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Steelhead Fishing Hook Size: How to Pick Out the Right Size Hook

Catching steelhead isn’t a walk in the park. These fellas love to fight, and it’s all at the expense of your energy and self-esteem. Losing a fight against a fish isn’t a nice feeling; I’m telling you!

To successfully haul a 10-pound or more steelhead, you need to have the right hook size. Otherwise, you’ll see the fish coming close, but it won’t latch on to the hook, and so your efforts will be lost.

If you want to know what size hook for steelhead you should get, follow this article.

What Size Hook for Steelhead Fishing

If you want to catch a steelhead, you’ll need a size 2 hook. It’s the best overall size for steelhead, and it works for all baits and different fishing techniques. That said, if you’re using a particularly large or tough lure, you may need a larger hook size. In this case, you can opt for a size 1.

Likewise, if your bait is small or the steelhead you’re targeting isn’t large, you can always take a smaller hook. A size 4 would be excellent in this case.

If you’re still unsure, I’ll tell you what sizes are best for most steelhead fishing techniques.

What Size Hook for Steelhead Bead Fishing

caught steelhead

If you’re into bead fishing, the size of hooks you need should depend on the size of your beads. Here’s a roundup of the standard sizes and their corresponding hooks to give you an idea.

Bead SizeHook Size

Most anglers use 10- or 12-mm beads for fishing steelheads, which automatically means that a size 2 hook is the best all-around for this technique. Of course, you can use size 1 or 1/0, too, but size 2 is the most versatile.

Author Note: Generally, it’s better to opt for larger hooks with bead fishing because they prevent the beads from sliding down. If this happens, the hook may come loose in the fish’s mouth.

Not only that, but larger hooks are also better because they will cause the line to sink down faster. After all, you’ll be using beads, which have a lot of buoyancy.

What Size Hook for Steelhead Float Fishing

If you’re a veteran of float fishing, you’ll want to get a 2 or 4 hook to catch a steelhead. Still, it depends on the type of bait you’re using. If you’re using prawns, plastic worms, or sand shrimp, you can have a 1 or 2 hook. You may get a 4–6 hook if your plastic worms are large.

On the other hand, you’ll need to get a 6–10 hook if you’re using spawn bags and a 10–12 if you’re using a single salmon egg.

Author Note: If you’re using a different bait, just make sure it can completely conceal the hook so it’s not showing. This is an essential aspect of choosing the hook size for fishing. Besides, you’ll want to make sure it’s large enough to weigh down your bait, so your line goes down in the water quickly.

What Hook Size for Steelhead Flies

unhooking steelhead caught on fly

If you’re using steelhead flies for bait, a size 2 hook would be ideal for their size. However, any size from 1/0 to 4 will do, depending on the size of the fish you’re catching. Bear in mind that smaller hooks will cause trouts and similar species to latch on to your hook.

If you don’t want to waste your time with fish other than steelheads, stick to a size 2 hook for the best results.

What Treble Hook Size for Steelhead Fishing

If you intend on using treble hooks for catching steelheads, you’ll want to check the local regulations first. Unfortunately, most steelhead fisheries prohibit the use of them, urging you to switch to siwash hooks and other types.

Anyway, 2–4 hooks go well with treble hooks, depending on the size of your bait. But that’s only if your area allows it.

Understanding Fishing Hooks Anatomy

different types of fishing hooks

If you want to understand how fishing hook sizes work, you first have to understand their anatomy. Although there are different types of hooks, they all share the same anatomy. Here’s a rundown of their features:

  • The Point: This is the sharp end of the hook, which goes directly into the fish’s mouth
  • The Barb: This is the projection coming out of the end of the hook. It should prevent the fish from unhooking.
  • The Gap: This is the virtual distance between the shank and the point.
  • The Eye: This is the top part of the hook, where you connect your lure and line
  • The Bend: This is the bent part of the hook
  • The Shank: The shank is the thin rod that connects the eye to the bend.

Understanding Fishing Hooks Sizes

The hook’s size depends on two scales. One scale goes from 1/0 to 19/0, and the numbers are called the aughts. In this scale, the smallest number refers to the smallest hook.

The other scale goes from 32 to 1, and here, the smallest number actually refers to the largest hook. So, 1 is the largest, and 32 is the smallest.

Author Note: You can make matters easier for yourself and say that the hook sizes go from 32 to 19/0 since 1/0 is the next hook after 1. However, you won’t need to learn about hooks larger than 10/0 because these are seldom used for regular fish.

You can catch a shark with one of these. Besides, the ones larger than 10/0 are mostly used for saltwater fishing. If you’re only into freshwater fishing, you don’t have to bother with them.

There’s an important detail to mention, though. Hook sizes aren’t standard. So, a 6-hook from one manufacturer may be different from a 6-hook from another manufacturer. Not only that, but other types of hooks also have different size standards.

That’s why most professional anglers get their hooks from one place, so they know the accurate sizes they’re buying.

How to Choose the Best Hook Size for Your Fish

hooked trout

Choosing the hook size solely depends on the size of the fish you want to catch, your bait, and the water. If you don’t get it right, there’s a high chance you’ll return empty-handed.

Whoever told you that fishing is a game of luck lied. Instead, it’s a game of the right choices.

Top Tip: If you’re fishing trout or species in similar sizes, you’ll do well with 8–14 hooks, depending on the bait’s size.

For catching crappies, opt for 2–6 hooks, and upgrade to 6–8 if you want to catch carps. For small dry flies, you should opt for small hooks, ranging from 14 to 20.

For large fish, such as bass and similar species, you can get 3/0 or 4/0 hooks to be able to catch these tough fellas. Some tuna species will even need 12/0 hooks, but you won’t need those for any other application if you’re not a professional, so it’s better not to go there.

If we’re talking extra-large species, such as hammerhead sharks, you’ll need 18/0 or 19/0 hooks, and these require a great deal of skills and experience to use.

What Are Small Hook Sizes Used For?

Generally, the smallest hook sizes are rarely used, so most anglers don’t bother learning what they’re used for. 30-size hooks and smaller are basically tiny, and they’re usually the choice of adventurous anglers.

Needless to say, tying a little hook isn’t a walk in the park, so you need to be pretty passionate about fishing to do it.

If you want to know what these hook sizes are used for, anglers usually use them to catch trout and smaller species. However, they’re hard to deal with, so they’re seldom used. People typically opt for 14–16 hooks when they want small hooks.

What Are Big Hook Sizes Used For?

landing a caught steelhead

It’s hard to imagine someone fishing with a 19/0 hook. I mean, that thing is probably bigger than your hand palm, so fishing with it is undoubtedly challenging. Only professional anglers use such a large hook, and they use it mostly for shark specimens during offshore fishing.

Hammerhead sharks and similar species need large hooks to be caught, so that’s where 19/0s come into play. The hooks also need to be sturdy to handle the weight and force of the mighty fish.

You’d be surprised to find out that some manufactures make bigger hooks. Although 19/0 is at the end of the scale, Mustad once made a 27/0 hook, and it’s still available for purchase.

To Wrap Up

Steelheads are known for being hard to catch. A lot of people call them ‘the fish of 1000 casts’ because of how challenging they are to hook. On some days, you’ll just have to give up to the fact that you won’t catch one.

On other days, when you have the right hook size, your chances will be better. Now that you know what sizes you need for which fish, I trust you’ll choose the right one for you.

Generally, you can never lose with a 2-size hook.


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