How Fishing Hook Sizes Work
You can save a lot of money buying hooks online, but do not get burned buying the wrong size hook. Here is a useful diagram I made to help show how fishing hook sizes work.
Fishing Hook Size (#) and Aught (/)
A hook’s measurement is defined on a spectrum by “Sizes” and “Aughts”. “Sizes” are smaller while “Aughts” are larger, with 1/0 (Pronounced One – Aught) being the middle or median of the scale. On the smaller end of the spectrum you would have a Size 10, on the larger end of the spectrum you would have a 10/0 (Pronounced Ten-Aught) with 1/0 generally in the middle.”Sizes” are the inverse of “Aughts”, as “Size” gets larger the hooks are smaller, as “Aught” gets larger the hooks are larger. Example: A Size 6 hook is 10 times smaller than a 6/0 hook. You would fish for Panfish with a Size 6, you would fish for Sturgeon with a 6/0.
The Baitholder Hook is the best hook to get started fishing
The Baitholder is a very versatile hook that allows you to start fishing the basics. Use this hook for worms, insects, and grocery store concoctions. The baitholder hook is great for using natural bait because it has 2 barbs on the shank that keep the bait from falling off the hook.
Pair a #4 Baitholder hook with a 1″ cut of worm. This is a basic freshwater rig effective for Sunfish, Crappie and Perch.
Alternatives to worms include 3-4 kernels of corn, a slice of hotdog, or a balled piece of bread. You may want to go down a size to #6 for pesky panfish, but this will be more challenging to bait and remove from the fish for those just starting out. Use the Larger #2 with a full Nightcrawler for Walleye, and move up to a larger 1/0 with a full Nightcrawler on a Texas Rig or Carolina Rig for Bass.
Common Baitholder Hook Sizes & 1″ Cut of Nightcrawler on a #4 Baitholder Hook
Octopus Hook for Live Minnows & Leeches
Best for Live Minnows and Leeches, the short shank with a wide gap on an Octopus hook is great for hooking large fish. Use a smaller #6 or #4 for 1-2″ minnows and small leeches to target Perch and Crappie. Use the medium size #4 & #2 on larger 3-4″ minnows and jumbo leeches for Walleye. Lastly, the 1/0 is great with larger 4-6″ minnows used to target Pike and Bass. Red is a popular color for Octopus Hooks as it signals to your presentation at deeper depths.
Aberdeen Hooks for Insects & Removal
Thin, long wire shanks make these hooks great for fragile bait, removing swallowed hooks, and freeing up your line in a snag. Aberdeen hooks will bend, but that’s great because it serves their purpose. The thin wire makes this hook an ideal design for bottom fishing cats. When you are snagged the hook will bend and twist for an easier release. Use the smaller #4 for insects like crickets and grasshoppers to target Trout and Panfish. The light wire keeps these fragile baits in tact, and the long shank lets you easily remove the hook. Use the #2 & 1/0 with a ball of Nightcrawlers for Catfish.
Popular hooks can be found with the sizes above in our Fishing Hooks Kit.
Wide Gap Hooks
The less common Wide Gap hooks are used with large Minnows or Cut-Bait. Think of them as a narrower version of the Circle Hook. The Wide Gap allows you to target big Cats and Largemouth Bass, while keeping a tighter profile for Live Bait presentations or covering your hook shank more thoroughly with Cutbait. 2/0 is a popular size for both techniques.
Treble Hook for Dough Bait & Lure Replacement
Treble hooks are often associated with Lures such as Crankbaits, Spoons, and Spinners. However, Treble Hooks are also effective for Dough Baits and Nuggets as the 3 prongs secure your soluble bait longer than a single barbed hook.
For targeting Catfish, we recommend using a Size 4 Treble Hook to pair with your Dough Bait.
For Trout, a Size 12 Treble Hook is a small, precise medium for securing Trout Nuggets.
Most of the common lures, in popular sizes have #6 Treble Hooks attached. It is a good idea to keep a a few of these on hand for rusty or dull hooks that need replacement.
Worm Hooks for Soft Plastic Baits
Worm hooks pair with soft plastic worms are a popular staple among Bass fishermen. These artificial models are typically 4-8″ in length, while profile depends on the style of lure. The most popular hook is an EWG Worm Hook, and the most common sizes range in 2/0-4/0. Use a 3/0 EWG Worm Hook for the majority of soft plastic Bass baits. Round Bend Worm Hooks are also a popular option and are often used in more finesse situations rigged with slender plastic worms. Use a 1/0 Round Bend hook for Worms 6 to 7 inches and a 2/0 for worms 8-10 inches.
Hook Pairings for Soft Plastics
EWG Worm Hooks are often paired with thicker diameter soft plastics such as Stick Worms, Soft Jerkbaits, Beaver Baits, and Creature Baits. However, EWG Hooks are common to use with every style. Round Bend Worm Hooks are used to target Bass with slender profile soft baits. Often paired with Finesse Worms and Ribbon Worms which are longer and narrow for a concealed presentation.
3/0 EWG Worm Hook with a 6″ Creature Bait (Texas Rig)
1/0 Round Worm Hook with a 6″ Ribbon Tail Worm
Popular among saltwater anglers and great for conservation efforts. However, these are less common in Freshwater, as they facilitate “Cut-Bait” most effectively. Use a 5/0 Circle Hooks when targeting Catfish with Cut pieces of Shad or Carp.
Final Note on Hook Size
Fishing hook sizes can be confusing, so reference these diagrams when you are making purchases online. Hooks in the Size # range get smaller as the numbers get larger. Hooks in the Aught / range get bigger as the numbers get larger.