Fishing Hook Size Chart [Freshwater + Saltwater]

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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Fishing hook sizes range from the smallest at 32 to the largest at 19/0. They follow a somewhat counterintuitive system where a size 1 hook is larger than a size 7, but smaller than a 1/0. Matching the hook size with the fish species is essential for a successful catch.

Hook SizeLength (inches)Gap (inches)

These values are indicative only, as different manufacturers will have variations from this guide.

Freshwater Fish Hook Size Chart

Here’s a helpful table outlining popular freshwater fish species and the suggested hook sizes for a successful catch:

Fish SpeciesRecommended Hook Size
Largemouth Bass1-4/0
Smallmouth Bass1-4/0
Northern Pike2/0-4/0
Russ showing his personal collection of fishing hook sizes inside a tackle tray

Saltwater Fish Hook Size Chart

To help guide your saltwater fishing adventures, here’s a table listing common saltwater fish species and the ideal hook sizes for landing them:

Fish SpeciesRecommended Hook Size
Striped Bass1/0-8/0
Yellowfin Tuna6/0-10/0
Bluefin Tuna8/0-12/0
King Mackerel4/0-8/0
Fishing Hook size Overview

Fishing Hook Sizes

Understanding fishing hook sizes is like learning a new language—it may seem intimidating at first, but it becomes a valuable tool once you grasp the concept. When I started fishing, figuring out the right hook size was an essential part of my fishing adventure.


I’ve always noticed that smaller hook sizes are generally more effective for freshwater fishing. Typically, sizes ranging from 8 to 2 are ideal, especially targeting species like bass or trout. I recall when I was fishing for largemouth bass with a size 4 hook. I hooked a big one, but to my dismay, it got off as the hook was too large for its mouth. Since then, I’ve stuck with smaller hook sizes for freshwater fishing, and my success rate has improved significantly.


Saltwater fishing often requires larger hook sizes. The reason is simple: saltwater species tend to have larger mouths than their freshwater counterparts. Consequently, sizes ranging from 1/0 – 8/0 are usually used. I’ll never forget a deep-sea fishing trip where I was targeting tarpon. Armed with a 6/0 hook, I was lucky to have a monstrous tarpon take the bait. The battle was intense, but the larger hook size ensured a secure catch, making that trip unforgettable.

Parts of a Fishing Hook

Just like any other equipment, understanding the anatomy of a fishing hook can significantly enhance your fishing experience. It aids in choosing the right hook for each situation, increasing your success rate. Let’s take a closer look at each component:

Anatomy of a fish hook


The eye is where your fishing line is tied. The type of eye varies and includes ringed, tapered, needle, or looped. Your choice depends on the fishing conditions, the type of knot you use, and personal preference. For instance, a ringed eye is generally reliable and easy to tie, while a needle eye is great for reducing damage to your line, especially when using a heavy line.


The shank is the straight part of the hook extending up to the eye. The length of the shank affects the hook’s application and the type of bait it can effectively hold. Shorter shanks are ideal for small bait, and when you need to hide the hook inside the bait. Longer shanks, on the other hand, are suitable for larger or longer bait and make removing the hook from the fish easier.


The barb is a backward-facing spike near the point, designed to keep hooked fish from escaping. It adds resistance, making it harder for the hook to back out. Some anglers opt for barbless hooks (either by purchasing them without barbs or by flattening the barb with pliers) as they are less damaging to fish—especially in catch and release scenarios—and easier to remove from the fish (or yourself, in case of mishaps).


The shaft or the bend is the curved part that connects the point to the shank. It gives the hook its unique shape. The degree of curvature can influence how deeply the hook penetrates the fish’s mouth and how firmly it sets. Some hooks have a wider bend for better hooking efficiency, while others have a narrower bend for a more secure hold.


The gap or gape is the distance between the shaft and the shank. It affects the size of the fish’s mouth that the hook can accommodate. Larger gaps are better for larger fish with big mouths, whereas smaller ones are suitable for smaller fish.

Types of Fishing Hooks

Fishing hooks come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, each with their unique purpose. Selecting the right hook can make a difference in your fishing experience. Let’s delve into some popular ones:

Standard J-Hook

This is a versatile hook suitable for a wide range of fishing styles. Whether bait fishing or game fishing, J-Hooks are a reliable choice, providing a good hook set and holding power.

Bait-Holder Hook

Bait-holder hooks are characterized by their barbs on the shank, which help keep the bait from sliding down the hook. This type is particularly useful when using soft or slippery baits like worms that can easily slide off the hook.

Bait Hook

Siwash Hook

Siwash hooks, with their long shank, are excellent for single-hook applications such as spoons and spinners. Their open eye makes it easy to attach them to your favorite lures.

Aberdeen Hook

Aberdeen hooks are light wire hooks, known for their thin and long shank. The lightweight design inflicts minimal damage to live bait, ensuring they remain lively and attractive to fish.

Circle Hook

Circle hooks are engineered to hook fish in the corner of the mouth, reducing the risk of gut hooking, which is especially important for catch and release fishing. They are designed to roll into the corner of the fish’s mouth as it takes the bait, providing a safer and more humane hook set.

Circle Hooks

Octopus Hook

Octopus hooks have short shanks and are great for live bait. Their design presents the bait more naturally, which can be key in luring wary or experienced fish.

Octopus Hook

King Kahle Hook

The King Kahle hook’s unique bend and point alignment make it very efficient at hooking and holding fish. Its design allows for high hook-up ratios, making it a favorite among many anglers.

Shiner Hook

Shiner hooks are designed to securely hold live shiners—one of the most popular live baits for bass fishing. These hooks ensure the shiner’s lively motion is maintained, attracting more bites.

Treble Hook

With their three points, Treble hooks provide a greater chance of hooking a fish. These are commonly found on many types of fishing lures.

Treble Hook

Worm Hook

The worm hook is designed for “Texas rigging” or “Carolina rigging” plastic worms or other soft plastic baits. Their design allows for weedless rigging, useful when fishing around vegetation or other structures.

Swim Hook

Swim hooks are designed to keep swimbaits running straight and true. Their balanced design helps maintain the bait’s action, enticing strikes from predatory fish.

Jig Hook

Jig hooks, often used with a jig head, are versatile for a wide range of applications. Their design allows them to be paired with various baits and techniques.

Jig Hook

Weedless Hook

Weedless hooks are designed to prevent the hook from snagging on weeds or debris, allowing anglers to fish in heavy cover where fish often hide. A plastic or wire guard is used to prevent snags while still allowing a solid hook set when a fish bites.

Weedless Hook

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