Fishing Hooks

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Hooks come in many shapes and sizes. The type you need depends on the size and fish you target and the tackle and bait used. There are hook patterns that cover carp, coarse, match and predator fishing.

We stock a big choice of fishing hooks and ready-tied end rigs, where the hook is perfectly attached to matching mono and ready for use.

If you are intrigued about hooks and rigs, this is the place to read about them. There are many ways of tackling up in angling, covering carp, general coarse, match and predator fishing. You need to have the right size, shape, thickness and colour hook at the business end of your tackle; otherwise, you will struggle to catch anything.

Another important aspect of hook design concerns the catch and release policy modern angling follows. Fish care is now prominent, reflected by many anglers and fisheries insisting on barbless hooks, which are less likely to cause any damage and are easier for fish to get rid of if lost.

When carp angling in the UK, most people use hook sizes from 6s to 8s. In Europe, anglers prefer size 2s to 4s, combined with boilies ranging from 12-18mm or 18mm-24mm, because their fish grow bigger and larger baits are needed.

Hook Basics

Most hook patterns have straight backs or shanks, with crystal or round bend shapes. A wide gap between the shank and the point is common for better hooking potential, while points tend to be either straight or beaked in slightly. There are eyed or spade end options, along with many colour choices. The design aspect boils down to personal preference and experience, having favourite hook patterns that work well for you, considering the species you fish for and the type of baits you like to use. A small hook suits small baits, stepping up in size to combine with larger offerings. If the hook colour or finish ties in with the bait colour, that can help to fool fish, as can using the smallest hook size you can get away with. Eyed hooks are used heavily in specimen angling and hair rigs because they perform better in these areas, while spade end models tend to be more match orientated for use with smaller baits and lighter tackle.

Hook Manufacture

The production process of making hooks has changed over the years. The chemically sharpened technique creates sharper and finer points. Etching is superior and more consistent, increasing point life, improving penetration and gaining a better hold when coming into contact with fish. The old method of tumbling hooks used to make some go blunt, while new nickel and Teflon finishing techniques make hooks much tougher and longer-lasting, making them less obtrusive.

Patterns and Designs

The design of hooks has evolved with time, taking into consideration angler's requirements for the best types of rigs for the species of fish they want to catch. For example, an eyed hook allows a hair rig to be formed when it’s tied to mono, while spade end designs simply look less obvious when presenting small baits like maggots, especially when tied to lighter and thinner lines. To catch fish consistently, the hook you use needs to be as inconspicuous as possible, helping the bait to behave naturally. Otherwise, fish won’t go anywhere near it.  

Another significant change in the way anglers pick the hooks they use is down to underwater video footage, showing how fishing rigs work. This has changed many opinions and made people even more aware of the first thing fish come into contact with; the hook is the critical part of the tackle to get right. If this item stands out by being too big and heavy, you will never catch the fish you dream about because they won’t take baits that look wrong.

Hooks Sizes & Wire Thickness

Sizing hooks is straightforward. The higher the number, the smaller the hook will be. Size 6s and 8s are the most popular gauges for carp fishing, using baits like boilies, pop-ups and big pellets. Coarse and match anglers tend to go smaller, especially when using less big offerings like maggots, casters and smaller gauges of pellets. Typical sizes in this area might be a 16 for a banded pellet, an 18 for a segment of a worm, 20 for a single maggot and a 22 for half-sized maggots (called pinkies). Wire gauge is also dictated by the size of bait and fish being targeted. Stronger hooks are obviously needed for bigger fish, tied to higher breaking strain lines, combined with attacking style rigs. But certain species won’t respond to these tactics, requiring much smaller and finer wire gauge hooks to fool them. Hook choice is a bit like a game of chess, picking the right pattern, size and wire gauge to perform the right moves regarding the type of venue and method being used.

Gapes & Bends

Wide gape hook patterns are undoubtedly the most popular designs. Wide gape hooks tend to be more versatile and suit a wider choice of different baits. In addition, this shape increases the chances of hooking fish, and you are presenting even if they only half-heartily pick up the bait. However, unless only targeting small fish, a narrow gape between the hook point and its shank can cause bumps on the strike or fish wriggling off on the way in. Bend shape can cause similar problems. The classic crystal bend, where the hook’s bend dips down towards the point, is renowned for gaining a good hold once a fish has been hooked. But some baits don’t sit right or straight on a crystal bend, which is why many coarse anglers switch to round bend hook patterns, particularly with smaller offerings like punched bread, soft hooker pellets and hemp.


Most models have a protective coating to stay sharp for longer and stop hooks from rusting. Some have a baked enamel finish, mainly used to achieve colours like red, blue, gold and green. This helps hook colour to match bait colour, but a painted finish can quickly wear off. Nickel or Teflon coating is more permanent and makes hooks less prone to blunting or rusting. Teflon makes products more expensive, but many anglers don’t mind paying extra for hooks that look less obtrusive, also being less prone to blunting and lasting much longer.

Eyed or Spade

Eyed hooks have largely replaced spade end models for big fish like carp and barbel. They allow stronger knots and combine better with higher breaking strain lines. Spade end patterns are used more by coarse and match anglers with much finer tackle, designed to fool wary species like roach, rudd, chub and bream. Spade ends the improved presentation with smaller hook baits and pulls more bites. Eyed hooks are more straightforward to tie than spade ends, requiring intricate knots. Many anglers use special hook tyers to attach spade end hooks to mono.

Finding the Right Pattern

The best fishing hook depends on your regime and the baits you use. As previously mentioned, big fish anglers use larger and stronger hook sizes to match their quarry and bigger baits. Match anglers prefer smaller sizes with thinner wire gauges to maximise as many bites as possible. Even when they make contact with big fish, match and general coarse anglers can still land them, providing their tackle is well-balanced. It just takes longer.

Hooks with a longer shank might be better for worms, stopping them from being completely masked by such a lively bait. On the other hand, shorter shank models are better for inert baits like pellets.

Feeder fishing is currently very popular and requires slightly stronger hook patterns. Spade ends are still used for conventional feeder fishing with groundbait or blockend designs. But in-line feeders like method, pellet and hybrid models tend to be combined with eyed hooks and short hook lengths. The sharp nature of spades can cut through short traces, plus smaller-eyed hooks allow superior hair rig formats.