What Are Fishing Hook Sizes? [Easy Guide with Chart]

What Are Fishing Hook Sizes - Guide with Chart

Fishing hooks come in many types, strength and sizes, and choosing the right one can make a really big difference between successful and unsuccessful fishing.

Their sizing can be confusing, and here I am going to focus on fishing hook sizes, to provide beginners a better understanding of this subject.

So, what are fishing hook sizes? Fishing hooks come in size ranges from 32 to 1, and from 1/0 to 19/0. This will cover everything from the tiniest freshwater fish, to a sea monster. Keep in mind that some of these sizes are hard to find and are rarely used.


 

Beginners often use wrong sized hooks and the goal of this article is to clarify and doubts you have about fishing hook sizes.

As an average recreational angler, you will most likely use a smaller range of mid-size hooks to catch popular fish species.

In this short guide with chart, you will find out the basics about what hook sizes do we know and how to choose the right one for a specific situation.

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What Is the Difference in Hook Sizes?

There are two main scales that determine the hooks size.

One goes from 32 to 1, and the largest number actually describes the smallest hook.

Another one is from 1/0 to about 19/0 (these are called “aughts”), where the smallest number describes the smallest hook.


 

Here I have to mention that sizes larger than 10/0 are rarely used, because with 10/0 you can actually catch a fish like shark.

Where one numbering system ends the other one continues, so we can say that hooks come in a rage from 32 to 19/0.

Hook manufacturers (like Gamakatsu, Mustad, etc.) produce hooks mostly within this size range, although, larger hooks have been produced, but we can’t say that they are “standard”.

Another important information to mention is that different hook types marked as the same size, may not actually be the same size. This is the confusing part. For example, circle size 1 hook is not necessarily the same size when you compare it with a size 1 jig hook.

Additionally, these sizes can vary among manufacturers too, and despite the fact that we have these scales, hook sizes are not really standardized.

This is the reason why some anglers buy hooks from certain manufacturers only, where they know their true sizes.


 

How Do You Determine Hook Size?

Hook sizes are determined by measuring the gap between the shank and the shaft. In addition to that, length of the shaft is also included into the size determination.

But how big are those numbers exactly?

Numbers like 20, or 10/0 don’t provide a lot of information if you have never seen that hook before.

The only way to describe this is in centimeters/inches. I already mentioned that these numbers can vary according to a manufacturer, and numbers below describe an average size.



So, size 9/0, which is a large hook, has overall length of 7,6cm/3in, and the gap of 2,7cm/1.1in. A much smaller hook, the one size 8, has overall length of 1.7cm/0,7in and the gap of 0.5cm/0,2in.

Many manufacturers have a fishing hook size chart available, where you can see the measurements of different hook sizes. That is very useful when ordering new hooks online.

Although the true sizes can vary, they will not vary a lot, but the problem can be significant when using tiny hooks. On a size 12, even the 0.1 inches means a lot.



How Do I Know What Size Hook to Use?

Choosing the right fishing hook sizes depends on a fish specie you are trying to catch, targeted specimen size, bait you are using, and waters you are fishing in. If the hook is too large or too small, you won’t have any luck.

For fish like trout, anglers most frequently use sizes 8 to 14, depending on a bait and trout size. And that is mostly for baits and techniques that are not fly fishing. For tiny dry flies, anglers will use very small hooks, sometimes even size 14 to 20.

For crappie, anglers will go for size 2 to 6. Carp hook size can be 6 or 8 to higher ...



Sizes 3/0 or 4/0 are great for very large sea bass.

Even larger hooks, 12/0 for example, are used for some tuna species. Such large hooks have a specific use, and an average angler will not benefit from them. For large hammerhead sharks, and similar shark species, anglers use hooks up to 19/0.

All of these are just sizes, but anglers must choose the hook type and strength too. Some anglers will use smaller or larger for this purpose, depending on a manufacturer and their sizing.



Fishing Hooks Sizes – Chart for Faster Understanding

I already mentioned in the previous chapter what are some standard fishing hook sizes for popular fish species.

In the chart below, you can find the largest and the smallest fishing hooks used for various fish, both freshwater and saltwater, interesting to anglers.

It is important to mention that most of these sizes are extremes, and most likely you are going to use something in the middle of a given range.

FISH SPECIE MINIMUM SIZE MAXIMUM SIZE
Trout 30 (for tiny flies) 4 (jigs)
Bass 4 6/0
Carp 8 3/0
Bluegill 12 6
Walleye 6 1/0
Perch 14 2
Catfish 1/0 8/0
Pike 8 3/0
Salmon 12 (salmon flies) 3/0
Sea Bream 8 1
Sea Bass 1/0 5/0
Tuna 2 (for small Albacore tuna) 12/0 (for large Atlantic Bluefin)
Sharks 1/0 (for small Angel Shark) 19/0 (for large Hammerhead, etc.)
Bluefish 1 6/0
Red Snapper 3/0 8/0
Blue Marlin 8/0 14/0


What Is the Smallest Size Fishing Hook?

When it comes to fishing hook sizes, the smallest and the largest ones are rarely used.

So, why do we even have them?

The smallest ones are those in a 32 or 30 size rage. These hooks are tiny. They are used by some very adventurous fly anglers who like to downsize. I wouldn’t recommend this for someone who is not experienced, because even tying such a small sized hook is a nightmare.

Realistically, for someone who is not a fly fisherman, the smallest one is probably around size 14 or 16, use for some trout fishing, when targeting smaller specimens.



What Is the Biggest Size Fishing Hook?

The biggest one was already mentioned and that would be 19/0, although, you will sometimes even find 20/0, used for offshore fishing for very large shark specimens. These hooks are extremely large and sturdy, to be able to withstand all the weight and impacts delivered by monster size fish.

But, there actually is a larger one. Mustad, a company that produces fishing hooks, manufactured a 27/0 hook, and they announced that the hook was made for actual fishing, not just for show. But, as far as I know, it would probably only be good for a Great White. I seriously doubt that it has any other purpose, although you can buy it on their website.

What are fishing hook sizes - Chart

Conclusion

Choosing a fishing hook size can be a hard task for a beginner.

Before you make your decision, learn about different hook types, strengths and sizes too, so that you can always make a good choice and catch more fish!

Make sure that you pair it with a suitable line too, because the hook is only one piece of the equipment and all of the other items have to match too.

Buy from reputable manufacturers and make sure that your hooks are always sharp! Use barbless hooks for catch and release.

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