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.
- vmchooks.com, eagleclaw.com, gamakatsu.com, Tru-Turn Hooks, mrcrappie.com - Likely the most universal panfish hook, particularly among crappie enthusiasts, the Aberdeen’s straight shank and ultra-fine-wire construction make it a perfect choice for fishing small minnows. Hooked beneath the delicate skin along the dorsal fin, minnows wriggle for extended periods. The Aberdeen also couples well with a small leech fished below a float.
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.