Hooks are not the most technical piece of your fishing equipment but their importance is obvious. They look simple but how they perform is complex and define your outcome.
There are a number of options available from different shapes, sizes and colours so trying to pick the best carp fishing hooks can seem rather confusing.
Plus, there is a whole lot of jargon going on and you need to get hold of it to know exactly what you should look for.
This article is designed as a simple to follow guide to cover all of the main things a carp angler needs to know about hooks.
Once you’ve read through, you should have a much better understanding of what types of hook to choose to maximise your chances of getting carp on the bank.
Carp Fishing Hook Jargon explained
The eye is the small circular area that can be used to thread the hook. It can either open or closed.
For carp, I prefer a closed hook eye because it does not let the knot slip out. However, in a closed hook eye, you can have either a straight, in-turned, or out-turned eye.
If you prefer to use mono and stiff lines, then go with an out-turned eye. On the other hand, out-turned eyes are best for braided line.
It is the area between the eye and the bend of the hook. You will find either straight or curved shanks in fishing hooks. In addition, there can be short or long shank hooks.
You should go for short-shanked hooks if you want your baits to be hair rigged tight to the hooks.
On the other hand, long-shanked hooks provide an increased hooking angle, which can decrease the chances of a fish unhooking itself..
From the end of the shank to the barb or hook point is the bend. There are different kinds of bends in hooks, but I advise you to go with circular bends.
These have relatively short gape and that results in turning the hook points toward eye when there is a bite. This helps in a secure hookset and one that is in the lip of the fish most of the time.
As the name suggests, it is the pointy end of the hook. You can get straight or beaked hook points.
If you fish in areas with vegetation, go with straight points as they can cut through them and are less prone to snagging.
Beaked points are better-suited for gravel bottoms as they are harder to blunt and thus can withstand gravel better.
The length, sharpness, and thickness of the points are also important. Long points are generally sharper and thinner, but they are prone to breakage. On the other end, short points are thicker and more durable but they can be easily detected by the carp.
It is the distance between the shank and the point. It is not exactly a part of the hook. Gapes are either wide or narrow.
Wide-gape hooks are better for larger baits such as large pellets or boilies. Conversely, narrow-gape hooks are good if you are using smaller baits such as maggots.
Refers to the thickness of the wire used to make the hook. So, basically, a beefier hook has a thicker gauge.
The first thing you need to know about hook sizes is that they are not entirely universal. This means that a #6 hook from one manufacture can differ from another manufacturer. The difference should not be much but its worth noting.
The gape is usually what determines the size of the hook and it is given as a number. Up to a great extent, a higher number equates to a smaller size of the hook. So, a #20 hook would be minuscule relative to a #4. For carp fishing, you would mostly use #2 to #12.
From #1 hook, the next size is 1/0, then 2/0 till 10/0 which is big enough to catch a shark. This latter system basically measures the length of the shank and not needed for carp fishing.
Carp have a sharp sense of sight and they do detect big hooks, but you do require big hooks for these big fish. So, one thing you can do is to try to blend the hook in with the underwater features.
Dark Green Hooks – Blend well aquatic vegetation in high weed areas.
Brown Hooks – For sandy or muddy areas.
Black/Grey Hooks – Gravel or rocky bottoms.
Yellow Hooks – Camouflage better when using corn as bait.
How to Choose the Best Carp Fishing Hooks
So, there are a lot of different hook types and they have quite a few variants that affect their ultimate performance.
In this section, I will narrow go through the most common hooks for carp fishing as well as their use-cases.
Long shank Hooks
Long shank hooks have a straighter and longer shank profile. These hooks are good at providing good hook holds and make it difficult for the fish to eject the hook and bait. These hooks are ideal for bottom rigs such as the blow-back rig and D Rigs.
Long shank hooks do carry the off chance of bait being pushed too far away from the hook. However, you can rectify it by fastening the hair on the bend with a silicone tubing.
Modern long-shank hooks have Teflon coating and that not only prevents rusting but also reduces glare off hooks which makes them difficult to detect.
Curve shank Hooks
Curve shank hooks have a pronounced curve of the normally straight shank. Once sucked in, fish find it hard to get rid of it and this makes curve shank hooks one of the most used styles of hooks in carp fishing.
To get the best out of a curve shank hook you need to tie it to a highly flexible line such as a soft braid.
My own inclination with a curve shank hook is to tie it in an extremely forceful ‘KD’ style rig. This is because if you pull the hooklink and hair, the hook nearly sits at 90 degrees to the hook link.
Stiff Rigger Hooks
This hook type is easily distinguishable with its pronounced out-turned eye. This makes this hook perfect for fluorocarbon lines.
Traditionally, fluorocarbon and monofilaments were considered weak and were not suitable for a knotless knot to an inturned-eyed hook ut line tech has since come along way and there should be no problems.
Stiff rigger hooks are great for the increasingly popular chod rigs that many carp anglers now employ..
Wide Gape Hooks
This hook type has accounted for catching more big carp than any other pattern. What makes them so effective is their versatility as they can be used for many different setups.
Moreover, they are perfectly suited for both bottom baits and buoyant baits.
Their high strength to size ratio is also a reason for their popularity and the wide gape increases the chance of hold as the fish tries to eject the hook.
Barbed vs Barbless Hooks
Should you use barbed or barbless hooks for carp fishing?
This a debate that has advocates from both sides.
It is a divide we see among fisheries as well. As a result, you may come across fisheries that allow only barbed hooks and others that allow only barbless ones.
On the other end, there are fisheries that do not specify the hook type so, of course, it is up to you to decide which ones you prefer.
So, what are the bases behind this great debate?
Fish well-being has become a prime argument behind selecting certain bits of fishing gear like hooks. This is excellent.
In the case of our hooks, there are advocates for each type of hook both arguing that their preferred choice is better for the fish.
Those that prefer barbed hooks say that barbless ones move a lot when embedded in a carp’s lip.
This excessive movement during the fight causes damage to the carp’s mouth whereas a barbed hook’s hold is stronger and moves less.
On the other hand, there’s the the argument that even more damage is caused to a carp’s mouth when trying to remove a barbed hook.
Those against barbs also make the point of a barbed hook being more difficult for fish to eject, which can cause serious harm or death in the case of line breaks during a fight.
This last point has lead to many fisheries banning barbed hooks all together.
Which hook type should you choose then?
Of course, if fishery rules dictate a certain hook type then that makes your decision an easy one.
For times when you’re given the choice, it should come down to which hook type you feel you’re able to remove from the carp while doing as little damage as possible.
In many cases, the main cause of injury to a fish doesn’t necessarily come down to the barb or lack of barb. It comes down to the angler.
Too many anglers don’t really know how to remove a hook safely so end up causing damage to the fish no matter which type of hook they use.
Carp-care should always be a priority so learn how to remove your hooks properly before you put them in the water!
A Simple Hook Sharpening Guide
A strong hook hold can be the difference between you landing a carp and the hook pulling at the last moment.
As you can probably guess, you can only achieve a good hook hold if you have an ultra-sharp hook to work with. A sharp hook is also good for the fish as it causes less damage than an old blunt one.
However, you need to be mindful of the fact that just because you have a new pack of hooks, it doesn’t mean they are sharp. Or maybe they are sharp, but not as sharp as they could be.
Therefore, learning how to sharpen your hooks can make a big difference in your catch rate.
First of all, you need to have the right set of tools. You can buy a hook sharpening tool kit, like this one from NGT, or you can purchase them separately. These include a handheld hook vice, a sharpening tool, and a pouch to keep them in.
Once you have got all the tools, the next step is how to sharpen the hooks effectively and you’re all set.
The video below displays a simple way to sharpen your hooks properly.
If you want to get the best out of your hooks for carp fishing, sharpen them a bit after every session. This is because after they have been to water, they may have corroded slightly or become damaged.
Better than that is to renew your hooks after every session especially if you fish in gravel-laden lakebeds. This is because you can do a fair amount of damage to the hooks just by reeling in.
Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API