Choosing the Right Size for Fishing Hook

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Largemouth Bass, glides in Rainbow River's cool 68°F water.

What hook sizes should I use when fishing? The average size of the fishes mouth needs to be taken into consideration to ensure you’re setting the hook of the right size. The larger the mouth the larger the hook, and the smaller the mouth the smaller the hook.

Hook Sizes Fishing

When fishing, I like to choose hook sizes that are no larger than 1/3 and no smaller than 1/6 of the fishes open mouth. I measure from the shank to the point. This way the hook is small enough to easily fit in the fishes mouth and it’s still large enough hook it well.

This is the way I choose hook sizes for fishing and it works well for me. Just in case you are looking for the actual recommended sizes, I have posted some below for a few of the more popular game fish species. Here are the hook sizes fishing:

Bass: 2 – 4/0 (+ or -) hook sizes

Panfish: 12 – 8 (+ or -) hook sizes

Trout: 14 – 8 (+ or -) hook sizes

Crappie: 6 – 2 (+ or -) hook sizes

Walleye: 4 – 2/0 (+ or -) hook sizes

Pike: 2/0 – 6/0 (+ or -) hook sizes

Musky: 4/0 – 8/0 (+ or -) hook sizes

Remember, the recommended fishing hook sizes are just guidelines and not something you should follow “religiously”. Like I said before, The most important thing is that the hook fits in the fish’s mouth and is not too small. Of course, there are a lot of other variables when choosing a hook size, but my “1/6 – 1/3 of the mouth size” formula never let me down.

Once you’ve determined the right size, check our guide for strongest and sharpest hooks and our safety rules for fishing hooks.

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