Tackle Tip: An Inshore Hook Breakdown - The Fisherman

Tackle Tip: An Inshore Hook Breakdown

Each size hook has a different purpose and application.

Size by size hook breakdown for inshore fishing.

Back from my days working in the tackle shop, I could tell you one of the most commonly asked questions was what size hooks should be used for what? And while there is no perfect answer to this question – because different techniques require different hook sizes – there are some general guidelines to stick to that will make you more effective when out bait fishing. This breakdown will cover sizes from 1/0 through 9/0.


The smallest hook on this breakdown, the 1/0 size, typically comes into play when going for smaller inshore species such as porgies or sea bass. The smaller size of the hook is perfect for their smaller mouths, and I tend to use them more often for porgies rather than sea bass. A small piece of clam, worm, or squid will fit nicely on this size.


Another porgy and sea bass hook, in my opinion, the 2/0 might be a better fit when larger porgies are in the mix. This hook also is more appropriate for the typical sea bass you might encounter while fishing ocean wrecks. I’ve also used this size hook for fluke (summer flounder) paired with smaller Gulp baits in the past.


This size hook gets the nod for most of my sea bass fishing. You’ll be able to hook the typical keeper fish, but you’ll also have no problem setting the hook on that big 5-pounder. A lot of my bay fluke fishing also sees the use of this size, and I find it perfect for 3- to 4-inch Gulp baits fished with this hook on a Dropper Loop as a teaser. A good portion of my tog fishing is also done with this size as I find it fits smaller halves of crabs well.


When I start to target larger ocean fluke, and I begin to employ bigger Gulp and Fishbites grubs along with bigger natural baits, the 4/0 suits my needs better. The hook can still be used for jumbo sea bass and will do a fine job at hooking a codfish. The size also works well in the inline circle hook variation for smaller stripers with clam or worm baits. This one also comes out when I start to use bigger baits for tog fishing.


Large fluke, codfish, and small to medium-sized stripers come to mind if I’m grabbing a 5/0 off the rack of a tackle shop. The hook might be a little bit big for your bay fluke, but if you’re hitting the ocean grounds where the jumbos seem to congregate, this would be the size, in combination with big natural baits, is a good pick. The biggest of the blackfish I target also get a look at a larger piece of crab baits on a hook of this size.


The biggest grubs for fluke usually go on a hook like this for me and leave plenty of the point exposed for a good hookset. Medium-sized codfish will get a look at a whole clam belly fished on this size along ocean wrecks, and stripers will be clam bellies fished on the circle hook variation off both sandy beaches and backs of inlets.


Another clam belly hook for stripers, the 7/0 was always one of those in between sizes for me that usually didn’t see much play. The hook can also be used on smaller bunker chunks for striper or bluefish and makes another excellent pick for larger codfish on ocean structure. It’s also a popular size among anglers slinging eels for striped bass.


Medium-sized bunker chunks pair well with this size hook for stripers and bluefish. The hook also works well with a large clam belly for stripers along any ocean beach or inlet area. I do additionally like this size in the circle hook variation for casting live eels to stripers in my local inlets.


When I’m using larger bunker chunks for striped bass and bluefish, I tend to lean towards the 9/0 since it will be able to fit a bait much better and leave enough point exposed for a proper hookset. Those who catch legal sharks and rays off the beach sometimes like to use this size for chunk baits also during the summer months.

When it comes to brands, you have so many to choose from. BKK, Gamakatsu, Owner, and Mustad to name a few and we all have our personal preferences when it comes to brand. The scale on these hooks from company to company is pretty uniform as well. Also, keep in mind that if you plan to do any striped bass fishing with any of these sizes for bait fishing, you must use an inline circle style to stay within the law.



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