Which hook size?

Here is a quick breakdown of hook sizes to use with particular baits. This is for general information and just a rough guide as different manufactures have their own idea of what a certain hook size should be. This list though will be a good starting point.

Hook size 12

Hook size 10

Hook size 8

Hook size 6

Hook size 4


Recently we have been spoilt by the likes of ESP who have released excellent hooks. They where also the 1st to release hooks in non traditional sizes. These being odd sizes such as 5 and 7's. Many carp anglers do not like using hooks above size 4, fearing that larger sizes can damage a carp's mouth and there may be some truth in this. For most general bottom bait fishing situations a size 6 ESP Raptor may be all you will ever need. A wider gape pattern would be a better option for pop-up fishing. It is important to take a realistic look at your presentation and try to imagine it on the lake bed or even better still just drop your rig in a clear margin to see if the presentation is subtle. Carp are not stupid and presenting them with a rig that looks unbalanced will effect your chances of a pick up. An example of an unbalanced rig could be, for instance, using a size 4 hook with a grain of sweetcorn.

I know this is a unrealistic example but I have used this analogy to emphasize the point. One last point, change hooks regularly after a short time the point will blunt on gravel, clay, even weed can blunt today's chemically sharpened hooks. Today's chemically sharpened hooks will always be at their best straight out of the packet. You will never be able to sharpen the hook back to its mint condition. Always check the hook point after each and every cast! You will be surprised how many anglers don't do this, it is one of the most important elements in catching carp regularly. I worked at a fishery in France for a couple of years. This particular venue had a barbed hook only rule. I would often question this, not to other anglers but to the owner. His reason for having a barbed hook only rule was that he believed anglers using barbless hooks would "bully" the fish for fear of the hook falling out. Also he was afraid that the hook would fall out and re catch somewhere else. As an angler who cares greatly about carp I felt this view on this particular lake was the wrong one.

The lake in question had numerous trees and branches around its perimeter, the branches from the trees would often grow under the water surface by a few feet. In my 2 years I saved 5 tethered carp. These fish would have died, I am certain of that. The biggest was 45LB. I know that if these same fish had been caught on barbless hooks then I'm sure this wouldn't have happened. I always flattened the barbs whenever I fished and never lost a fish. Consistent steady pressure is the key without bullying the fish. If I had my own lake I would have a barbless rule and just make another rule, NO BULLYING THE CARP. I know this would save many fish. The situation is slightly different for lakes with no snags as the carp will just tow rigs around until either they lose them or they get caught again.

My favourite hook

Richard walkerwith a common carp

Established in 1974, Owner is a Japanese Company that produces highest quality hooks. Owner brand products are recognised the world over as being among the very best available. Super Sharp, Super Strong Hook. These hooks just scream quality. Must have the sharpest point of any hook out there. The Owner Iseama are my favourite hooks in size 6. I use them all the time and they have never let me down.

Sizes 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12