Types of Fishing Hooks: Ultimate Guide To Selection

There are many different types of fishing hooks. In this article we will go through each type and give a summary of the main categories of fishing hook and what …

There are many different types of fishing hooks. In this article we will go through each type and give a summary of the main categories of fishing hook and what they are used for including: bait hooks, treble hooks, circle hooks, Octopus hooks, worm hooks, jig hooks, siwash hooks and weedless hooks.

As well as types of fishing hook, we go over fish hook sizes, parts of a fishing hook and our favourite brands for various applications.

Parts of a fishing hook

Before we go into the various types, this illustration gives you a grasp of the various parts of a fishing hook, which we refer to throughout the article.

Types of fishing hook: a convenient guide

This graphic shows the main types of fishing hook, each of which is explained in more detail below.

Bait Hook

The standard type of fishing hook used in bait fishing, these often have barbs on the shank to help with keeping the bait fixed to the hook (see here for info on barbless hooks). These barbs on the bait hook prevent the bait slide off. Bait hooks come in a huge range of different brands and sizes.

Treble Hooks

Treble hooks are comprised of three hooks in one aligned along the shank. These fish hooks are used for lures and provide excellent coverage boosting the hook up rate in most cases. Crankbaits, jerk baits, spinners and many other types of lure are fitted with treble hooks.

While a treble hook is likely to lead to more hook ups in certain circumstances, be aware they are made of thinner wire that can be straightened more easily than a single fish hook, which is sometimes a better alternative.

A treble hook also causes more damage to the fish’s mouth, particularly when fishing large lures, and in some regions for some species you aren’t permitted under regulations to use a treble hook on your lures.

Here is some advice if you need to remove and replace treble hooks.

Circle Hook

Circle hooks are used for holding bait when fishing for species that tend to nibble at the bait or are hard to hook. The way the circle hook is structured means fish will often hook themselves without the angler having to strike. These types of fishing hooks are also less likely to be swallowed by fish aiding the release of undersized fish or fish that you don’t want to keep for various reasons. Circle hooks are a very popular choice for finicky species of fish.

Octopus Hook

Octopus hooks have a short shank with a slightly wider gape than the average bait hook. The other characteristic is the eye is turned away from the hook point. This helps align the shank parallel with the fishing line. An octopus hook tends to be a good choice for fishing for trout, salmon and other species with small mouths.

Octopus hooks are a very widely used form of bait fishing hook.

Siwash Hook

Siwash hooks are a type of long shank hook with a straight eye, which lends themselves to being a good replacement hook for trebles on lures. When you want to avoid snags or comply with regulations, you can swap out the treble hooks on your lures – such as spinners, crankbaits, spoons etc – for a quality siwash hook.

Worm Hook

As the name suggests, these fishing hooks are for rigging soft baits, in particular worms. Worm hooks come in a variety of types including: wide gap hook, extra wide gap hook, weighted and more. Worm hooks are used extensively in largemouth bass fishing where you have a fish with a large mouth that readily takes soft plastic baits including senkos, lizards and more.

Worm hooks are used for the famous Texas Rig, the Carolina rig and a range of other largemouth bass rigs used with soft plastic lures. A good quality worm hook is a bass angler’s best friend.

Jig Hook

These jig hooks are used to fish various types of worms and crawfish and come with a lead (or tungsten) weight mouded into the top of the shank for weight.

These fishing hooks come in different types (round, bullet and shakey) and in weedless varieties.

Jig hooks also come in a wide range of different weights such as 1/4, 1/6th, 1/8th of an ounce and so on.

There are also unweighted jig hooks available too. Jigging hooks are used widely in largemouth bass fishing.

Weedless Hooks

A weedless fishing hook is one where you have a piece of thin flexible light wire or thick mono line attached at the fishing hook eye to shield the hook point. This allows the lure or bait to be fish right in the midst of weed, logs, rocks or other structure without fouling up and getting snagged. The wire or mono is flexible enough that when a fish strikes it compresses it momentarily against the hook shank exposing the point of the fishing hook allowing the fish to be caught.

Parts of a hook

Before we describe the various types of fishing hooks available, we’ve broken down the various parts of a hook below in this illustration including the hook point, hook bard, hook eye, hook shank and hook gape or gape.

Fishing hook sizes

Fishing hooks are sorted by their size with one or two numbers. Fishing hook sizes can be a source of confusion for many anglers.

We will explain fishing hook sizes below to help avoid problems.

The numbers in fishing hook sizes start out at 32, which would be the smallest fishing hook that a company makes. As the numbers get small, the hooks get larger. A size 1 hook would be the largest.

Once you go bigger than size 1, fishing hooks have an “aught” designation. When fishing hooks are displayed with an aught designation, the larger the number, the larger the hook. In this case, a hook would be displayed as 19/0 in terms of hook sizes would be larger than a hook that is shown as 5/0.

Great hook brands for each type

Here in the table below are some suggested brands to choose when buying various types of fishing hook.

Best Bait Hook
Gamakatsu 05411 Baitholder Hooks
Gamakatsu 05411 Baitholder Hooks
  • Number one in fishing
  • Made of the highest quality material
  • Significantly increase your chances
Best treble hook
Mustad 3551-8-24 Treble Hooks
Mustad 3551-8-24 Treble Hooks
  • Wide gap, same size as comparable standard treble
  • In-line hook eye and point create 100% power hook sets
  • Unique bend forces fish into elbow, making it virtually impossible to throw the hook
Best Circle Hook
Mustad UltraPoint Demon Wide Gap Perfect in-Line Circle Hook
Mustad UltraPoint Demon Wide Gap Perfect in-Line Circle Hook
  • Wide Gap for the best hookup ratios
  • Easy hook removal, and more catches
  • UltraPoint Technology Means Sharp, Durable Hook Points
Best Octopus Hook
Gamakatsu Circle Offset Point Octopus Hook
Gamakatsu Circle Offset Point Octopus Hook
  • Highest quality material ensuring quality and durability
  • Offset Point
  • Made in USA
Best Siwash Hook
Gamakatsu 25 Pack Open Eye Siwash Hook(Nickel, 1/0)
Gamakatsu 25 Pack Open Eye Siwash Hook(Nickel, 1/0)
  • Open eye
  • Barbed
  • Great as a replacement for treble hooks
Best Worm Hook
Owner's Offset Shank Wide Gap Hook
Owner’s Offset Shank Wide Gap Hook


  • Offset Shank
  • Worm holder 90 degree bend
  • Black chrome finish to resist saltwater corrosion
Best jig hook/head
Gamakatsu 500411 Round 26 Jighead Sz1/0 NS Blk, 5-Pack, 1/8 -Ounce
Gamakatsu 500411 Round 26 Jighead Sz1/0 NS Blk, 5-Pack, 1/8 -Ounce
  • Significantly increase you chances of landing the catch
  • Made environmentally friendly
  • Used by professional anglers worldwide

Types of Fishing Hooks by Species

Different types of fish require significantly different types and sizes of hooks.

See below for links to our articles discussing selecting the best type of hook for the fish you are chasing:

Types of Hook for Different Styles of Fishing

The right type of hook to use in different fishing situation depends on a range of factors. Here’s some advice on the best hooks for drop shotting and the best hooks for wacky rigging stick baits.

Keeping Hook Points Sharp

To boost your chances of a hook up each time you fish, it is really important to make sure you keep your hook points nice and sharp. See here for our guide to sharpening hooks and if you don’t already have one, here’s a selection of great hook sharpening tools.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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