Snapper fishing requires specific hooks that are designed for the mouth and jaw strength of these fish. Snapper hooks must feature a particular hook pattern and not bend easily against force. Choose from models such as Model Perfect, Kirby, Beak and Suicide, all of which feature a range of hooks including the best gauge size for snappers: 6/0, 1/0 to 4/0 and 8/0.
The 6/0 silver Beak is a medium- to heavy-gauge hook that works well when used for Victorian fishing. Its slightly in-turned point can hook a large snapper without bending against the strength of its powerful jaw. The hook must be needle-sharp. Use a microscope to check that the hook is flat at the point. If you do not have a microscope, test the sharpness of the hook at home. Hold the hook by the shank and place the hook point on the center of your thumbnail. Position it at a slight angle, but do not exert any pressure. Allow the hook to dangle under its own weight. Slowly try to slide the hook down to the tip of your nail. If the hook does not budge, it is razor sharp and ready for use. If it slides across your nail, it requires additional sharpening. A flat file provides the most precision for adding a sharp point to a 6/0 hook.
1/0 to 4/0
When fishing for small snapper, use a light gauge hook that ranges from 1/0 to 4/0. Depending on which type of bait you use, you have to slide up or down the scale. However, you must stay within the 1/0 to 4/0 gauge range for small snapper fishing. Only file the point of the hook and avoid sharpening as you would for the big hooks. Small snapper do not have the jaw strength of larger snapper, so filing the point as well as the rest of the hook will create a knife edge that can cut through a smaller snapper's mouth.
An 8/0 hook is best reserved for snappers with an average weight of 22 to 33 pounds. Hook size is very important when fishing for large snapper, which will also be determined by the type of bait you use. For example, when fishing in deep water with flathead bait fish, use an 8/0 sterling Suicide hook. Shallower waters and a different bait could require a move down to a 7/0 hook. Remember, 5/0 to 8/0 hooks typically require a heavier monofilament fishing line. Measure the breaking strain on your fishing line by testing how much weight and force your line can handle before snapping.