Fishing Hooks 101: How To Pick The Right Fishing Hook Every Time

There’s one type of fishing equipment that’s critical to success but often overlooked: fishing hooks. Today we’re taking a deeper dive into the most common hooks you’ll encounter.

The Aberdeen or J-hook is a classic, effective, affordable hook. The long shank makes removal easier if a fish swallows the hook, so it’s a great option for live bait. It’s used mainly by anglers targeting panfish, trout, and walleye.

Fishing Hooks - Circle Hook
Explore Circle Hooks

Unlike most other hook options, these bad boys don’t require a strong hookset. They safely hook fish in the corner of the mouth while maintaining high landing rates. To set a circle hook, gently lean into the fish and start reeling. The circle hook is popular among live bait and catfish anglers.

Fishing Hooks - Worm Hook
Explore Worm Hooks

An offset worm hook is a top choice for rigging worms, flukes, and other thin soft plastics. These have a smaller gap between the hook point and shaft, so use them for your less bulky lures. If you want to throw larger plastics, go with Extra Wide Gap hooks (explained next).

Fishing Hooks - Extra Wide Gap Hook
Explore EWG Hooks

Extra Wide Gap (EWG) hooks are great for Texas rigging any soft plastic, even big bois. The gap ensures enough room between the hook point and shaft for solid hooksets. The plastics get pushed out of the way, leaving room to grab the fish securely.

Baitholder hooks have a short shank, making them easy to hide. They also feature barbs on the upper half of the back shank, for a secure hold. The hook gets disguised when fully rigged with natural bait like worms, minnows, cut bait, or corn.

Treble Fishing Hook
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The treble hook features three hook points joined together at a single tying point. You’ll find treble hooks on nearly all hard-bodied fishing lures. Be sure to check your local regulations – treble hooks are banned in some waters.

Drop Shot Fishing Hook

Most anglers prefer a small hook with a thin, light wire when drop-shot fishing. These rigs are often fished in clear water with finesse gear and downsized soft plastics. Small octopus, wacky, circle, or straight shank hooks are among the most popular.

Similar to a drop shot, the wacky rig uses a small hook but needs to have a wider gap between the hook point and shank. This allows room to free up the point when fishing a bulky stick bait. 1/0-2/0 sized wacky hooks pair nicely with the standard five-inch Senko stick bait.

The tie design on snelled hooks allows the hook point to swing upward and outward upon the hookset. They provide an added kick that increases your hook power, plus the reinforcement of a sturdy knot.

You can recognize a snell knot by the multiple wraps around the hook shaft. They’re most commonly used by bass anglers in thick vegetation. These are great for punching Texas-rigged soft plastics through the weeds.

Kahle Fishing Hook
Explore Kahle Hooks

Kahle hooks are another popular hook among live and natural bait anglers. These have a wide enough gap for larger bait offerings. Although Karl’s doesn’t currently stock them, you should be able to find them at your favorite local tackle shop.

Fishing hooks may not have the flash, action, or buzz of lures. But understanding what to throw can be just as important as choosing your bait – and sometimes it matters even more!

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