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The Complete Guide to Fishing Hook Sizes

The Complete Guide to Fishing Hook Sizes

Fishing hooks are a vital piece of equipment for any angler. Choosing the right hook size is crucial for effectively catching fish. This guide covers everything you need to know about fishing hook sizes for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Hook Size Chart

This comprehensive chart displays common hook sizes and their measurements in both metric and imperial units:

Hook SizeLength (mm)Gap (mm)Length (inches)Gap (inches)
#329 mm3 mm0.35′′0.12′′
#129 mm3 mm0.35′′0.12′′
#1110 mm4 mm0.39′′0.16′′
#1011 mm5 mm0.43′′0.20′′
#912 mm6 mm0.47′′0.24′′
#813 mm7 mm0.51′′0.28′′
#714 mm8 mm0.55′′0.31′′
#615 mm9 mm0.59′′0.35′′
#516 mm11 mm0.63′′0.43′′
#417 mm12 mm0.67′′0.47′′
#320 mm13 mm0.79′′0.51′′
#222 mm14 mm0.87′′0.55′′
#125 mm15 mm0.98′′0.59′′
1/034 mm16 mm1.34′′0.63′′
2/039 mm17 mm1.54′′0.67′′
3/042 mm18 mm1.65′′0.71′′
4/047 mm19 mm1.85′′0.75′′
5/052 mm21 mm2.05′′0.83′′
6/059 mm23 mm2.32′′0.91′′
7/065 mm25 mm2.56′′0.98′′
8/072 mm28 mm2.83′′1.10′′
9/078 mm31 mm3.07′′1.22′′
10/090 mm37 mm3.54′′1.46′′

How Fishing Hooks are Sized

Fishing hooks use a numerical sizing system to indicate size. The numbers do not always correlate directly with measurements.

  • Hooks sized #1 – #32: Higher number = smaller hook
  • Hooks sized 1/0 – 19/0: Higher number = larger hook

Hook size is based on either the gap width or overall length. Length ranges from 9mm (#12 hooks) up to 90mm (10/0 hooks).

Key Parts of a Fishing Hook

  • Eye – Connects the hook to the line
  • Shank – Length from eye to bend
  • Point – Sharp end that penetrates the fish’s mouth
  • Barb – Prevents hook from slipping out
  • Gap – Distance between shank and point
Choosing the Right Hook Size

Choosing the Right Hook Size

Matching hook size to bait, fish species, and fishing method is key for an effective set up.

By Bait

  • Large bait – Use larger hooks that can penetrate bait effectively. Large baits like chunks of cut fish or squid require a bigger hook to stay secured.
  • Small bait – Use smaller hooks to allow natural movement. Baits like worms, grubs, and small minnows match well with diminutive hooks.
  • Live bait – Smaller hooks minimize injury and allow movement. Live baits need room to swim naturally, so avoid hooks that are too big.
  • Dead bait – Larger hooks can handle tougher baits. Cut baits and strips of bait fish hold up better on sturdier large hooks.
hook sized for the fish's mouth

By Fish Species

Use a hook sized for the fish’s mouth. Larger fish need bigger hooks to handle their strength.


  • Panfish – #10-8; small hooks for bluegill, crappie, yellow perch
  • Bass – #2-2/0; match hook to baitfish size
  • Trout – #12-6; tiny hooks for flies and baits
  • Catfish – #2/0-8/0; big hooks for large cut bait


  • Snapper – #2-2/0; live bait hooks under 2/0
  • Grouper – #2/0-4/0; thick hooks hold up to pressure
  • Tuna – #2/0-10/0; vary hooks based on tuna size

By Fishing Method

  • Live bait fishing – Smaller hooks (under 1/0) allow bait to swim
  • Chunk bait fishing – Larger hooks (4/0 and up) handle cut bait well
  • Fly fishing – Tiny hooks like #18-22 match the fly size
Proper Hook Care

Proper Hook Care

  • Rinse hooks in freshwater after use to prevent corrosion
  • Store hooks on safety pins by size to stay organized
  • Sharpen hooks regularly with a file to keep points sharp
  • Replace dull hooks – use thumbnail test to check sharpness
  • Dispose of damaged hooks responsibly by recycling or cutting points

Key Takeaways

  • Match hook size to bait, fish species, and method
  • Higher number = smaller for #1-32 hooks
  • Higher number = larger for 1/0 to 19/0 hooks
  • Take care of hooks by sharpening and rinsing
  • Use the right size for ethical catch and release

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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