Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Choose Your Hooks when Fishing

Fishhooks have been around for centuries. Once they were made from wood, bone, stone and other natural materials. The materials have evolved, as have the methods for making them. Today, hooks are made of steel, and are precisely crafted, just like any other tool [source: RBFF]. You need to know how to choose from the many different kinds of hooks available. There are hooks for specific types of fish, hooks with different styles, quality and with different features [source: Brady]. Whether you're fishing saltwater or freshwater, live bait or artificial, there's a hook that can catch your fish. Here are some tips to choosing the right hook when fishing.

  • Decide the kind of fish you're after. Larger fish need larger hooks, smaller fish need smaller hooks. Some fish are more suspicious, so you'll need a smaller hook to catch them unawares [source: WFN].
  • Decide on your bait. Different hooks are designed for use with different kinds of bait and lures [source: WFN].
  • Match your hook to your method of fishing. Some hooks are better for bait-casting, some for fly-casting, and others for bait and lure spin casting. Within each category there are numerous other characteristics that define the type of hook, such as the point, the eye, the bend and the shank [source: RBFF].
  • Make sure the eye of the hook is closed, so the knot won't slip off the hook when a fish bites [source: Brady].
  • Check the hook for sharpness. Some hooks are mechanically sharpened and can be re-sharpened. Chemically sharpened hooks are sharper, but don't last as long and can't be re-sharpened [source: Brady].
  • Choose a more resilient and durable hook that won't corrode when saltwater fishing [source: WFN].
  • Use barbless hooks if you're going to catch and release [source: RBFF]. Hooks with barbs are good for keeping the bait on [source: Brady], but they also hold the fish on the hook.