Fishing Hooks 101: A Beginner's Guide to the Different Types

Different Types of Fishing Hooks

Fishing hooks come in many types and sizes, and getting the right one can be a nightmare for a beginner.

Hooks should be chosen in accordance with the bait you are using and the fishing technique you are practicing to catch a certain fish.

There are many types of fishing hooks, and some of the most popular ones are baitholder, circle, Aberdeen, octopus, treble, Jig, J-hook, worm hook, Siwash and weedless. There are more types and subtypes too, and they all have a specific purpose.

Hooks even exist in different colors, so that you can match them with the water and bait color, and attract even the most cautious fish.

Besides type, choosing the hook size also plays a major role in successful fishing, but here I am going to focus on types only.

So, before you head out to the water, read this guide to get to know the basics about different types of fishing hooks and how to choose the right one.



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What are the Parts of a Fish Hook?

Before listing hook types and their features, you must know the main parts of a fishing hook, in order to understand the differences between types.

Keep in mind that these parts can differ among types, and you will find many differences in the point/barb, eye, gap, and other.

Here is a basic sketch that shows you these parts.

Different Types of Fishing Hooks - Parts

Point is the part that always has to be sharp, as that is the part that has to pierce the fish mouth. Not all hooks have barbs, and barbless options are also available, especially for catch and release.

Gap is the one of the main features, and it can significantly wary among the hook types. Some hooks are also bended under a different angle and have longer/shorter throats and shanks. There are so many variations that it would be impossible to list them all, but this is enough for a basic understanding.

What Different Types of Fishing Hooks are There?

There are many different types of fishing hooks, and here I am going to include the most popular ones.


As the name suggest, these hooks make sure that your bait stays in place - like corn, worms, etc.

There are variations of these hooks, but what they all have in common are additional barbs on the shank that are there to prevent bait from slipping.

Unfortunately, these hooks are not made to be used for catch and release, and you should use them only for the fish you are planning to keep, because the barbs can cause serious damage to the fish.


Circle hooks are used to prevent deep hooking, because their point is bended towards the shank. These hooks will set in the corner of the fish mouth, so that anglers can safely remove them without harming the fish.

Setting these hooks is fairly easy as the fish mostly do it themselves by just by taking it into the mouth.


Aberdeen hooks have straight and long shank and they are made from very light wire. They are excellent for live baits (like small shrimps, minnows, etc.) that are a bit smaller.

They are thin and that ensures efficient piercing of live bait without causing harm, so that the bait can live longer.


These hooks have a bit shorter, rounded shank, and the point is slightly bended towards the shank. These hooks have gaps wide enough to hook many fish, but they are not very big.

They are frequently used with smaller baits. The eye can be sightly pointed to the opposite side from the tip. They are mostly made for fish with smaller mouth, like trout.


These hooks are made to be used with jigs in jigging. They have an eye that is bended at 90 degrees to ensure better jig movement. Many of these are barbed, but some anglers remove barbs to use them for catch and release.


These hooks are shaped like the letter “J”. Their shank is long and straight, and the point is pointed upwards. These hooks require certain skill from an angler because they have to be set properly.


Worm hooks are made to be used with artificial worms.

They come in many shapes and sizes, and are made in a way that a small bend near the eye can accommodate worm head, while the body of the worm is pierced and the rest of it is wiggling freely. Many of these have wider gap so that the worm can fit.


These hooks are frequently used by anglers instead of treble hooks, with lures like spinnerbaits and similar. They have opened eye that ensures easy removal. Siwash hooks can be used for catch and release, and unlike treble hooks, cause much less damage to fish. Long shanks on these hooks make them hang down from the lure in a natural way.


As the name of these hooks suggest, these are used by anglers who fish in waters with dense vegetation.

Bass anglers often have these hooks. These hooks have a very thin safety guard that can be attached to the point of the hook (going from the eye), to prevent it from getting stuck in vegetation.


These hooks may seem similar to circle hooks, but their point is not bended. They have very wide gaps and are made from strong wire, to be used with hard fighting fish. Due to the shape, these hooks can hold large baits.


Treble hook can be described as 3 in 1 hook. It has one eye and a shank, but then it spreads into three bends and points.

They are great for artificial lures, but unfortunately cause damage to the fish and you should use them only for the fish you are planning to keep. Also, these are forbidden in some waters.


Double hooks are similar to treble, but have only two bends and points at opposite directions.


Egg hooks are made in a way that their shank is short and the gap is wide. They are excellent for baits like corn, salmon eggs, and other similar small bats.


Basically, saltwater hooks come in different sizes and they vary in shapes, but they are much stronger, and coated with corrosion resistant finish. Points are usually a bit longer and very sharp.

Different Types of Fishing Hooks - Guide

Which Hook is Best for Fishing?

Among all types of fishing hooks, it is impossible to say which one is the best, as they all have a specific purpose. And many of them are simply not comparable.

But some are better for beginners. Baitholder hooks are relatively easy to use and you will not lose baits while you are still in a learning process.

If you have problems with setting the hook, try to use circle ones. Both of these can be used to catch various fish.

How do I Choose a Fishing Hook?

First of all, you have to know what fish specie you are fishing for (trout, carp, catfish or any other), and the size of those specimens.

Then, you have to decide what technique will you use to catch the fish. This includes bait/lure choice too. When you know that, you can narrow down your selection to a few types.

Besides type, you will have to choose the right strength and size too, but here I am going to mention the basics about type only.

The rest of your fishing equipment has to match the hook to. You can’t use heavy fishing lines with light wire, small hooks, or vice versa.

Also, water clarity, time of the year, and other factors affect the bait/lure selection, so for the same fish, in the same location, you will probably use different hooks through the year.

Why are Some Fishing Hooks Red?

Among different types of fishing hook, you will also find that some hooks are colored, and frequently this color is red.

There are various reasons for that ...

Sometimes, angler like to match the bait and hook color to make it less visible. Also, matching a color with a certain water body color will also reduce its visibility.

Red hooks, same as red fishing lines, are sometimes used because red is the color which has a wavelength that is the first one to get “filtered out” by the water, and thus it becomes less visible to fish.

Red, or even differently colored, hooks are sometimes attached to lures like spinnerbaits to make them flashier and appealing to fish.

Some anglers will argue that the hook color doesn’t make any difference, and in a lot of cases that may be true, but if they were not useful for certain situations, they wouldn’t be mass produced.


Choosing among so many types of fishing hooks can be overwhelming, but it is necessary if you want to get the best out of your fishing experience.

Beginners will usually use just a few different types, but as you gain more experience, you will notice that even the slightest change can have a huge impact on fishing success.

And remember, if you want to release the fish, use barbless hooks!

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