How to Catch Codfish


The Atlantic Codfish


Both inshore and offshore. Inshore you can find them in areas of dense rocks, like a jetty, or even in areas that offer the protection of logs or kelp. Offshore, Cod tend to like areas that are not out in the open. You can often find them near rocky areas, as well as near wrecks, or any area where the ocean floor has some good hiding places. Cod tend to be somewhat relaxed when looking for lunch; very rarely will they aggressively seek out their prey. They instead wait for the fish to come to them, and they choose these areas with hiding places because the current draws smaller fish in.

About the Fish

Brown-green in color, Cod can be easily identified by their spots, as well as their lateral line. Comfortable from the shoreline to continental shelf, they can grow to be a little over 200 pounds. Cod are currently considered a “vulnerable” fish by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and they have recently become the center of some controversy in the fishing industry when the amount of fishable cod was drastically reduced to allow their numbers to replenish.


The bigger the better. Cod seem to be most drawn to clams, mussels, shrimp, and octopus. You also can’t go wrong with old standbys of baitfish and sea worms. For the smaller bait — like clams — make sure to bunch more than one together, since you are (hopefully) not catching a small fish. 


Every fisherman’s setup varies, but there are a few tried and true ways of fishing for Cod that help yield good results. A 50-pound class rod is usually a safe bet when fishing for Cod. A fast action rod ranging from 5 to 8 feet is a smart choice, and a 30 to 50# braid is great because its lack of stretch helps indicate to the fishermen when there’s something on the line. (With a braid of this weight, 16oz bouncing sinkers work well on the ocean floor, but you may have to change the weight of your sinker depending on the tide.)

A rig attached to the mainline with a 100lb swivel keeps things flexible, and a 4 foot leader (50 to 80lbs), drop hooks (with maybe a 5/0 bait holder hook on each), and some shiny teasers should round you out nicely.

Don’t hesitate to deviate from the normal rig and try something new.


Cod are attracted to noise. Try using a jig with a rattle or jingle on it.

Custom Fishing Rods – Podcast


John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. Today, I’m here with Joe Curcuru, manager of Fisherman’s Outfitter in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about custom fishing rods. Welcome, Joe.

Joe Curcuru:  Thank you for having me here today, John.

John:  Sure. Joe, what are the differences between custom rods and brand name production rods?

Joe:  With a custom rod, you’re paying a lot more attention to detail. They’re handmade, whereas a production rod is built by a machine, and there’s no real oversight. They’re all mass?produced to keep cost down and that sort of thing, whereas a custom rod is built to your standards, whatever you’re looking for.

John:  OK. What are the different types of rods and what types of fish do you go after with these different types of rods?

Joe:  These countless types of rods. You could build a million different rods and use them for every different application. It all really depends on what type of fishing you’re doing, and that’s what we base off how we build your rod. We can do any type of combination. Whereas, you don’t want to put a trolling rod with a spinning reel.

John:  What’s the difference? Say, you’re doing trolling, what type of rod do you need for that?

Joe:  When you’re trolling, you generally want to have a shorter, stiffer rod that sits in a rod older. Generally having a notched gimbal, so it can lock into the bottom of the rod holder, so you don’t end up losing the rod overboard. Whereas, a light spinning rod, you want to keep it as light as possible to keep the weight down.

John:  Does it tend to be longer and more flexible?

Joe:  The spinning rods generally are longer, more flexible, Because you’re using lighter lines and casting, you need to have a lot more flex to launch the lure.

John:  So it’s not just a one?size?fits?all kind of thing. Depending on what kind of fish you’re going after, you want to try to get a rod and reel combination that really targets that particular type of fish.

Joe:  Absolutely. Whenever you’re looking to get a combination for yourself, you should either do your homework or call a specialized shop like ourselves and discuss what you’re planning on doing. That’s how we, basically, build our rods.

John:  When you’re building the rods, what are the different components that you use?

Joe:  To start with a rod, you basically have your blank, which is the actual rod itself. Then you have all your different components. At the bottom, you have your grips. Some of them may have an aluminum bent butt, or just a regular straight cork or foam EVA?type of butt section.

Then you have, obviously, your reel seat, where the reel locks into.

John:  On the butts, what do you use a bent butt rod for?

Joe:  Well, a bent butt would either be used in a fighting chair or fishing out of a rod holder, that sort of thing. Mostly offshore, or some guys, especially that travel a lot, need to have a real short rod. They can use the aluminum butt, because they detach off the rod, so they break down for a smaller size for travel.

John:  What advantage does the bent butt have?

Joe:  It’s a lot stronger than a normal butt, and also having the bent section gives you more leverage and puts more pressure on the fish.

John:  Alright, /moving up from there, you mentioned the reel seat?

Joe:  The reel seat? Your aluminum butts basically have the reel seat built into them. But if you’re building, say, a spinning rod, you generally want to have a lighter material, so that you have usually a graphite reel seat with aluminum or stainless hoods. Or you could have aluminum ones. There are so many different variations for just the reel seat alone. You need these different colors if you want to match the colors of your boat or the colors of your truck, whatever you want to do.

John:  Are there any other components as you go further up?

Joe:  Yup. As you go up, you obviously have your grip where your hand sits when you fight the fish, and we could do many different materials, different shapes. It all depends on what type of fishing you’re doing. On a trolling rod, you generally want to have a longer 14 to 16?inch fore grip so you can reach up on the rod and still be comfortable, whereas a shorter spinning rod you want to have it small because you’re not putting your hand way up on the rod. That’s where the action is.

John:  I know there’s the little eyes that the line goes through. Are those different depending on the type of rod as well?

Joe:  There’s thousands and thousands of different types of guides. There’s your simple, just wire. That’s probably the most basic thing there is, and then you get into the different types of rings. There’s all sorts of different materials that’ll reduce abrasion on your line. Then you have the ultimate ones which are sealed ball bearing actual rollers that look like pulleys. That completely reduces the friction, and that’s what you need on the big heavy?duty trolling reels.

John:  If somebody is interested in getting a custom rod, what’s the place that they should start?

Joe:  The best thing they should do is give us a call, tell us what their application is going to be, what they’re targeting, how they’re going to be targeting them. Then we can go from there. Then basically just it depends on what your budget is. You could get crazy and spend a couple thousand dollars on a rod, but we, basically, want to get you what you need.

John:  Joe, thanks very much for talking with me.

Joe:  Thanks very much, John.

John:  For more information you can visit or call Joe at 1?800?500?TUNA. That’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Shimano Fishing Rods & Reels


John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Joe Curcuru, manager of Fisherman’s Outfitter in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Today we’re talking about Shimano fishing rods and reels. Welcome, Joe.

Joe Curcuru: Thanks for having me here, John.

John: Joe, tell me, why does Shimano perform better than other products?

Joe: Shimano is a specialty company. They make all sorts of different rods and reels and specialty tackle equipment. They really focus on high?quality materials and innovations.

John: What are the different types of Shimano fishing rods?

Joe: That’s one of the best things about Shimano, is they make all sorts of different price ranges. They have something for everybody. They make species?specific rods, technique?specific rods. They have a different fishing rod for every different application.

John: Let’s talk about a couple of those applications. If I’m going after, say, tuna, what type of rod would I use?

Joe: Most guys would use probably either a trolling or a stand?up type of rod. Now, people are getting into the whole jigging aspect as well. High?speed jigging with specialty jigs, what they call butterfly jigs, that’s a pretty exciting way to fish. You’re pretty much tied directly to the fish.

John: What’s a jig?

Joe: A jig would be like a metal, artificial lure with hooks that hang off the bottom or the top.

John: Are there certain rods that you would use for the jigging?

Joe: Yeah, you need more of a parabolic rod. The rod needs to load up to make the jig move right. That’s one of the things that Shimano got right. They made a whole line of rods and reels that specifically are for that type of fishing.

John: What about smaller game that you’re going after, whether it’s stripers or something like that?

Joe: See, they make all sorts of different surf rods, boat rods, and everything in between, spinning rods, conventional rods. They just really make everything.

John: So depending on what type of fish you’re going after, you really should go and try to get a rod that specifically matches that type of fish that you’re going after?

Joe: You should probably go in and feel the different types of rods to get a feeling for them, because each one feels different in your hands. One rod might not suit another person. It’s like a glove.

John: Shimano obviously makes great reels as well. What are the types of reels that Shimano makes?

Joe: Just all their other stuff, they make everything from low end to high end. They have everything in between. It really depends on what you want to spend. They make the absolute highest quality reels. They use the best materials and the best technology.

John: What are the different types of reels?

Joe: They’re anywhere from ultra light freshwater graphite reels to the heavy?duty big game aluminum trolling reels.

John: What are the different sizes for? I’ve seen these really small ones that are just maybe a few inches in diameter, and then I’ve seen these absolutely giant ones that have a huge crank on them. What are those different sizes for?

Joe: Basically, the bigger the reel the bigger the winch. If you’re going after, say, trout, you don’t want a big trolling reel. You want a little ultra light freshwater reel. That’s really the way to do it.

John: If somebody wants to know, “Hey, what combination of rod and reel should I use?” should they call you up and ask you guys?

Joe: Absolutely. Like I said, everybody has a different type of fishing technique. If you’re going after a world record, say, striped bass, then you want a real high quality reel that can hold a real light line and perform under every condition you need it to, then you’re going to need something different than for the every day weekend warrior.

John: All right, Joe, thanks very much for talking to me.

Joe: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me here, John.

John: For more information, you can visit or call Joe at 1?800?500?TUNA. That’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Custom Made Terminal Tackle and Accessories – Podcast


John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today, I’m here with Johnny White, owner of Fisherman’s Outfitter in Gloucester and Plymouth, Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about custom?made terminal tackle and accessories. Welcome, Johnny.

Johnny White: Hi John, how are you?

John: Good, thanks. Johnny, tell me what are the different types of terminal tackle?

Johnny: The different types of terminal tackle that we use in our business are line, swivels, leaders, hooks, and crimps.

John: Why don’t we go through each one of those, and talk a little bit about what they are and what they do for you? What is the line? What are the different types of lines?

Johnny: The line is a monofilament line that goes on your reel. We choose to use Momoi Hi?Catch, Diamond line and presentation line that we’ve been using for 25 years. We feel it’s the best on the market today.

John: Do you use different line for different types of fish that you’re targeting?

Johnny: You’ll use different size line on different sized reels, depending on what fish you’re targeting, we’ll constitute which size will you use.

John: The larger the reel, the larger the line that you have, the more thickness on the line. What is that? Is that the gauge of the line? How is that?

Johnny: It runs in diameters and pound tests. We use anywhere from 22 to 600 pound test. The most prevalent — 80, 100, 130 and 200.

John: You mentioned swivels. What are swivels?

Johnny: The swivels attach from the line to the leaders that you would use while you’re bait fishing, which allows the leader and the bait to not turn in the current when you’re fishing deep, mostly for tuna fish.

We also use snap swivels, tournament grade snap swivels that come off the line when you’re trolling. A snap swivel is a ball bearing swivel — 500, 300, and 200 pound. Again, the size, depending on what size gear you’re using, which snaps into the lures that you’re using, whether it be spreader bars or single lures.

John: They literally allow the lure to swivel around on the line and not get the line all twisted up?

Johnny: Correct. The lure will swim out in the water, the way it’s supposed to, and the line won’t twist up. If you don’t have a swivel, your line will twist up.

John: You mentioned the leader, that the swivel is attached to the leader. Tell me about leaders.

Johnny: Leaders that we use are made of a fluorocarbon, not monofilament, made by Momoi and Seaguar. The leaders normally used 10 to 15 feet while you’re bait fishing. The fluorocarbon is invisible, and also, is very, very tough, whereas monofilament is soft. The toughness comes into play when you hook a fish and the line. The fluorocarbon is rather on the side of the mouth of the fish. This fluorocarbon prevents that, most times, from chafing.

John: Would it prevent the fish from biting through the line, as well?

Johnny: Most times. It’s not that indestructible, but it helps.

John: What are the different types of, well, you mentioned crimps. First of all, what are crimps?

Johnny: Crimps are an aluminum sleeve that are very small in length. The crimping is the most important part of your terminal tackle. The crimp is used, instead of a knot.

If you crimp right, it’s 100 percent. Knots are not 100 percent. Each crimp size goes with each size monofilament in diameter. It is very, very important that you use Momoi crimps with Momoi line, or Jinkai crimps with Jinkai line.

John: Because the crimp is made to be used with that particular line.

Johnny: Yes. The lines, if they’re 200 pound test, the lines are a little bit different in diameter. Each brand is different in diameter. You’re going more by the diameter than you are by the pound test. It’s only off a little bit, but it’s very, very important that you use the right crimp.

John: You’re using the crimps to attach the lures onto the line?

Johnny: Yes. You’re using the crimps to attach the lures.

John: Without having to use the knot?

Johnny: That’s right. Any place where you’re attaching to a swivel or to the lures, you’re using a crimp.

John: Then, obviously, one of the most important things, other than the crimps on the line, is the hook because you’re not going to catch the fish without the hook on it. What are the different types of hooks that you recommend?

Johnny: We use three different type hooks. We use Gamakatsu, Mustad, and Ona hooks. There’s trolling hooks and there’s bait hooks. They’re small in size, and some are bigger in size. You use the bigger in size hooks when you’re trolling, and as small as you can possibly get, but yet, still have the strength when you’re bait fishing.

John: Well Johnny White, thank you very much for speaking with me.

Johnny: Thank you, John.

John: For more information, you can visit, or call Johnny at 1?800?500?TUNA, that’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Photo credit: Hilbert 1958 / / CC BY-NC-SA

How to Fish For Yellowfin Tuna

Fishing for yellowfin tuna here in New England is about as good as fishing can get. By no means is fishing for yellowfin easy; a great amount of travel, preparation, determination, and some luck are all necessary when hunting for this clever fish. For dedicated winter fishermen willing to go “over the edge” (otherwise known as going east of the continental shelf), the gulf stream offers yellowfins a great home. In sunnier months, the seasonal warming of the ocean allows them to spread out to the southern part of the shelf, known as The Canyon, and even to the surrounding areas a bit closer inland. The yellowfin is found in warm waters mainly, but they can also be found in more temperate places such as North Carolina, as well as in southern New England. Although it takes more travel than most coastal fish, those who love fishing for yellowfin find it all part of the fun.

Reeling a Yellowfin Tuna out of Water

So how do you reel in these big guys once out on the water? Chumming and trolling, mainly. Chumming, involves placing “chum” (made of fish parts and blood) in the water to lure the fish toward your baited hook. Trolling creates a flashier presentation, using different lures in various relationships to one another in the wake of your boat at a slow pace (6-8mph) to fool the tuna into thinking it’s found a nice school of fish to eat. Butterfish is common bait for chumming. Spreaders, daisy chains, and spreaders full of enticing-looking lures are most common with trolling, and you can’t go wrong with throwing some green in there, which is said to be extremely appealing to the tuna.

Make sure you know the average size of yellowfin people are catching in your target waters. Having the right reel is very important, and you don’t want to be stuck trying to reel in a hundred-pound fish with equipment that is too light. While gear in the 130-pound range is traditional, 50-pound class tackle is generally in the safe zone, since the yellowfins up north tend to be smaller than those found in generally warmer waters.

If you find that perfect sweet spot of gear, you and your fishing buddies may find yourself glad you packed your gimbal belt or back harness as you try and reel in multiple yellowfins at once. A definite battle, reeling this fish in takes time and patience … but if you are looking for a unique and challenging day of fishing, don’t hesitate to head out to the deep seas.

Photo credit: OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP) / / Public domain

Spreader Bars For Off-Shore Fishing – Podcast

John Maher:  Hi, I am John Maher. Today, I am here with Johnny White, owner of Fishermen’s Outfitter in Gloucester and Plymouth Massachusetts. Today, we are talking about spreader bars for offshore fishing. Welcome, Johnny.

Johnny White:  Hi John, how are you?

John:  Good, thanks.

Johnny:  Good.

John:  Let me start off by asking, what are spreader bars?

Johnny:  Spreader bars are a number of lures that are used, whether it be in a two foot, three foot or four foot long titanium bars. A group of lures called teasers are rigged off of the bar with the hook bait being in the last one to emulate a school of fish while trolling for any offshore species of fish.

John:  You have got the line that is coming off of your rod, and then you have got the bar going across horizontally. On that are strung what? Additional lines?

Johnny:  On that are strung additional lines of lures that anywhere from 9 to 15 lures, coming off the bar, in a pattern looking like a school of fish, with the hook bait being the trail lure about four feet behind the bar.

John:  What situations do you use spreader bars?

Johnny:  All trolling situations, whether it be for tuna, marlin, wahoo, yellow fins, durado. Any time you’re trolling, it’s good to use spreader bars, along with single lures.

John:  You mentioned teasers. You’re using these spreader bars as teasers. What does that mean?

Johnny:  The teasers would be part of the bar, on a bar that has 15 lures on it, 14 of them have no hook on them. Only one would have the hook, and the others are just splashing across the top of the water to look like a school of fish.

John:  So a teaser is a lure that doesn’t have a hook on it. It’s there just to lure the fish in. Tease them, if you will.

Johnny:  That’s right.

John:  How do you choose whether you have a certain color or a type of lure on them? You said you can have different kinds of lures hooked onto the spreader bars. How do you choose what do you want?

Johnny:  You can. You can have squids ranging from 9 inch to 18 inch. You can have all different kinds of lures that are used in trolling to put on a bar. Depending on what your high speed and slow speed trolling ?? slow speed, meaning that you’re fishing for giant blue fin tuna, which you should be fishing two to four knots, whereas, high speed is anywhere from four to eight knots, sometimes nine knots.

The higher speed you go, the smaller the lures, so that they can travel through the water the right way out the spreader bar. If you use too bigger lures, traveling too fast, your bars aren’t going to give you the action on top of the water that you needed to give. The lures would tend to dive down under the water. The faster you go, the smaller the lure.

John Maher:  That’s good. Do you also use different colors? Would you use different colors?

Johnny:  We do. We have about 12 or 13 different colors of squids. There’s probably different colors of feathers and jets that we use. It depends on where you’re fishing and what species of those fish you’re fishing for.

The yellow fins tend to like a lot of greens and a lot of oranges. The blue fins, especially the giant blue fins, tend to like darker colors, meaning black ?? which is the best color, black and purple, orange and green, dark green.

John:  You said there’s squids. Do you also use other types of lures, as well?

Johnny:  We do. The squids are a shell squid that are made to be on top of the water. We also use six or eight inch jets, they call them, that has a lure with holes in the top of it that the water pushes through.

We use lures that have a head with feathers on them. We use some imitation ballyhoo that are about nine inches long, and look just like a ballyhoo. We make a spreader bar out of that which looks like a school of a ballyhoo splashing through the water.

John:  Do you use different size bars? You have small, medium, and large ones? What are those for?

Johnny:  Yes we do. We use different size bars depending on the species of fish that you’re fishing for.

If you’re fishing for yellow fins, dolphin, wahoo, fish that are tend to be on the smaller size ?? smaller, being like 100 pounds and under. You’re trolling faster. You want to use a smaller bar whether it be a two or three foot bar.

Sometimes, a four foot bar but with smaller lures, so you can troll them faster. You use the four foot bar, which is our most popular, for giant blue fin and smaller blue fin, putting anywhere from 9 to 15 squids, all lures, on each bar.

John:  I know that they’re something called “A bird,” that you put on the spreader bar, as well. What’s that?

Johnny:  The bird is either a 9 or a 13 inch bird that we rig special, at the store. We put a bar through the middle of the bird. The bird has wings on each side.

What that does is it helps the bar float more so that you can let the lures out farther, and also creates commotion because of the wings. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to cause commotion in the water to make it look like a school of bait fish on top with the predator chasing it.

John:  All right, Johnny White, thank you very much for talking with me.

Johnny:  Thank you, John.

John:  For more information, you can visit, or call Johnny at 1?800?500?TUNA. That’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Different Types of Fishing Hooks

It has been said time and time again that there is no perfect hook for a specific kind of fish. That being said, there are some hooks that simply make more sense to use than others. A firm knowledge of fishing hook styles can go a long way when trying to find your perfect combination of gear. Below are some of the most common types of hooks that fishermen should know. Although there are different types within one style, not to mention countless other types of hooks that extend beyond this list, what follows will pave the way to excellent hook knowledge.


Great for bait fishing. Its lightweight composition makes it easily malleable, and with proper handling it can be removed from an undesirable location, or even the catch’s mouth, while still in the water.

Bait Holder Hooks

A basic and common type of hook. There are many variations of a bait holder hook, but usually most have a barbed shaft to keep the bait on.

Circle Hook

An increasingly popular because they prevent gutting when reeling in a fish. Too often with conventional bait holder hooks, the hook can be swallowed, harming the catch. The circle hook, with its short shaft and exaggerated circular look, is designed to be maneuvered around in the fish’s mouth when reeling it in, therefore sparing the fish if you wish to release it.

Jig Hooks

Their main classifier is the 90-degree angle you can find right under the eye.

Keeper Hooks

These hooks are somewhat of a specialty hook. The barb that comes off the hook eye is meant to jab into the plastic bait along with the hook point.

Octopus Hooks

Have a short shank like the circle hook, but are mainly used for bait fishing because of its lightness and size. Meant for live bait.

Siwash Hooks

In waters where you can only use one hook per lure, the siwash hook is a great replacement for the treble, and less damaging to the fish.

Treble Hooks/Dressed Trebles

Often used for trolling salmon or trout, a treble hook is more or less three hooks in one. Its thick shank is followed by three bends and hooks. A dressed treble is a more opulent type of treble hook, with decorative elements such as a feather to further entice the fish.

Worm Hook

Although there are many varieties, most worm hooks can be classified as rugged, with a slight bend below the eye. This helps to make them weedless, and versatile in any type of water terrain. These are used mainly for soft plastic bait.

3rd Fish from Scotland with Video!

Angus and crew have landed another Bluefin Tuna off the coast of Scotland. This is only the third to be hooked off the Northern Scottish coast. The fish took a 15 x 18″ Custom Fisherman’s Outfitter Spreader Bar


Items to add to your fishing trip checklist

A successful day on the water isn’t just about how many hungry fish there are. So much of a good fishing trip depends on how prepared you come. There are so many elements to consider when packing for your excursion; weather, location, type of fish you’d like to catch…they can all make a huge difference in determining what you bring along. However, there are a few basics that should not be overlooked. Add these items to your fishing trip checklist, and you’ll be ready for (mostly) anything.

Safety Precautions:

Not just for you, but for your vessel (if you fish by boat). An air horn, whistle, lifesavers, flares, life jackets, and other emergency gear are necessary to have when boat fishing. Regardless of where you fish from, having a pair of needle nose pliers, a small multipurpose knife, and a first aid kit is key–and can really save you in a pinch.

The tools you need to catch the fish:

These are the real basics: rod, bait, and a cooler to put your catch in. These items will vary greatly depending on what your aim is, but it’s always a good idea to bring a few rods and both live bait and some non-living bait to see what gets some bites. The cooler will ensure that your fish stay fresh as you continue to look for more.

A well-stocked tackle box:

This was covered in greater length in its own blog post a while back, but it cannot be stressed enough how important a fully stocked tackle box is! Along with your safety gear, your tackle box will hold spares of everything–line, hooks, anything that could possible get destroyed while fishing. You should have a few different assortments of bobbers, weights, plastic works, and other things to catch the eye of your prey. Beyond that, it holds the most top-secret tools of the trade…those favorite hooks and flys that help you in your fishing routine.

Weather Gear:

There is nothing worse than having to cut a trip short because your sunburn is getting unbearable, the bugs are eating you alive, or you are freezing. Know the seasonal conditions of the areas you fish in, and make a point to pack a bag full of some extra gear, just in case. It could be the difference between coming home empty handed, or coming home with dinner.

Photo credit: musicanys / Foter / CC BY-NC

Fishing Hook Sizes Explained

Finding the perfect sized fishing hook can be quite an ordeal. Classifications of hooks can look confusing to the most skilled of fishermen, with hooks that have similar numbers associated with them looking very different. So how do you know what to choose, and where to start?

First off, get to know the ins and outs of fishing hook sizes. An easy way to think about hook sizes is remembering that there are really two different systems for classifying them. One involves the “#” symbol, and the other involves a “/” symbol. When talking about the # classification, you would refer to it as a “number two hook,” whereas for the / grouping you would ask for an “ought,” – so 2 ought, 3 ought, etc. Both of these naming conventions start at 1 (there is no zero size) and increase numerically. So … #1, #2, #3 … and 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, etc.

Getting Over Some Confusion About Hook Sizes

Here’s where things get a bit confusing: The “#” grouping gets smaller in size as the numbers go up, and the / grouping gets larger. So, by this logic, a #2 hook will be smaller than a 2/0 hook, and so on.

Seems somewhat easy to remember, right? Well, there are a few more things to keep in mind that can throw you off when hunting for the perfect hook. Another tricky thing about hook sizing is the variables within the number classification itself. A #2 hook, for example, can vary from brand to brand, making no #2’s exactly alike. The number where each hook gets its name is derived from the distance between the shank and the point, but, as mentioned earlier, this can be different depending on the brand and style of hook. Similarly, there is no perfect hook size for a specific type of fish. Of course there are some basic guidelines. For example, if you are fishing for shark, you definitely want to go with a big hook, like a 20/0, but, as with most aspects of fishing, it’s all up to you, how you like to fish, and what gets you the best results.

When shopping for hooks, keep in mind that #’s go down, /’s go up, and that variation is everywhere. Since hooks are fairly inexpensive in price, buy a few that look like what you may need, and test them out on the water. That is the best way to test your knowledge of hook sizes and find what works best for you.

Photo credit: Debbi Long / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA