Fishing Hooks Explained
Understanding the Basics of a Fishing Hook
- The point of a hook is the end that penetrates the mouth of the fish. The point of a hook can become dull over time and may need to be replaced eventually for best performance.
- The barb is a secondary point that angles away and forms a small V shape with the point. This barb helps keep the fish hooked once the hook penetrates the fish’s mouth.
- The eyelet is where you tie your line onto the hook.
- The bend is the curve of the hook.
- The shank is the space between the eyelet and the bend.
- The gap is the distance between the hook point and shank.
Types of Fishing Hooks
Treble hooks have the three hook points sticking out in different directions. Treble hooks are used for moving baits like crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, and topwater lures. With these moving baits fish often strike from all different directions so having multiple hook points helps with hookups even if the fish doesn’t swallow the bait.
To learn more or for replacement recommendations read our treble hook guide.
Circle hooks are one of the safest hooks for fish survival. The hook point bends in toward the shank which helps prevent deep throat hooking and instead often hooks the fish’s lip. Circle hooks will often catch a fish’s lip even without you setting the hook. Circle hooks are popular choices when fishing finesse-style techniques.
Worm & Soft Plastic Hooks
Hooks designed for worms and soft plastics come in a variety of styles and sizes. These hooks often have a wider gap to provide clearance between the hook point and the soft plastic bait of your choosing.
Jig hooks look similar to worm hooks with the exception of their eyelet. The eyelet on jig hooks is at a 90-degree angle from the shank. This angle helps improve the hookup ratio when fishing soft plastics.
There are three styles of hooks that are used when fishing swimbaits. The most common style is a swimbait jig head. These hooks have a fish head style weight with an exposed hook. The next two look very similar except for one key difference. One has a weight on its keel, this design distributes the weight throughout the swimbaits body so it sinks evenly. The other does not have a weight for a slower sink rate. Both weighted and non-weighted swimbait hooks can be skin hooked and can be fished weedless.
Understanding Hook Sizes and How They are Measured
Fishing hooks are measured by sizes and aughts. These measurements range from #32 on the small end to up to 19/0 which is the largest. Smaller hooks are sized #32 to #1, the larger the size number, the smaller the hook.
Larger hooks are sized 1/0 to 19/0, pronounced one aught to nineteen aught. The larger the aught the larger the hook.
It is important to know that there is no standardized size between hook types. For example, a 1/0 worm hook is not the same size as a 1/0 circle hook or 1/0 treble hook.
Barbed Vs. Barbless Hooks
Barbs are great for keeping the bait on hooks and making it tougher for fish to throw the hook. This means you’ll use less bait and you’ll lose less fish when fishing with barbed hooks.
The flip side of this is when you unhook a fish you will often cause more damage to the fish. Barbs can lower the survival rate of fish you catch. This might not be a big deal if you plan to eat the fish but for those wanting to practice catch and release it is something you will want to consider.
If you decide to fish with barbed hooks we recommend reading our guide on unhooking fish. In this guide, you will learn the best way to unhook fish without causing damage.