What To Look For
Hooks for bait and anglers who plan on keeping fish should be built with at least one barb. Hooks can be found in numerous colors, but the most common are silver and gold. Catch-and-release anglers should look for hooks for with a single barbless design. Single hooks in gold and silver are the most common and small flies and small baits will require a thin wire hook. For the majority of fishing applications, look for stout hooks with a single or multiple barbs and a sharp point.
Treble hooks will stick in the mouth of the fish and can be difficult to remove because of the multiple barbs. Treble hooks are also prone to snagging fish unintentionally. Single hooks are ideal for releasing fish but can be slip from the mouth of the fish. Barbless single hooks are more likely to slip because of the lack of barbs, but the single barbed version also can lose hold of the fish. Single hooks are also likely to lose fish when you are intentionally snagging the fish.
Where To Buy
Single and treble hooks can be found in the majority of fishing tackle and outdoor stores. Specialty fly tying hooks can be found in fly fishing stores as well as the large retail outdoor stores like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops. Hooks can be found packaged with leaders or without leaders. Hooks can also be found prepared for different applications in different sizes. Single jig hooks with weighted heads and factory barbed or barbless hooks are also available in most outdoor and fishing stores.
The price of hooks range from less than $1 for a package of five hooks to more than $10 for a package of 10 high-quality streamer hooks designed for fly tying as of March 2010. Hook prices vary greatly and depend largely on the style and number of hooks in the package. Stainless steel hooks and bronzed hooks are the normal styles and are either forged on a thin wire or a heavy shank. Polished hooks are more expensive but are not necessary for the majority of fishing applications.
The style of hook you use will depend on the style of fishing in which you will be engaged. Use treble hooks for fishing large baits and keeping fish. Treble hooks are also valuable for snagging fish as a food source. You can snag multiple salmon on a treble hooks in places like Alaska or you can use the treble hooks to engage in legal population reductions on spawning carp or other invasive species. Use single hooks for catching and releasing fish and fishing small baits and jigs. Use single barbless hooks for tying small flies and safely releasing fish.
In addition to hooks, you will need leaders and swivels for attaching hooks to your fishing line. You will also need basic fishing equipment including a rod, reel and line. Pliers and forceps are also handy to use for pinching barbs and fixing bent hooks.
Buy fishing hooks in bulk packages if you are an avid fisherman. Buying in bulk will save you money in the long run. Also allow hooks to dry after use to reduce rust and corrosion. Maintaining and sharpening hooks regularly will make the hooks last longer and save you money. You can also fish with heavy lines and avoid snags to make your hooks last and save money.