Fishing Guide

Choosing the right hook

For many anglers, choosing a hook pattern comes down to personal preference and how they feel a particular hook works with their fishing style. There are things you should consider though, and we will look at these across a range of fishing methods.

When it comes to choosing a hook size, again there is an element of preference. As a general rule, match the hook size to the size of bait you’re using, and match that bait size to the species and size of the fish you’re targeting.

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Also known as a circle or closed gape hooks, a recurve hook is a type of fishing hook where the point is turned back towards the shank to form a circular shape.


  • The design of recurve hooks tends to be friendlier on fish, as they usually hook in the corner of the mouth. This makes it easier to remove the hook, causing less damage to the fish, making for a safer and healthier release.
  • This is especially important for undersized fish. If a fish is gut hooked, they are highly likely to die when you try to remove the hook.
  • Recurve hooks work well in shallow water but are ideal for fishing in deeper water (over 20m) when bites are harder to detect and striking the fish is less effective.
  • They’re ideal for kids in any depth of water, because the kids don’t need to strike to hook their fish
  • Recurve hooks are also effective for all forms of bottom fishing when the fish are biting, or actively feeding, as they will try to snatch the bait and swim off with it, usually resulting in the fish self hooking


  • Ensure the point and barb of the hook are visible once you’ve added your bait
  • When you feel a bite, don’t strike (yank the rod) as this will usually pull the hook back out of the fish’s mouth
  • Let the fish take the hook and bait. As the fish tries to swim away, the hook will usually roll into the corner of their mouth, essentially self-hooking them
  • Let the rod take the weight of the fish, then start winding in your fish
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Also known as suicide, octopus, or an open gape hook, a J style hook is a type of hook where the point remains parallel or close to parallel to the shank, creating a ‘J’ shape.


  • A J style hook will potentially increase your hook up rate, however it’s easier for an aggressive fighting fish to “throw the hook”. This is due to its open shape, or gape. Closed gape hooks (recurve hooks) generally hold fish better than open gape hooks.
  • J style hooks usually need to ‘set’ meaning you have to strike (pull the rod up sharply) when you feel the bite, or if the fish swallows the bait
  • They can be more effective if you’re trying to hide a hook in a bigger bait
  • This style of hook is very effective when the fish aren’t feeding hard, or when you’re fishing in shallow water (under 20m). Referred to as a “soft bite”, the fish will mouth the bait but aren’t actively feeding. You can strike the bait and achieve a solid hook up, hopefully in the mouth or jaw
  • A J style hook is always used for trolling lures as a fish caught on a trolled lure is very rarely gut hooked
  • They are ideal for fishing with any kind of bait, including live and dead baits, and can be used for most fishing applications. This includes shallow water straylining when fish are soft on the bite, or lure fishing as lures are usually moving when the fish strikes and you have a high chance of mouth hooking your fish


  • Ensure the point and barb of the hook are visible once you’ve added your bait
  • Fish with the reel in free spool, as this allows the fish to swim off with the bait
  • Strike (pull up the rod sharply) to set the hook
  • A slightly stiffer rod is useful when fishing with J style hooks as the strike is more dramatic and more likely to set the hook
  • If a fish swallows a J style hook, its mortality rate (or chance of a safe and healthy release) diminishes considerably, as the exposed point of the hook will often embed itself in the fish’s throat when being pulled out
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An offset hook is when the hook point is turned out slightly from the eye and shank of the hook. This increases the hook up rate but also the chance of gut hooking a fish. This is due to the hook point facing away from the shank of the hook and the direction of pull, so the chances of the hook point catching on the way out increases.

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Also called an inline hook, the point of a non-offset hook lines up with the eye and shank. Because of this, non-offset hooks decrease the chance of gut hooking a fish as they're less likely to get caught on anything when coming back out of the fish’s mouth/throat

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Choosing the right hook can make all the difference
Choosing the right hook can make all the difference



Strayline set ups typically use either 2 hooks or a single hook. The upper hook can be snelled in place, or it can be free to move up and down your leader. This second method can be useful if you have a wider variation in the length of the bait you’re using.

When it comes to your choice of hook pattern, you’ll find some anglers prefer to use ‘J’ style hooks or suicide hooks, while others prefer recurve hooks. Some anglers even use a combination of both.

Those that use ‘J’ style hooks or a typical suicide/octopus pattern tend to like striking when the fish bites or runs with the bait. Striking is a more aggressive lift of the rod tip to try and drive the hook into the fish’s mouth or jaw. You can let the fish run prior to striking, or if they are a little more finickity, you may choose to strike as you feel them biting. Our C Point® hook is a perfect example of a suicide pattern while the DX Point® or KS series are good choices as a straight-eyed ‘J’ style hook.

When it comes to recurve hooks, there are a number of reasons you might want to try these. The most obvious one is that they tend to hook the fish in the corner of the mouth and rarely hook a fish in the throat or gut. This makes for easier hook removal and is better for fish care if you want to release them.

If you’re a fan of using slightly lighter leader to achieve more natural bait presentation, that ‘hook in the corner of the mouth’ feature keeps your leader away from sharp teeth during the fight.

The shape of the recurve hook means you can’t strike at the fish the same way as you do with a ‘J’ style hook. If you’re too aggressive, you will more than likely pull the hook and bait right out of the fish’s mouth. As they start running with the bait, gently lift the rod tip, and when it feels like they are on, you can give the rod a more aggressive pull to make sure the hook has penetrated. Recurve hooks can be more about feel.

Recurve hooks can also be better as you get into deeper water, particularly if you are using mono as your mainline. It has a lot more stretch than braid, so the self-hooking feature of the recurve hook is more useful in this instance.

Our KL and KLT® series are ideal in this situation.

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When surfcasting, anglers have a number of rig styles they can use, but the thing they generally have in common is the use of recurve hooks.

When you think about surfcasting on a beach, the rods are often left unattended sitting in rod spikes with the drag set reasonably tight. This is where the self-hooking feature of recurve hook comes into its own.

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Live baiting is a method used for a wide range of fish species. It can be done in land-based situations, or it can be done from boats in both shallow and deep water.

You’re less likely to use a standard suicide/octopus pattern in this situation, but recurve hooks like our KLT® hook or ‘J’ style hooks like our GZ and LB Series are good choices.

If you’re fishing in deeper water with smaller baits, our GZ hooks, sized to match the bait, work well. If you’re fishing under a balloon with bigger baits, we’d suggest you use our LB Series hooks.

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As it suggests, deep dropping means a lot of distance between you and your hook. Therefore, it’s often difficult to know whether that ‘bump’ on your line is a bite, or whether you are just bouncing along the bottom.

This is the perfect domain for the recurve hook where the fish can self-hook. You don’t aggressively strike at the fish with this style of fishing.

For larger species, our heavy gauge Puka hook is ideal, but you can also use KLT® or KL hooks, depending on the species you’re likely to encounter.

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Paternoster or ledger rigs are a popular style of fishing, particularly as you get into moderate to deeper water. Typically, these are rigged with 2 hooks hanging off a central backbone, but single or triple hook versions are used depending on local fishing regulations.

Some anglers like to rig their own, but we offer a wide range of convenient pre-rigged options in this category, including our popular Snatchers® and innovative Snapper Snacks®.

These rigs can use both ‘J’ style hooks and recurve hooks, but it’s more common for recurve hooks to be used. The deeper the water, the more the self-hooking recurve hook comes into its own.

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Running rigs – sometimes called channel rigs – are ideal when there is a strong tidal flow. They have a sinker tied above a swivel with a single hook on a length of leader below that. This allows the bait to lie close to the bottom while it swings back and forth in the current.

Generally speaking, the stronger the current, the heavier your sinker. With that, you also use a longer length of leader, allowing the bait to cover a wider arc as it swings, covering more territory.

It can be a little harder to feel the bites with this style of fishing, so recurve hooks (like our KL and KLT® hooks) are preferred.

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