Pay attention to the hooks you use and increase your catch.

Posted on August 21st, 2009

Just a couple of weeks ago we shot a TV program trolling for salmon & trout on Lake Ontario.  As we started out day’s fishing we lost a couple of quality fish.  After inspecting the lures, the larger Chinook salmon had either “bent” on or more hooks so that they were open, or one or more hooks of the treble hooks were broken-off completely resulting in the hooks letting go of the fish.  We quickly solved this problem by changing the size and “hardness” of the treble hooks.  It was apparent that the spoons were manufactured with hooks that would be suitable for landing smaller fish, let’s say under 15 lb., that may not fight as hard, or as long as a Chinook salmon in open-water.


Many anglers go though life completely missing the importance of using the right size & the right type of hook.  Simply speaking, the smaller the fish, the smaller the hook you should be using. What many anglers overlook all the other important details that they should consider when choosing the right bait hook.  These include; the fish species (fresh or saltwater), the size of a fishes mouth, how tough the fishes mouth they are going after is (ease of hook penetration), how the fish takes the bait, where you will be fishing the hook (close to bottom or not), and the fishing line diameter you will be using.


Especially at my level of fishing, where I may be steelhead fishing in crystal-clear water one weed, to fly fishing for Tarpon the following week, or cranking for Walleye the next, the type and size of hooks I choose to fish with is very important.  If you have watched out TV shows you know that I even tinker with the “bend” of the hook and often change the “bend” to an “angle”, and often either bending the hook-tip slightly in (to hold better once a fish is hooked), or slightly out (to hook a fish that has a smaller, harder mouth easier, such as jumbo perch).


How often have you fished close to someone who seemed to be catching lots of fish while you were not catching any, or very few? Maybe you were using the same bait, and fishing the same general area, but either  your fish kept getting off before you got them to the boat, or your line kept hanging on the bottom while the guy catching all the fish hardly every got hung up on the bottom.   I’m a firm believer that anglers can continuously “refine” their fishing skills and one way to do that is to use the best hook for the type of fishing they are doing. 


Here’s a general tip for choosing a fish hook. If you were to choose between using a thicker forged hook for average sized fish, or a thin, let’s say Aberdeen wire hook, the thinner hook is much better because it won’t weigh-down your bait as much, this will make it easier for the fish to mouth and swallow the hook, and when you go to set the hook, you will get a much better chance to set the hook past the barb because of the lower hook diameter.


Hook Styles

Fish hooks also come in many styles. Knowing a few of the more popular ones and knowing their specific use may help you choose the right one for your needs.



[singlepic id=371 w=320 h=240 float=]

This hook is named for the specific design of the hook. It’s a standard hook, forged with a very strong bend. This hook is relatively thick, very strong, and not likely to bend out of shape. Generally designed for large fish, and saltwater use, it is good for general bottom fishing use. Sizes range from #3 to as large as 19/0.



[singlepic id=368 w=320 h=240 float=]

These hooks, are popular and used in smaller sizes in freshwater, and can also be used for smaller fish in saltwater. They are commonly made from shaped wire. Unlike the O’Shaughnessy hook, the Aberdeen hook is quite flexible. If it get’s bent out of shape (from either hanging and getting off the bottom, or being bent while taking the hook out of a fishes mouth), it can be bent back into shape several times before it becomes too weak. Once a fish is hook and the barb has completely penetrated, this hook holds well. Commonly these hooks are modified with bends in their shanks for use in jig molds.



[singlepic id=370 w=320 h=240 float=]

Probably the best design in a hook to promote healthy catch and release. The “circle” design of the hook itself, when used properly, prevents fish from being hooked too deep. Many anglers have a problem using these hooks because they require no hook set.   If you do try to set the hook, it’s common to pull it right out of the mouth of the fish.  To properly set a Circle hook, when a fish takes a circle hook that is rigged with bait or used in a fly all the angler has to do is to begin reeling and apply steady and firm pressure on his line, slowly at first, than faster so that the hook lodges in the corner of the fish’s mouth and literally the hook sets itself into the fish as the fish heads in the opposite direction. Anglers feel a bite and simply begin reeling, slowly at first, then faster as the hook gets set.



[singlepic id=369 w=320 h=240 float=]

These hooks normally have a shorter shank than other hooks. This design makes the hook lighter in weight and allows live bait to swim more freely, the shorter shaft is also less visible to the fish. Live bait hooks come in regular and circle designs. For example, when I’m trout fishing (migratory & inland trout), I always use the smallest, lightweight, short-shank hook possible.

So, next time you use a hook or lure, consider the hook type the fishing you are planning on doing, using the right hook can make all the difference in the world!

Like me   Follow Me  
Subscribe youtube   Newsletter Subscriber   InstagramFollow in instagram