Anyone who has ever caught a fish has most likely caught at least one panfish before.
However, even a species as ubiquitous as panfish can be difficult to catch if you don’t have the right hooks!
Keep reading to find out what size hooks you should use for panfish!
Table of Contents
What Size Hooks for Panfish?
If you’re looking to hook up on any panfish in general, tie on a size 6 Aberdeen hook.
Anything from size 2 to size 8 will work, depending on the size fish you want! If you’re looking to maximize your chances, the smaller the better. If you only want the big ones, opt for a size 2 to weed out the smaller fish.
Medium to small size aberdeen hooks will catch you anything from Bluegill to Perch and anything in between.
However, if you want to target specific panfish species, you’ll want to dial in your rig a bit more than this!
What Size Hooks for Bluegill?
The best hooks for bluegill are aberdeen hooks from size 4 to size 10, depending on the situation.
Aberdeen hooks are great for live bait, whether you’re using worms or crickets. The thin wire on these hooks not only allows you to get unsnagged easier, but it also allows for a more low-profile presentation.
We recommend smaller sizes because bluegill have such small mouths. But, there are a few caveats to this.
First, if you’re wanting to catch bigger fish, you’ll want to use bigger hooks. This will keep the smaller ones from being able to bite your hook.
However, this leaves an opening for smaller fish to steal your bait without getting hooked!
If you find this happening to you, try using a bait holder hook in sizes 4, 6, or 8.
Bait holder hooks have 2 barbs on the shank, increasing the odds that your bait stays on your hook. They also have a shorter shank than an aberdeen hook, which leaves less room for your bait to move around.
What Size Hooks for Crappie?
The best hook option for crappie fishing is a #4 aberdeen hook. This hook will be strong enough to handle even the biggest slab but is small enough to keep your bait alive and kicking.
If your targeting larger crappie or using larger bait, go for a #2 instead. For smaller fish or a more delicate presentation, tie on a #6.
Many anglers will also use circle hooks for crappie instead of an aberdeen. Circle hooks are best for when the fish are swallowing your aberdeen hooks because they’re eating so aggressively.
They also work well for anglers who are a little overzealous with their hooksets. Since circle hooks set themselves, you won’t have to worry about setting the hook too hard and ripping the fish’s mouth.
The best size circle hooks for crappie are going to be #1, #2, and #4.
The intricacies of crappie tackle are pretty intense, however. If you want to know all there is to know, check out our more in depth article on the best size hooks for crappie.
Best Hook Size for Yellow Perch
The best hooks for yellow perch are bait holders in sizes 4 or 6. The bait holder is a great option for yellow perch because of its shorter shank and propensity for keeping your bait on your hook.
Yellow perch are very aggressive eaters, but also poor swimmers. The prongs on the shank of the baitholder will keep your bait on the hook, even if a perch smashes it but doesn’t manage to swallow the hook.
Also, the smaller shank increases the likelihood that the perch actually bites the hook. If you want to target larger perch exclusively, tie on a #2 baitholder.
Perch school up almost exclusively by size. So, when you catch one, you should immediately know whether or not you’re using the perfect size hook.
Perch tend to feed on the lower end of the water column, which is why some anglers will also use an octopus hook. The octopus hook is a classic for the drop shot rig.
Using a drop shot for perch will give you that pinpoint accuracy when it comes to bait placement. If you choose to fish an octopus hook for perch, go with a #2, #4, or #6.
Best Hook Size for Redear Sunfish
Redear sunfish sit somewhere in between crappie and bluegill, both in average size and feeding habits.
Consequently, the best hooks for redear are going to be right in the middle: #4, #6, and #8 aberdeen hooks.
Redear are not picky eaters, biting on anything from corn and crickets to worms and small minnows. So, if you’re not sure what size to choose based on the size fish you hope to catch, just match your hook to your bait size.
While they will eat most anything, snails and small mollusks are their favorite foods, which has earned them the nickname “shellcrackers”.
With this in mind, you can probably guess that the octopus hook is the second most popular hook style for redear sunfish.
By putting an #2, #4, or #6 octopus hook on a drop shot, you can put your bait right where redear are looking to score their favorite snack.
Best Hook Size for White Bass
While live bait is the best option for all the other fish on this list, white bass are most often caught on artificial lures.
Consequently, the tackle you use is going to differ a bit. The best hooks for white bass are 1/32 or 1/16 ounce jig heads with a soft plastic minnow trailer.
White bass are most aggressive during their spawning season, which is also the same time most anglers target them. During this time, they are more likely to go after a faster moving bait.
Because live bait doesn’t do well with a lot of movement, artificial lures are your best bet. Tying up a double rig with a jig head and a soft plastic minnow will net you plenty of fish during the white bass spawn.
Sometimes, white bass are so aggressive that they end up whiffing your bait more often than hitting it. If this is the case, tie on an inline spinner with a treble hook, like a 1/6th ounce rooster tail. The treble hook will maximize your chances of hooking up.
Best Hook Size for Warmouth Bass
Warmouth bass can be pretty hard to target, and you have a chance of catching them on any hook mentioned in this list.
They are aggressive and feisty fish, going after baits larger than most other panfish will eat.
I once got a warmouth on a 4/0 EWG hook while throwing a weightless texas rig targeting largemouth. But, I’ve also caught a warmouth about the same size on a size 10 elk hair caddis fly.
Considering the wide range of what a warmouth bass will eat, you’ll want to shoot for the middle.
A 1/0 hook with a medium sized soft plastic, like a finesse worm, will work great for targeting warmouth bass. It’s too big or most other panfish, but small enough that it won’t be too attractive for larger predators.
If you’re okay with a higher likelihood of catching other species, you can use live worms as well. A live worm on a size 2 or 4 aberdeen hook is a great choice. By using larger size hooks, you increase your chances of catching a warmouth instead of a smaller panfish.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
While getting your rig dialed will definitely help you target specific species, keep in mind that panfish are panfish. Each species has so much in common!
So, don’t sweat it too much if you catch one species when you were hoping for another. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself!
Download a copy of my FREE Lure Color Selection Chart & Knot Guide!
Stay up to date with fishing reports, tackle reviews, industry news, and much more! We respect your privacy, unsubscribe at any time.