All About Hooks

All About Hooks

PARTS OF A HOOK

 (A) The Point -- Must be sharp. The longer the point, the longer it takes to penetrate. Reduce barbs with a file to ensure quick penetration.

(B) The Bend and Shank -- Shank wire gauge and weight and hook size must match line weight. A thick-shanked #1 won't sink past the barb if the hookset is fueled by a light-action rod and 4-pound line. Some steel shanks have less torque or bend during a hookset. Others bend easily. Which you choose depends on the situation.

(C) The Eye -- Eyes are straight, turned down, or turned up. The design determines the knot you use and the rigging application. Turned-up eyes are used for livebait snells, straight eyes for pitching bait coupled with a lead shot. Turned-down eyes are used with crawler rigs.


(D) Hook Gap -- Critical. Small gaps don't grab and hold as quickly or efficiently as large gaps. Use the largest gap you can get away with. Bending the base of the shank of a hook out 5 to 10 degrees opens the gap enough on some hooks to improve hookups.


(E) The Throat -- It must be just deep enough to allow flesh to pass the barb. Short's better than long for most walleye applications.


HOOK SIZE

Most fishermen prefer a #8 for leeches and small crawlers, a #6 for crawlers, and a #6 or #4 for minnows. The trend among good fishermen, though, is to use a size or two larger hook when they can get away with it. Increased hook size increases the size of the hook gap, which tends to improve hooking percentage.


STRAIGHT OR OFFSET?

Hooks can be straight or offset. "Kirbed" hooks are offset left; "reversed" hooks are offset right. While a theoretical case can be made for offsetting left instead of right, or vice versa, it has little to do with basic fishing.

Fishermen who prefer offset hooks believe they increase the potential to catch hold. Offset hooks require slightly more force to sink in, however. Other fishermen prefer straight hooks. To ensure high-percentage hooking, some fishermen increase gap size by fishing a larger hook -- a #6 instead of a #8, and so on.


FORCE IN HOOK SETTING

Up-eye hooks must be snelled to create direct pull, where line and hook point move in the same direction. On straight-eye hooks, tie directly with your favorite knot.

HOOK GUIDE

Small (2- to 4-inch minnows) or leeches -- #4 to 1/0 light-wire wide gap hooks (Eagle Claw 42, Daiichi D18, Gamakatsu 514 & 504)

Nightcrawlers -- #8 to #2 baitholder hooks with barbs on the shank (Eagle Claw 181, Daiichi D24)

Medium (3- to 5-inch) minnows, crayfish, waterdogs and leopard frogs -- #2 to 2/0 wide-gap hooks (Eagle Claw 42, Daiichi D18, Gamakatsu 514 & 504)

Large (6- to 10-inch) minnows (particularly shiners) and other large livebaits -- 1/0 to 10/0 wide-gap or kahle-style hooks (Eagle Claw 42 or 141, Gamakatsu 514)

Various livebaits in heavy cover situations -- #1 to 4/0 hooks with wire weedguards (Eagle Claw 249WA or 151WA, Mustad 3369)

To avoid gut-hooking fish -- 1/0 to 6/0 circle hooks (Eagle Claw L702, Gamakatsu Circle Octopus, Daiichi Bleeding Bait Circle).

HOOKS & HEADS FOR SOFT PLASTIC BAITS

New hooks are designed for particular plastic baits or are weighted to give a different look to standard presentations. Jigheads also alter the action of worms, craws, tubes, grubs, and lizards. Lindy-Little Joe's Floatin' Fuzz-E-Grub is a floating, swimming jighead that raises Carolina-rigged baits higher off the bottom.

(1) Mustad Needle Power Lock Series; (2) 1/0 Tournament Lures Point Plus Shadoss; (3) 1/8 ounce hBlue Fox Hidden Head; (4) 3/0 Oldham's Mega-Bite; (5) 1/0 HP Hook; (6) 3/0 Owner Rig'N Hook; (7) 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG; (8) Bait Rigs Odd'ball Jig; (9) Legacy-Loc Jig; (10) Jaker; (11) Katsuichi Violence Jighead; (12) Lindy-Little Joe Floatin' Fuzz-E-Grub.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley. Bass

Sensational New Softbaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - April 22, 2019

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley.

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make an irresistible and addictive crust for catfish fillets Fish Recipes

Pecan-Crusted Catfish Fillets Recipe

Emilie Bailey

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make...

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Changes for Smallmouths

Tactical Changes for Smallmouths

Doug Stange deploys an one unique in-line spinnerbiat option for smallmouths.

Largemouth Bass: Tricks of Our Trade

Largemouth Bass: Tricks of Our Trade

The In-Fisherman staff reveals insider swimming jig tips and tricks for big bass.

Secrets to Busting Big Fish

Secrets to Busting Big Fish

The In-Fisherman staff tackles super-tough customers, trolling up 50-inch muskies!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers nationwide. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers...

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural baits and commercial options. Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

See More Stories

More Accessories

The Costa Del Mar Switchfoot is a limited edition frame from the OCEARCH Collection. Accessories

Costa Del Mar Switchfoot

Chris Schneider - October 02, 2019

The Costa Del Mar Switchfoot is a limited edition frame from the OCEARCH Collection.

Made from 100% recycled fishing nets, the Costa Baffin's are a must-have for any serious angler. Accessories

Costa Baffin Sunglasses Review

Chris Schneider - April 26, 2019

Made from 100% recycled fishing nets, the Costa Baffin's are a must-have for any serious...

Check out these great products every angler would love as a gift. Accessories

2018 In-Fisherman Holiday Gift Guide

In-Fisherman - November 06, 2018

Check out these great products every angler would love as a gift.

See More Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.