you to easily grasp and extract it. When snagged, a slow, steady pull usually straightens the hook and sets it free. You can quickly bend it back to its normal shape.