Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips What kind of hooks should I use?....Ocean City, MD
What kind of hooks should I use?....Ocean City, MD

“I’m going fishing in Ocean City, MD? What kind of hook should I use?”

There are so many hooks out there and anglers just don’t know which ones to
choose. There are long shank hooks, short shank hooks, curved hooks, circle
hooks and even hooks of various colors. On top of that, there are loose
hooks and hooks with snells. And to make it even more confusing, there are
hooks with different lengths of leaders!

“What kind of hook should I buy?”

Well this all depends on what kind of fishing you plan to do! If you are
going to target flounder, most anglers choose the Kayle or “wide gap” hook.
They are what they say they are. There is a wide gap between the point of
the hook and the bend. In fact, some companies call them “wide bend” hooks.
Anyway, they all look pretty close to the same, and are less likely to “gut
hook” a fish than a long shank hook. For flounder, anglers choose a size
#1, #1/0, #2/0, #3/0 and #4/0. If you are targeting only big flounder using
large flounder baits, go with the larger sizes. If you are also targeting
croaker, small trout, or whatever else might hop on your hook as well, go
with the smaller realm of hook.

If you are ONLY targeting croaker, use this same Kayle or wide gap style of
hook in a size #4 or #2. If the croaker are the only fish biting and you
are having a hard type extracting the hooks from the hard mouth of the
croaker, go with a Pacific Bass long shank hook. These hooks have more to
grab on to. Anglers use these hooks when they deal with fish that are hard
to unhook or that are likely to bite the leader off such as bluefish, sharks
and blowfish. For snapper blues, you want a Pacific Bass type hook in size
#2 through #2/0. For blowfish, size #4 or #6. For sharks, anywhere from a
size #1/0 to a #10/0.

I don’t understand the hook sizes.! What is the difference between a size
#2 and a #2/0!? Four sizes… Hook sizes start at #10 in salt water which is
the smallest and go up to size #1, then “0s” are added to them to
progressively make them bigger. So it goes like this from smallest to
largest: #10, #8, #6, #4, #2, #1, #1/0, #2/0, #3/0, #4/0….#10/0 …. The #10
would be the tiny hooks we catch little spot fish with, and #10/0 would be
like a shark or big striper hook. I can’t tell you how many times, in our
bait shop, I will tell someone to grab a size #4 hook for croaker, and the
novice will grab a #4/0 pack of hooks. A #4/0 is six sizes larger than a
size #4.

Every brand is different! So it’s a good idea to also “eye ball” those
hooks when you are buying them. For example, if you are fishing for bait
spot and need a little tiny hook to put on a little piece of bloodworm or
fishbite bloodworm, you want to look for a size #8 or #10 hook. Generally
the little bait holder type hooks on a pack of freshwater type snelled hook
is much smaller than a long shank type hook. Look for bronze or gold hooks
when fishing for bait fish. The hooks on a Sabiki rig that has 4 to 6 hooks
on a line are usually always the correct size for catching baitfish. If you
can’t find the right hook, always ask the clerk in the bait and tackle
store. They will point you in the right direction.

I’m taking the kids out back to Northside Park to catch spot or any little
fish that might be there. What size hook should I use?

If you are using bloodworm or Artificial Fishbite Bloodworm or nightcrawlers
and taking the kids to a shallow water area or in any of the canals around
Ocean City, use the small freshwater type hooks in size #6 or #8 to catch
spot, sand perch, or small croaker. Look for the bronze or gold hooks. Bear
Paw makes a flicker spinner hook in size #6 that is very popular in our area
for small pan-size fish. They are sharp little long-shank bronze hooks with
beads and spinner blades. Great for sliding on a bloodworm or nightcrawler.
I like these hooks for catching spot, but if you accidentally hook a nice
flounder, it is strong enough to pull it in!

I’m going fishing in the surf. What size hook should I use?

This all depends on what kind of bait you are using and what you want to
catch. In the summer months, there’s a lot of variety of fish out there. If
you are targeting kingfish, spot, croaker, small trout, or anything else
that will eat a bloodworm, Bloodworm Alternative, shrimp, or small strip of
squid, buy a rig made out of size #6 or #8 hooks. These can be either long
shank, or wide gap type hooks. Some people make their own rigs out of small
circle hooks in size #6 or #4. Whatever you use, use a small surf float
next to your hook to make it more visible to the fish and to keep it
slightly off the bottom away from the crabs. Only use surf floats in the
ocean. Do not use them in the bay.

If you are targeting snapper blues and sand sharks, use a long shank Size #4
to #3/0 with cut squid, mullet, bunker, or spot. If you are targeting
keeper stripers or large sharks, use a circle hook in the #4/0 to #8/0 or
even larger for big sharks. Use a whole bunker head, chunk of bunker, whole
squid, or whole king or croaker head.

How about tautog? An Octopus styled hook in size #2/0 is good.

How about sea bass offshore? A Kayle hook in size #1/0 to #4/0. Capt. Monty
on the Morning Star likes a 4/0.

“We’re going to “live bait” some eels for stripers and spot for flounder.
What size/type hook should we buy?

Many anglers fishing live bait like to buy loose hooks and tie up their own
leaders. If you do, buy an Octopus style hook for flounder, and an Octopus
or Circle type hook for stripers. Always buy “Lazer sharp” hooks. Generally,
hook sizes in the #3/0 to #4/0 range are good. You can buy some hooks such
as “Owner” brand already tied up with Fluorocarbon that is nice.

If you are buying snelled hooks, always look to see how long the leaders
are. You want shorter leaders up to 12-inches if you are putting them on a
top and bottom type rig. If you are fishing a single rig, you want to grab
the hooks that are 30 to 36 inches long. If you accidentally grab the long
leadered hooks and try to put them on a top and bottom rig, you can have a
tangled mess! (Look before you buy!)

“I see “All Purpose” hooks in the tackle store.” These tend to be Octopus
styled hooks. They will work for just about anything as long as you get the
proper hook size. They have a little more “shank” than the wide gaps, but
not as much as the Pacific Bass. I like them for tautog (1/0- 2/0) and
stripers (3/0 to 5/0). The smaller sizes are good for pan fish.

“What about colors of hooks? I see red, nickel, and black…”

Red is supposed to be a low visibility hook in the water. After about 3 feet
most of the red light is filtered out of the water. The fish sees the bait
and not the hook! Some anglers think this is all hoopla, but…. Gold verses
nickel-plated? I’m not sure, but the rule of thumb seems to be gold on
overcast days and nickel on bright days… But if you save your hooks for
another day, nickel will outlast the gold plated. Black seemed to be the
preferred hook for tautog and stripers.

Hooks, hooks, and more hooks…. If you just don’t know which ones to use in Ocean City, MD, ask
the clerk in the tackle store and he’ll be more than willing to help you

Need bait and tackle? Come see us at Oyster Bay Tackle, Ocean City, Maryland (410-524-3433) or Fenwick Tackle, Fenwick Island, Delaware (302-539-7766), OR Shop Online!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 01:01