Hooks are a critical component to any fishing situation. They are the first link connecting the angler to his quarry and require as much attention as any other piece of fishing equipment.
It is essential to match your hook to the size of bait and water conditions. Use these basic guidelines for hook selection:
- Small bait — small hook
- Large bait — large hook
- Slow, clear water — thin wire gauge hook
- Fast, dirty water — heavy gauge wire
Wire gauges range from thin (Raven® or Kamasan Sedge hooks) through medium (Raven®Specialist and Shrimp hooks or Kamasan Specialist B983 and Specimen Eyed hooks) to heavy (Raven® Wide Gape Specimen and Octopus Strong hooks or Kamasan X-Strong Specimen hooks).
For delicate presentations, a small thin wire hook allows the bait to flow more naturally with the current and is less likely to be seen by fish. In areas with lots of wood debris on the bottom, using a fine wire hook allows you to gently pull out of snags rather then dragging branches through the water (and spooking fish) or snapping your line. A softer rod (like the Raven® IM6 or Matrix) will help prevent thin wire hooks from bending or pulling out of a fish.
When the conditions are snaggy or in fast water, you’ll have to put heavy pressure on the fish to hold and turn them. In these situations, it is worth moving up to a heavier gauge hook to avoid having it bend open and pull out of the fish. Here, too, the rod choice is important. Your rod also must have enough power to properly bury the thicker hook in past the barb and muscle fish to the bank. The Raven® RV9 and IM9 are both ideally suited for these tough conditions.
If you find that the fish are biting lightly and dropping the bait quickly, moving down one hook size will usually help. If you are losing fish on, or shortly after the strike, it often pays off to go to a thinner wire hook – which penetrates more deeply on the hook set. It is time to up-size your hook if you are frequently losing fish during the fight, as larger hooks tend to hold better once they are properly set. Too be properly prepared, we recommend always carrying a number of hooks in different sizes and thickness to be ready for any situation.