How to Choose Fishing Hook Size

How to Choose Fishing Hook Size
There is no standard sizing used consistently among fish hook manufacturers, which makes it difficult to use a hook's number as a guide for selection. This means that you have to rely on a combination of your experience and fish size when choosing a hook. If you bring several types and sizes of hooks, you'll be better prepared for your fishing trip. There's no perfect formula for choosing which fish hook to use. Instead fish hook selection involves using your knowledge of fish behavior and anatomy and learning from the one that got away.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Estimate the fish mouth size and match it to an appropriate hook size. The fish needs to be able to grab the hook and bait. If the hook is too small, it will swallow the hook whole. If it is too large, the fish can't bite the hook at all.
Step 2
Compare the bait size to the hook size. The hook needs to hold the bait securely. Small hooks can only hold small bait such as dough or small worms. Large hooks can hold larger insects or fish bait. The bait also needs to hide the hook.
Step 3
Estimate the fish weight when considering the hook size to use. Larger fish need a larger hook as the small hook will tear through the mouth and you'll lose your fish when reeling.
Step 4
Use barbless hooks if you are catching and releasing using lures. Barb hooks cannot be removed from the fish without tearing the skin.
Step 5
Use circle hooks if you are catching and releasing with live bait. According to the University of Florida, circle hooks, which look like an incomplete circle, "seldom gut hook a fish and usually hook fish in the jaw, making it easier to release a healthy fish."

Article Written By Lynn Anders

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

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