When it comes to crappie fishing, selecting the right hook size can make all the difference between a successful day on the water and a frustrating one.
Choosing the right tackle is essential to landing legendary slabs and filling your cooler for the fish fry.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about choosing the best hook sizes for crappie fishing.
Table of Contents
Best All Around Hook Size For Crappie
The best all around size hook for crappie is a #4 aberdeen, or long shank hook. This style of hook is strong enough to handle crappie up to 4 pounds, and narrow enough to keep your bait alive with natural action.
Some anglers opt to go as large as a size #2 hook, and some go as small as a #6 hook.
For example, during the coldest days of winter, or during the hottest days of summer, crappie anglers often downsize their tackle for a more delicate presentation.
What Size Hooks For Crappie Minnows
Few things get the crappie biting more than live bait.
But, just using live bait isn’t enough!
Whether you’re using minnows, worms, or crickets, you need to make sure you’re using the right size hook.
You’ll want to get yourself some Aberdeen hooks in sizes #2, #4, and #6. These sizes will cover all your live bait needs.
Size #2 will be the biggest ones, so you’ll want to use those on your bigger minnows.
For small to medium sized minnows, go with a #4 hook.
Finally, a #6 hook will pair well with worms, crickets, and small minnows.
If you’re getting bites but struggling to hook up, change up your hook size.
What Makes a Good Crappie Hook?
Here are the key qualities of a good crappie hook:
- Thin Gauge Wire – Keeps your bait alive and on the hook longer, and it’s harder for crappie to see. Also, can bend out of a snag so you don’t need to cut your line.
- Long Shank – Makes it easier to unhook the fish
- Sharp Hook Points – Allows for more consistent hook ups
These are general guidelines that will steer you in the right direction when in doubt.
However, there are times when you need a hook with different qualities.
Best Size Jig Hooks for Crappie
While many anglers prefer to use live bait, soft plastics also have earned their place on the hooks of many in the world of crappie fishing.
Just like with live bait, your success with soft plastics will be in part determined by using the right hooks.
The best all around hook for a soft plastic is going to be a 1/16th ounce jig head. However, this comes with a few disclaimers.
There are a lot of different types of jig head and hook combos out there. Try not to get bogged down with all of the different aspects, especially if you’re a beginner.
Finding the right jig head size for the depth your fishing is the main thing you want to keep in mind.
- 1/32nd ounce – For really shallow water, under 5 feet, or dock shooting
- 1/16th ounce – For medium depths, under 14 feet
- 1/8th to 3/16th ounce – For deeper water, over 15 feet
NOTE: If your fishing in an area with a lot of wind, or current, you may want to go as heavy as ¼ ounce.
Ideally, your should choose a jig head that is just light enough to get your bait to the area fish are staging, without limiting the action of your bait.
There’s a little overlap here, so don’t think you’re locked into throwing one size exclusively for a specific depth.
The more you experiment, the more you’ll know what works best in your water. So, it’s important to try out different things.
Can I Use Circle Hooks for Crappie?
Jig heads and aberdeens aren’t the only terminal tackle folks use for crappie.
While you’ll see them a little less, many a crappie will be brought in on a circle hook year to year.
Some anglers look down on the circle hook because bait doesn’t last as long on them, and they’re more difficult to break free from snags than aberdeen hooks.
Even so, the circle hook does have a number of unique benefits.
If you find the fish are feeding really hard and swallowing your hooks, switch to a circle hook.
Gut hooking a fish is bad for everyone involved, and circle hooks are a great way to avoid this.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, circle hooks also work great when you’re having a tough time detecting strikes.
When a fish takes your bait on a circle hook, the hook will set itself when the line goes tight. Because of this, you don’t need to depend on detecting the strike to set the hook.
So, if you’re having trouble bringing them in on your standard aberdeen hook, try a circle hook and see how that works for you.
The best circle hook sizes for crappie are #1, #2, and #4.
Honorable Mention Crappie Hooks
While the hooks and sizes we’ve mentioned so far are the most common, they are far from the only hooks used.
Here are a few other options and why people like them:
Sickle Hooks are similar to aberdeens, except they have a more angular bend moving from the shank to the bend of the hook. This bend keeps bait correctly positioned on your hook. It also strengthens the hook, making it less likely to bend.
As mentioned earlier, some people like that aberdeens bend easily (especially when fishing around brush). Those who do not prefer a sickle hook.
Tru Turn Hooks: similar to the sickle hook, tru turns also have a modification to the shank to improve hook up ratios. They have a slight offset towards the top of the shank which makes the hook point more likely to pierce the fish’s lip in the right place.
Give these hooks a try, and you just might find your go-to crappie hook!
Don’t Forget To Check Your Hooks!
Experimentation will definitely help you figure out what works best in the area you’re fishing, but you don’t want to get too crazy with it.
Avoid using hooks that are too small, regardless of type.
Sizing down can be helpful if you’re getting your bait stolen. But if you go too small, you’ll start gut hooking fish.
You also want to make sure your hooks are sharp. If you can’t make a mark on your fingernail with your hook point, your hooks are too dull!
If you can, check your hook points before you buy them. Generally, it’s also good practice to check your hook points after a few catches.
Lastly, and this ties in with having sharp hooks, don’t set the hook too hard!
Crappie have notoriously weak jaws, so much so that they’ve gained the nickname “papermouths”.Setting the hook too hard can damage the fish’s mouth.
Get Out on the Water
Now that you know what size hooks to use for crappie, it’s time you get yourself out on the water!
Every angler should do their research, but knowledge really only comes full circle with practice.
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