It’s a popular question that we have all asked one time or another. Hook size is very important, not only for good hookup ratios but to protect the fish. Of course as with all things, everyone has an opinion and they are entitled to their opinions but I will share what has worked for me. I’m not bias and I’m not sponsored by my recommendations in this article, so don’t think that there is only one hook that will do the job, because that is not the case.
When you approach your favorite stores hook selection, it can be a little overwhelming when you see thousands of hooks that come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There are kahle hooks, J hooks, circle hooks and the list goes on and on. Circle hooks have been gaining popularity due to the low mortality rate of fish after they are caught and the ease of use. I won’t deny that when I started using circle hooks, I wasn’t initially a huge fan; I have always enjoyed setting the hook. On the other hand, I truly hate seeing fish die, especially if it could have been avoided. So I am now an avid user of the circle hook and rarely use “J hooks”. I prefer two brands of hooks: Owner and Gamakatsu hooks, the reason being is because they are chemically sharpened and I have never had either brand fail. When chunking bait or using shrimp, I favor the 1/0 Owner Light Super Mutu.
They are light hooks, that are razor sharp and they have a tendency to always hook right in the corner of the mouth. The concept is simple with the Super Mutus, when you feel a tug…reel down and then lift the rod tip. The weight of the fish and the rod will do the rest in making sure that hook penetration is good. For live baits, I will often stick with the 1/0 or increase to 2/0 depending on the size of the white bait. If using a pinfish, pigfish etc… You may have to increase up to a 3/0-4/0 hook. The basic idea is to make the presentation seem as natural as possible. I took a buddy out the other day and he insisted on using his tackle and rigs. I told him I didn’t have a problem with that.
He is a pretty proud fella, so I started fishing. After about 4 redfish and a couple trout he came to the back of the boat and asked me what he was doing wrong? He had a 5/0 J hook and 40lb leader. I asked him if he was tarpon fishing. Keep in mind we were using shrimp. I helped him change over to 20lb fluorocarbon leader and I changed out his hook, I advised him to cast to the potholes and it wasn’t long before he started hooking up. Fish aren’t the smartest creatures but they are smart enough to know when something is awkwardly wrong. Conceal the hook and leader to the best of your ability and you will catch more fish.