In many people’s minds, a fishing hook is just a hook, but choosing saltwater fishing hooks can be one of the most important parts of having a successful fishing excursion. Of course, choosing the right size for your hooks based on the species of fish you’ll be pursuing is important, but you should more importantly determine the right type of hook to use on your excursion.
When you are targeting smaller fish, obviously smaller hooks are required. However, there are other factors to take into consideration before you make the final determination. What line size are you using? What species is your main target fish for the day (you need to know more than just the size of the fish – there are other characteristics of the fish that will make a difference)? What type of bait are you going to load onto your saltwater fishing hooks? Also, determine what fishing structure you’ll be targeting – shallows, deep waters, wreckage, and reefs all call for different types of saltwater fishing hooks.
Most of the time, you don’t want to use a thick forged hook because, often, the fish will escape your hook before you can get it into the boat. Instead, your choice of hooks should be something like a thin Aberdeen wire hook because it will much more easily and efficiently penetrate the hard inside of many species’ mouths. Perhaps using a number 1 or a 1/0 regular shank Aberdeen will offer the best solution for bait-stealing fish.
Of course, choosing the size of your hooks will probably be the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for your gear. For large game fish, like those you’ll find in saltwater, fishing hooks should be at least 1 or 1/0, though the largest game fish will use a 19/0 hook. The smallest fishing hooks, a number 32, are used for freshwater fishing for extremely small fish like trout, just to give you an idea of the difference. Most experienced anglers know what size hooks are required for the particular type of fish they plan to target. Keep in mind, however, that all of these options can be found with short, regular, and long shanks (the shank is the part between the eye of the hook and the bend). This adds to your sizing options.
Once you know the size you need, it’s time to sort through the various types of hooks. If you are going to be targeting large bottom fish, the O’Shaughnessy may be helpful to you. It is relatively thick, strong, and not likely to bend out of shape, with a very strong bend. They typically are found in sizes ranging between number 3 and 19/0, good for all types of saltwater fishing.