Fishing Hook Sizes: Finding The Right One James Schulz Bass Fishing 9 min read Who do you think has a better chance of catching a bass? A newbie angler or an experienced one? Given the unpredictability of the massive fish, it can be either of the two. What we do know is that with the right-sized hook and fishing line, your chances of catching bass are significantly increased. This is why we have compiled a guide that tells you everything you need to know about bass fishing and the fishing hook sizes that will land you those prized catches. Here's What's In Store For You...Best Hook Sizes for BassThe Differences Between Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass Largemouth Bass Vs Smallmouth Bass Breaking Down the Parts of a Hook for Bass Fishing1) Point2) The Eye3) Shank4) Barb5) The Bend 6) The GapFishing Hook Size Guidea) Hook Sizingb) The Aughtsc) DiameterWhat Would be a Good Hook Size for Bass?i) Soft plasticsii) Crawfishiii) Minnowsiv) Shadv) NightcrawlersDifferent Hook Styles for Bass Fishing1) Straight Shank Hooks2) Kahle Hook3) Octopus Hook or Circle hooks4) Texas Rigging Hook5) Worm Hooks6) Aberdeen Hook7) Offset Wide Gap Hook8) Treble Hooks9) Baitholder HookConclusion Best Hook Sizes for Bass The Differences Between Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass Bass is one of the most popular freshwater fish when it comes to the angling industry. For bass fishing, it is important to recognize the two kinds that are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry. Here’s how you can tell them apart: Largemouth Bass Vs Smallmouth Bass Largemouth Bass is locally known by many names such as bigmouth bass, bucket-mouth bass, wide-mouth bass, etc. The name pretty much indicates that this species of bass has a large mouth with a big lower jaw and a tall upper jaw that extends past the eyes. Smallmouth Bass, on the other hand, have an upper jaw that is level with the eyes. They also weigh up to 10 pounds and grow 10-20 inches in length. Largemouth weighs more than 10 pounds and is 15-30 inches long. Apart from the size, the most prominent physical tell between the two kinds of bass are the vertical lines present on smallmouth bass and its distinct brown color. Largemouth Bass have a greenish body with horizontal lines. Another prominent difference is in the dorsal fins. Largemouth bass has a break in their dorsal fins, making them appear like two separate fins, whereas, smallmouth bass has just one dorsal fin. Largemouth bass also prefers to live in warmer waters with plenty of vegetation to provide cover. Smallmouth Bass prefers cool regions and open water for hunting. Breaking Down the Parts of a Hook for Bass Fishing To understand the best hook sizes for bass fishing, an angler must be familiar with fishing hooks and their anatomy. A fishing hook is divided into parts, each serving a different purpose to make smallmouth bass fishing and largemouth bass fishing a lot more efficient. These parts include: 1) Point The point is the sharp end of the hook that penetrates the bass’s mouth. Since it always needs to be sharp, pro anglers keep a hook sharpener handy for that very purpose. Different hook manufacturers offer different types of hook points. The latest in bass fishing is the Surgical Needle hook point. 2) The Eye The eye is the small loop at the opposite end from the Point. This is where the line is tied to the hook. The task is similar to threading a needle and requires concentration and good eyesight. The eye in hooks has three angles. The straight angle is best for bass fishing. The other two angles include away from the hook point, and down towards the hook point. 3) Shank Shank is that straight part that connects the eye to the curve of the hook. The curve is usually called the bend. The length of the shank varies from one hook to another. A short-shanked hook is best suited for finesse fishing. Hooks with medium-length shanks work in all situations. Longer shanks make it easier to unhook a fish. The length of the shanks also depends on the bait you are using. 4) Barb Most, but not all, hooks have a tiny piece of sharp steel extending backward from the Point. The barb keeps the bass from unhooking after it takes the bait. 5) The Bend The bend is the curved part of the hook. It consists of two sections. The deep end of the curve is called the Throat and the width is called the Gap. 6) The Gap The gap is the distance between the point and the shank in a hook. It determines the size of a hook’s curve. Regular-sized gap works for most bass fishing. Although, you would need a wide gap when you are rigging thick-bodied lures. Fishing Hook Size Guide The size system of hooks is slightly complicated. For one, there’s a large range of sizes, and secondly, there are two different ways of sizing them. Generally, fishing hooks are produced in 30 different sizes and they have different naming conventions as they move up the scale. The smallest fishing hook would be called size 18 while the largest fishing hook would be called 12/0 (pronounced “12-aught”). Here’s how it works: a) Hook Sizing Sizes are always on the smaller spectrum on the size scale whereas the Aughts are on the larger spectrum. Sizes work counterintuitively. If you are offered a size range from 1 to 18, then 18 is the smallest hook size while 1 is the largest. If you want a fishing hook even larger than size 1, you start looking at the aughts. b) The Aughts The aughts begin from 1/0 (one-Aught) and then progressively get larger as they move up in size. 1/0 is right in the middle of the scale. Generally, the largest on the scale is 12/0 (twelve-Aught). Unless there’s a manufacturer that produces 13/0 or 14/0. Although it’s rare. c) Diameter As the hooks change in size across the scale, they also change in diameter. Some are thicker and heavy while others are fine and thin. Different brands also vary in diameters and types of hooks. What Would be a Good Hook Size for Bass? Now that you understand how fishing hook sizes work, the ideal hook size for bass fishing would be 1/0 or 2/0. You can go up or down a few sizes depending on your lure. You have to make sure the gap and the shank are large or small enough to secure your lures and baits. We have a little guide to help you decide: i) Soft plastics If you are using soft plastic artificial lures such as worms, lizards, craws, etc., go for 2/0 or 4/0. You can choose other hook sizes too, as long as you make sure it matches the diameter of the soft plastic lure. ii) Crawfish Crawfish are relatively thicker than other lures. In this case, you might need to size up to 3/0. If you have a particularly bigger one on your hands, you can go as large as 4/0 or 5/0. iii) Minnows Minnows are normally around 2 to 2 ½ inches thick. A 2/0 or 1/0 hook will work nicely enough to catch you a bass. iv) Shad Experienced anglers using live bait would often go for shad. Depending on how large the shad is, you can pick any size from 4/0 to 6/0. v) Nightcrawlers A big juicy nightcrawler is great for bass fishing. You can use a 2/0 or 1/0 sized hook for a lure like thick. Different Hook Styles for Bass Fishing There are many different hook styles and fish hook sizes in the market. To help you narrow it down, here are some of the top bass fishing hooks for all types of bass fishing applications: 1) Straight Shank Hooks You can never go wrong with a hook shank when it comes to bass fishing. They are the go-to hooks for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Straight shank hooks are regular j-shaped hooks. They are suitable for all kinds of baits and are considered a touchstone in the angling world. Whether you are aiming for largemouth or smallmouth bass, straight shank hooks can help you land both. If you are using a large or thick bait, make sure the size of your straight shank hook has a good-sized Gap. This is to make sure that the hook holds the bait, and also allows the fish to stay latched to the barb. 2) Kahle Hook Kahle hook has a very unique shape. The gap in this hook is wider and the throat of the hook is slightly elongated with a short depth. This shape allows the point to penetrate deeper into the fish’s mouth. The eye in this hook is either straight or upturned. If you are using this hook for bass fishing, you can go for size 2 or 1 for smallmouth and size 1/0 to 3/0 for largemouth. 3) Octopus Hook or Circle hooks The circle hook or octopus hook is known by many names and is mainly used for finesse fishing. Hence the red color. This bass fishing hook is j-shaped but with a deeper bend and a larger gap size. The wide gap makes it well suited for live baits. Baits with a thick diameter such as leeches, grubs, and minnows are easily secured in octopus hooks. Octopus or circle hooks when used with minnows are best for landing large trophy bass or big game fish. 4) Texas Rigging Hook Texas rigging hook is one of the most popular hooks amongst bass fishermen. It was particularly created in the 1950s for bass fishing. This rigging hook consists of a sinker, shaped like a bullet, and a soft plastic lure. It also comes with a hook and a pegging device. This hook is best suited for areas with lots of weeds, bushes, and rocks. 5) Worm Hooks Worm hooks are the most versatile fishing hooks. They come in various forms such as weighted, different eye angles, wide gap, extra-wide gap, etc. Since they have a large gap, Worm hooks are most suitable for largemouth and other larger species. This hook is for soft plastic lures of all kinds and is designed for deeper penetration into the bass’ mouth. It also has an offset shank and works well with plastic bait setups. 6) Aberdeen Hook Aberdeen hooks are made of light wire with a straight shank and a very pronounced bend. This hook is best for live bait, as the light wire does minimal damage to them and the action lasts long enough to attract the bass. The gap between the point and the shank is wide enough to accommodate live baits such as minnows. Any size between 2 to 4/0 is suitable for bass fishing. 7) Offset Wide Gap Hook This hook has a Z-shaped bend behind the eye and an exaggerated gap between the point and the shank. This hook is best suited for bigger and thicker baits with such a huge gap size. This is a good choice when fishing for bass using live bait. Offset wide gap hook has enough room to secure the bait as well as hook the catch. The complex Z-shaped bend leaves little room for the live bait to wiggle off. It even prevents the aggressive bass fish from swimming off with the live bait, without getting caught. 8) Treble Hooks The Treble hook is shaped like a ship anchor, with three shanks and three points emerging from one shaft. They are best for use in clear water and oceans, as they are most likely to get stuck in areas with weeds and vegetation. Treble hooks are created to use with jigs and spoons, topwater lures, swimbaits, crankbaits, hard jerk baits, Zara Spooks, etc. Although not ideal for the purpose, Treble hooks can be used for bass fishing in freshwater as well as saltwater. 9) Baitholder Hook Baitholder Hook is another hook for anglers who prefer live bait. This hook comes with three barbs. One regular one and two others on the shank. These barbs keep the live bait in place and prevent strong and fast fish to run away with it. It’s one of the most popular styles of hook amongst bass fishers. They normally use it in hook sizes 1/0 and 2/0 with shiners and minnows. Conclusion Hooks might be small in size, but they are one of the most essential parts of angling. When all is said and done, this small hook makes a big difference between catching a bass or losing one. To have a good day of bass fishing, you must choose the right size and style of hook. The size you choose for your fishing largely depends on your lure, bait, and what kind of bass you are targeting. Use this guide to make an informed decision. And if you don’t have time to read, go for the gold standard straight shank hook in a size between 1/0 to 6/0 for largemouth. And a size between 4 to 1/0 for smallmouth bass. With more time and experience, choosing the right hook size would become second nature to you.