Bass Fishing 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hook Sizes

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For experienced and first-time anglers, questioning the best hook size for bass fishing is a common dilemma. With the diverse types of hooks, ensuring you have the best setup can feel confusing and overwhelming. In today’s article, you will find quick answers and guidelines to help you choose the right hook size for bass fishing.  

Although there is a diverse range of hook sizes and options, the best hook size for bass will typically run between 2/0 to 4/0. Using a hook between 2/0 to 4/0 will provide strength and solid hooksets, yet small enough for adequate lure control and a natural presentation. 

Of course, that is just a general rule. For the more precise angler, your choice of the best hook size will depend on many factors, such as the size of your tackle, the lure, and the type of water you will be fishing. Below, you can find detailed information to understand better which hook is best for you.  

“Big” hooks vs. “small” hooks: 

Before diving into the type of hooks, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a hook’s size. Generally, smaller hooks will make lures look more natural and easier to control, but the hook needs to be big enough to set the hook on a bass. Meanwhile, too big of a hook will spook fish, feel clumsy to control, and increase your chance of missed strikes. Therefore, hooks between 2/0 to 4/0 can reach a sweet spot for bass fishermen.  

A good rule of thumb is to match your gear to your hook. If you are fishing with a lighter line, rod, and lure, you will want to use a lighter hook. If you are fishing with heavier gear, you will want a heavier hook. Shops (primarily locally owned ones) will sometimes have charts to help you match your hook to the rest of your gear, so don’t be afraid to ask for this resource.  

How is the hook’s size labeled?  

You’re going to run across two ways a hook’s size is labeled. The first is just a number, which falls within a range of 1-32. In this model, the smaller the number, the bigger the hook. For example, a size 2 hook would be larger than a size 8

The other option for labeling a hook’s size is with the “aught” designation, which will be represented by two numbers, such as 8/0 (“Eight-aught”). The bigger the aught, the bigger the hook. For example, a hook showing a 12/0 label is larger than a hook showing a 5/0 label.  

This can seem confusing because the two systems have opposite approaches. Just remember:

  • When labeled by a number: a smaller number equals a bigger hook. 
  • When marked by an aught: a bigger aught equals a bigger hook. 

Readers should note: once you’ve reached the aught designation, your hooks are now bigger than any numbered hooks.  Therefore, don’t look for a comparison between the two sizes- a 1/0 hook is bigger than a size 1 hook.  

Which hooks are best for different lures? 

Now that you know how hooks are sized, let’s discuss some hook options for bass fishing. Each type of hook will be more conducive for different lures, and the variations of hooks can feel endless. Here is a great place to start.    

Baitholder Hook

A baitholder hook will have prongs along the top of the shaft. These prongs intend to keep live bait, such as crawlers or worms, from sliding back down the shank and off the hook. These are very common when fishing with nightcrawlers or worms and are great for starters. Again, a smaller worm means a smaller hook. So if you are fishing with only a 1-inch cut of a worm, you can size down to a #2-#4 hook.  

Aberdeen (straight-shank) Hook

Straight shank hooks are excellent all-around hooks for bass fishing. Their straight shank style can work well when casting into cover, as their lighter wire tends to bend and pull through weeds. The straight shank also makes for easier hooksets due to the direct line from the hook eye to the angler.  

Offset hook

Commonly called a “worm” hook, an offset hook is simple. Rather than a straight shaft, the shaft will curve just behind the hook’s eye to form a Z-shape. This hook is very popular when using soft plastics and is among the most popular for any bass fishing.  

Circle Hook

These are growing in popularity with bass fishermen, as they are another option for live bait. The rounded shape of these hooks makes them difficult for fish to swallow, preventing gut hooks. Second, their wide gap and short shank make for a favorite hook for a wacky rig setup. If you’re at a shop looking for a circle hook, look for the hooks colored red.  

Octopus Hook

These look very similar to a circle hook, except the eye of an octopus hook will bend backward. Most commonly used for salt fishing, octopus hooks are increasingly popular for bass because they are an excellent option for the drop shot technique.  

Treble hook

the treble hook contains three prongs and is a popular choice for crankbaits. Crankbaits can be designed to cover a variety of water columns and can cover a lot of water fast. Just be careful not to hook yourself when lipping a bass caught by a treble.  

What hook size is best for soft plastics?  

Soft plastics are among the most popular lures in bass fishing, so this is a popular question.  You will want to use the smallest size you can get away with, so likely 2/0. A 2/0 hook allows you to manage your lure with finesse and ensures some strength for a quality hookset. Remember, if you go too big, the action of your lure will deaden and appear unnatural.  

What is the best thickness for bass fishing hooks?

The thickness or gauge of your hook will depend on where you are fishing. If you are fishing in a place filled with snags, the flex of a lighter wire hook will help you get out of snags. Again, you will want some compromise between strength and flexibility to ensure you can hold fish while getting out of cover or snags.  

How is the hook measured? 

There is no universal standard for measuring hooks, but generally speaking, a hook’s size is determined by its gape (the distance between hook and shaft) and shaft length. Different manufacturers will have their own way of measuring their hooks, but the hook sizes across manufacturers will be in the same ballpark. For example, a #12 hook made my Eagle Claw might be a slightly different size than a #12 Daiichi. This is why many fishermen prefer to pick a hook brand and stick to it.  


The best fishing gear is always a matter of preference and technique. However, the best place to start for the right bass hook will be between 2/0 and 4/0. Hooks within this range will provide strength while maintaining a natural presentation. Now that you have a place to start, it’s time to venture out and use various lures for various techniques. Have fun! 

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