Know Your Hooks

Choosing the right hook for the right job can make a world of difference.

Choosing the right hook for the right job can make a world of difference.


• Curved shank sets and holds in the mouth of a summer flounder
• Popular for fluke fishing
• Used to drift strip baits and live minnows


• Bent-back eye for snelling
• Popular for snelling onto natural-bait rigs
• Sizes 10 to 6 are effective with live minnows and salmon eggs for trout
• Sizes 5/0 to 8/0 are used with live eels, cut bait, and clams for striped bass


• Narrow gap is easily inhaled by small-mouthed fish
• Longtime favorite of winter flounder fishermen
• Long shank can be threaded with seaworm or mussel

Live Bait
Live Bait

• Wide gap, short shank designed to allow live baits to swim freely
• Used for large fish, such as tuna and striped bass
• Smaller sizes are also effective for blackfish
• Straight eye allows for crimping or tying


• Long shank, large eye works well on artificial lures
• Used as a single hook on plugs and jigs
• Available with open eye for easy attachment to artificial lures


• Inward-facing point designed to catch in the corner of the jaw
• Most often used for large fish such as striped bass, tuna and black drum
• Reduces risk of deep-hooking fish
• Used with cut bait, live bait, clams, or worms


• Short point, large barb easily hooks and holds crab baits
• Once the standard hook for blackfish
• Has lost popularity as fishermen switch to octopus-style or live-bait hooks

Hook Sizes
hook sizes

The numbers that define hook sizes can be confusing. They are based on a nominal hook size of zero. Hook sizes with a number followed by a zero increase in size as the number goes up.

For instance, a 4/0 hook is one size up from a 3/0.

Hook sizes not followed by a zero decrease in size as the number increases.

For example, a size 3 hook is smaller than a size 2 hook.

While most hook manufacturers follow this basic numbering system, there is unfortunately little standardization in sizes. For instance, what may be a size 4/0 in an Eagle Claw hook may not necessarily be the same as a 4/0 in a VMC hook.

Hook storage tip:

Save those little packets of desiccant that often come with pills and other products. They help prevent
rust in hook containers and tackle boxes.

3 on “Know Your Hooks

  1. Pete G

    I appreciate the information. Does anyone know what size hook is best when replacing standard hooks that are on a lure when purchased? Long story short, hooked fish using a 6 inch Daiwa SP minnow, lost fish, and when looking at one of the treble hooks it was bent almost vertical. Basically, I want to upgrade my lures hardware with stronger split rings and stronger lures. I mostly fish large lures (plugs, poppers, mag darters, etc..) that weigh anywhere from 1 – 6 ounces.. Any opinions, or suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. Thank You,

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