Skip to Content

Surf Fishing 101: The Right Size Hook For Surf Fishing

Surf Fishing 101: The Right Size Hook For Surf Fishing

Have you been asking yourself what size hook for surf fishing is? I’ve trawled the internet for the best information on surf fishing to get hooked up with the right tackle for your next day at the beach.

Here’s the inside scoop on fishing hooks for surf and beach fishers.

What Size Hook For Surf Fishing?

The right answer to asking what size hook for surf fishing depends on how deep you want to go. A 2/0 circular, inline fishing hook is the best choice for general surf fishing. If you want to get more specific, #6 through 2/0 hooks can be good choices depending on the species you are fishing for.

The Secret to Understanding Fishing Hook Sizes

In order to pick the right fishing hook, you need to understand how fishing hook sizes work in the first place. Let’s take a quick walk-through of how we number and measure fishing hook sizes.

The smallest fishing hooks use a numbered sizing system. This system is a little confusing for beginner fishers. The bigger the number is, the smaller the hook size is going to be.

This means that a #6 hook is smaller than a #2 hook. After #1, there are only even hook numbers in this size range.

Things flip once we get to larger hooks. For these sizes, we use what’s called the aught sizing system. This uses both even and odd numbers.

This means that a 2/0 hook is smaller than a 5/0 hook. The “aught hooks” are most commonly used for saltwater fishing and, you guessed it, that includes surf fishing.

There’s one last trick to keep in mind. Each fishing hook manufacturer has a different standard for these sizes.

One manufacturer’s #6 size might be identical to another manufacturer’s #5 hook. If you find some hook sizes that work for you, set one aside and use it to compare against other brands when you need to buy more.

It’s the Bait Presentation, Not the Size of the Hook That Matters

Here’s the next thing that you need to keep in mind when selecting a fishing hook for beach fishing. The size of your hook is less important than how you present the bait.

Think about things from the perspective of a fish looking for its next meal. It’s not thinking about looking for expensive hooks or the right size, it’s trying to find an attractive-looking meal.

Hook size has less to do with the size of the fisher trying to catch, then the space you need on the hook to prepare the bait in an attractive way.

Biasing towards larger hooks will give you the space you need to present bait in a way that’s going to attract more fish.

Targeting Specific Species of Fish

Here’s something that even experienced fishers forget when it comes to picking the right hook size. You need to consider what species of fish you are going after.

A lot of fishers tend to treat this ancient tradition as something of a grab bag. However, there are specific fish in the waters that you will be fishing in. You can select hook sizes that complement the species of fish you’re attempting to reel in.

As a general rule, bigger fish tend to need bigger hooks. If your hooks are too small, you risk gut hooking your fish which is something that no one wants. We’ll take a closer look at this issue later in the article.

Remember to research the species of fish that you will be going for ahead of time and select your hooks accordingly.

The Secret Formula for Surf Fishing Hook Sizes

Here’s a shortcut for picking hook sizes. This is the secret formula that even fishing guides use to select hooks prior to a trip out on the waves.

The right hook size works like this: A hook big enough for your target species + a hook big enough to attract display bait = the right hook size for you.

It’s that simple. You just need to pick a hook that is right for the fish, right for the bait, and you’ll have one that is right for you!

The Disadvantages of Smaller Hooks (And Why You Should Reconsider Using Them)

Smaller hooks have a huge disadvantage. It’s a problem known as “gut hooking.”

This unattractive term refers to when your fish swallows the hook. This is usually fatal for the fish even if they are alive when you throw them back. There are even serious debates about limiting certains waters to fishing for food only because of this and other issues.

As fishers, we want to preserve these waters, these fish, and this tradition for generations to come. Using the right hook size is a small step to more sustainable fishing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Surf Fishing Hooks

Don’t get snagged on these common surf fishing questions. Here are some answers to the questions every beach fisher has in the back of their mind.

What Size Weight Should I Use for Surf Fishing?

The right size fishing weight is going to depend on the conditions of the waters that you are fishing. Usually, this is a 4 to 5-ounce weight. However, if you’re fishing and particularly strong Waters you might want to consider going all the way up to an 8-ounce weight.

Are Circle Hooks Good for Surf Fishing?

Circle hooks are an ideal choice for surf fishing. Inline circle hooks reduce the risk of “gut hooking” and help to promote better fish recovery for catch and release fishing.

What’s the Best Bait for Surf Fishing?

Fresh and frozen bait are both equally good for surf fishing, but fresh is slightly better. The right bait will depend on your region and the target species you’re fishing for. You could consider shrimp, squid, or frozen fish as a general selection for a universal surf fishing bait.

Reeling in Surf Fishing Hook Sizes

The next time a friend asks you what size hook for surf fishing they should use, not only can you tell them it’s a 2/0, but you can also walk them through the ins and outs of surf fishing tackle decisions.

Keep in mind that it’s all about how you fish, not the gear you use. The best tackle in the world won’t overcome a poor bait presentation that doesn’t consider fish species near your shores.

Need more fishing tips? Check out our other articles to continue your journey to becoming a master angler.

About Me

Hi, this is Kent Walker. I am an outdoor enthusiast. I love fishing, hiking as well as kayaking. I write about my adventures in the wide open and what I learned about it.