What Hook Size For Crappie? Basic Guide To All Types

Man holding a black crappie by the thumb

Ask ten anglers what size and type of hook they prefer for crappie fishing and you will get 6-8 different answers. Many prefer the long shank brass hooks and others like the red hooks. Shopping for hooks is enough to make you crazy, with all the colors, sizes, and shapes.

What’s the best Hook Size and Type for Crappie Fishing

Keeping the hook in the crappie’s mouth can be a challenge but fun.

We are going to discuss several different crappie hooks, which type of baits they work best with, and when is the best time to use them.

Crappie characteristics

Crappie is a large, strong, round-bodied pan fish commonly found in lakes and ponds that have large amounts of brush and vegetation. These large-mouthed fish are also called white perch, specks, and paper mouths.

Catching crappie is great fun, but keeping the hook in the crappie’s mouth can be a challenge. Even the most successful crappie angler has lost a fish because the mouth can easily tear. Thus, the nickname paper mouth fits. The best hooks for crappie fishing are smaller hooks with thin shanks and a fine edge sharp point.

Hook Sizing: A Brief Guide

Hooks come in all shapes and sizes, and choosing one can be confusing. Fishing hook sizes are based on wire gauge, similar to the American Wire Gauge guide used in the construction and manufacturing industries.

Generally speaking, a bigger number equals a smaller hook and vice versa  For example, a size 1 hook is much larger than a size 12 hook. However, different brands won’t necessarily match up exactly. Additionally, wire gauge and shank length have to be figured in when sizing hooks.

This means a light wire, long shank size one Eagle Claw will not be the same size hook as a Gamakatsu shiner hook in size 1. Even within the same brand, hooks with the same size label might be different sizes. This video explains the reasons why.

The best hook sizes for crappie

Using the standard fishing hook size chart you want to use a small gauge hook, usually a size 2, 4, or 6  for crappie fishing. Using tiny hooks can be a problem because as the fish swallows the bait, he will also swallow the hook.

This is called gut hooking and no matter how careful you remove the hook, the fish will probably die. Choosing the right hook also depends on the bait you are using.

Hooking a live minnow is easiest on a traditional design Aberdeen hook with a slightly wide gap.

Jigs work better on sickle hooks or a hook with a small bend in the shank. For PVC plastic worms, you want a big hook with a big gap.

Best Hook Style for Crappie

Depending on the bait you are using, you will need a light wire hook with a gentle bend that fits in the fish’s mouth and keeps the wriggling fish on the line. There are many different styles and shapes of hooks, depending on your fishing situation. We are going to explain each hook’s sizing, features, and usage below.

Aberdeen Hook

When most people think of a fishing hook, they think of Aberdeen hooks, made famous by Eagle Claw decades ago. This long shank hook has a gentle bend and a sharp, barbed point. The hook looks like a letter j. Variations of this classic design include bent Aberdeen hooks and the offset, or jig rig, Aberdeen hooks.

The classic Eagle Claw Aberdeen hook is still a favorite for crappie fishing. These light wire hooks have a continuous bend and a sharp point. These hooks are available in gold, bronze, or red and sizes from 1 to 10. For crappie fishing, we recommend a 2 or 4.

The Gamakatsu crappie hook is another traditional Aberdeen hook design to catch crappie fish. Available in a variety of colors, these thin shank fishing hooks are perfect for using live minnows or other live bait. Again, choose a size 2 or 4 to hook the big fish.

Variations of the Aberdeen hook include the sickle hook, which has an unusual bend in the shank, and the 90° jig hook which has a right angle bend just below the eye. Again, choose a size 2 or 4 Eagle Claw hook for crappie fishing.

Circle Hook

You will have no trouble turning bites into catches with circle hooks. This fishing hook is not a new thing; they have been used for centuries and first became popular with today’s saltwater fishermen who needed to keep leaping fish like a marlin on the hook. The circle hook’s most recent evolution is in crappie fishing hooks. The Mustad circle hook or octopus hook allows you to catch more fish. These unique hooks are round and the sharp point is bent to face the shank. The crappie actually hooks itself as it turns to swim away. The unique shape of the hook creates a kind of locking technology that keeps the fish on the hook until you remove it by twisting the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Mustad hooks are quickly becoming popular when fishing for crappie.

Tru-Turn Hook

Tru turn hooks have a unique design that allows leverage to turn the hook in the fish’s mouth. They look like other fishing hooks, but these hooks rotate toward the pressure of the bite, placing the hook in the corner of the crappie’s mouth every time.

Hook Color

In the past, hooks came in one color. Then people started using more metals and different colored hooks evolved. Now, through the addition of alloys and coloring agents, hooks come in just about any color you can imagine. Some anglers swear red colored hooks work best when using nightcrawlers because the hook is the same color as the bait. In our experience, hook color does not seem to affect crappie fishing.

Final thoughts on the best hook sizes and types for crappie

white crappie on green life jacket
It is important to match hook sizes for crappie to the size of the fish.

There are as many sizes, colors, and brands of hooks are there are types of sunfish. If you want to be prepared for any fishing situation, you might want to start a complete collection of the different types of hooks and learn to use each one. Always remember to match hook sizes for crappie to the size of the fish. Smaller fish need smaller hooks, but you might catch large crappie on large minnows a number 1 or number 2 hook. You also need to match the hook to the bait. Minnows are best hooked on Aberdeen-style hooks. Rubber worms do best on hooks with a large gap and a small offset at the eye. No matter which hooks you choose, make sure you present the bait to the crappie by suspending it or landing it in the fish bed.  While there are cheap hooks on the market, a good hook will have a sharp point right out of the package.

Author

  • Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He is a regular on fly fishing podcasts and appeared in the international fly fishing film Predator.

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