What Size Hooks for Smallmouth Bass? Quick Guide

Pound for pound, smallmouth bass provide for some of the best fights that freshwater fishing can allow.

If you want to hook up on trophy bronzebacks, however, you absolutely need to know what size hooks work best for which occasions.

Keep reading to find out what size hooks are best for smallmouth bass!

What Size Hooks for Smallmouth Bass

A 2/0 EWG hook is the best hook for smallmouth bass. It covers a majority of situations and is versatile enough to fit multiple baits and techniques. 

You can put a number of different soft plastics on a medium-sized EWG hook, from stick baits and crawdads, to flukes and lizards.

size hooks for smallmouth bass

As their name suggests, smallmouth bass have… smaller mouths. So, using a slightly smaller hook than you would for largemouth will result in a higher hookup ratio.

However, if you want to target trophy smallmouth, you can go as large as a 4/0 EWG hook. Going bigger may lead to less fish in the net, but it will weed out the smaller ones. 

If you’re trying to maximize your chances, tie on a 1/0. Even the dinkiest of dinks should be able to get their mouth around a hook this size. 

Overall, an EWG hook in sizes 1/0 to 4/0 are going to be the most commonly used smallmouth bass hooks.

Best Live Bait Hooks & Sizes for Smallmouth Bass

Many smallmouth anglers lean away from artificial lures in favor of live bait. However, smallmouth will key in on different types of live bait in different parts of the country.

You will want to change your hook depending on the live bait you are using.

Aberdeen Hooks: Aberdeen hooks are a great option if you are using minnows, crawfish, or hellgrammites. Use anything from a size 4 to 1/0 depending on the size of your bait. 

Baitholder Hooks: Baitholder hooks are best used for nightcrawlers, wax worms, or anything small. The two prongs on the shank of the hook ensure your squirmy bait will stay secured to your hook. Baitholder hooks in size 4 to 1/0 should cover all your needs.

Octopus Hooks: Use octopus hooks when you want your bait suspended in place. Typically, anglers will rig up minnows on a drop shot to do this. But, you could use other bait types as well. Keep your Octopus hooks relatively small and stick to sizes 2, 4, or 6.

When you have the right tackle, using live bait can lead to some really exciting days out on the water fishing for smallmouth!

See Also: Fishing Hook Sizes & Types

Best Topwater Hooks for Smallmouth

smallmouth bass hooks

While live bait can put a lot of fish in the boat, nothing is more exciting than a topwater blow up from a big old small jaw. 

At the same time, nothing lets you down more than having a fish eat your topwater lure, only to miss the hookset because you had bad hooks!

Most topwater lures, from the classic Rebel Pop-R to the whopper plopper, come with quality treble hooks already attached. 

However, if you’ve had the lure for a while or you bought a budget brand, you will definitely want to put some replacement hooks on there. 

For medium sized topwater lures like the Pop-R, put on a #4 treble hook. With larger or oversized lures, like a whopper plopper, opt for a #1/0 treble hook.

Best Finesse Hook Sizes for Smallmouth Bass

Finesse techniques are sure to net you fish even on the slowest of days. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your finesse rigs, you need to pick the right size hooks!

Ned Rig: The ned rig has earned its spot as a top smallmouth lure, and for good reason. It brings the fish in! Throw your favorite ned rig plastic on a 1/16th to 1/8th ounce mushroom style jig or ned head for best results. 

Drop Shot: The drop shot is the perfect finesse rig for suspended fish or shy smallmouth hanging out around brush piles. When using soft plastics on a drop shot, opt for a drop shot hook in sizes 4 to 1.

Wacky Rig: While the wacky rig is more popular for largemouth, pressured smallmouth will clobber a wacky rig given the right presentation. You can catch smallmouth using a wacky rig on octopus hooks anywhere from size 6 to 2.

No smallmouth tackle box is complete without these three rigs. So, make sure you stock up on the right hooks!

What Size Jigs for Smallmouth Bass?

While it has fallen slightly out of fashion as of late, a soft plastic tube on a jig head is a tried and true method for catching smallmouth.

A soft plastic tube can be fished a number of ways and is great for those fish that have hunkered down deep.

Depending on how deep you want to fish and the current strength if you’re in a river, you can fish a tube jig head that weighs anywhere from 1/8th ounce to 3/4 ounce. 

Finesse jigs come in second when jig fishing for smallmouth. They work best in clear water, but can still catch fish in stained or muddy water. 

If you want to try a finesse jig, anything from 1/4 ounce to 3/8 ounce will work perfectly.

Time to Bust Some Bronzebacks! 

Smallmouth feeding habits vary all across the country, so you need to have a few different techniques in your tool kit.

Now that you know which size hooks work best for each method, you’re better prepared to experiment with each of them. 

So, get out there and net some smallmouth!

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