Carp are willy, alert, wary, and easily spooked. This means that if you’re fishing this freshwater game fish, you need to be serious about hook size for carp. While the size of the hook for carp can range widely, some are serving you better than others, depending on the situation and fishing conditions.
This article will walk you through the best hook sizes for this carp to match various types of baits and the carp sizes. Read on to select the best option according to your needs.
What Is The Best Type Of Hooks For Carp Fishing?
There are quite plenty of options when it comes to choosing the hook types for carp fishing. Long shanks are most commonly used for bottom fishing, while wide gap hooks are preferred for buoyant baits.
Yet, most anglers will agree that the best type of hooks for catching carp is circle hooks. They are suitable for all carp rigs, baits, and fishing techniques. The main advantages of circle hooks lie in their shape. They come with a curved shank, which allows them to set easily.
Thanks to the curved shank, the tip of the hook can point towards the eye, which automatically generates a turning action without the need to set the hook.
Normally, the weight of the chosen sinker will do a part of the job by giving enough pressure to set the hook inside the carp’s mouth. This makes circle hooks a wonderful choice for beginners since most struggle to find the right moment to set the hook.
Plus, carp will find it hard to spit out the circle hook, so it’s less likely to see your fish slide away once hooked. Rotate the circle hook backward in circular motions in the other direction that it went in.
These hooks only reach the corner of the fish’s mouth. They won’t penetrate deeper, so the carp won’t swallow them. In other words, circle hooks are still easy to dislodge to some extent and won’t cause significant injuries to the fish. As a result, they are the go-to for casual carp anglers, who catch and release to hone their fishing skills.
How Do You Choose Correctly A Carp Fishing Hook Size?
The best hook size for carp depends on various factors. To pick out the right size and increase your chances of success, you should look at these questions:
- What type of rig is being used?
- What carp size are you fishing?
- What size of bait are you using?
- Where are you going to fish?
- What is the time of the year you’re fishing?
There are two measuring systems for hooks:
- System 1: Hook sizes range from 0 to 20. The higher the number, the smaller the fishing hook. This system is more widely used among anglers, and it is what we use throughout this article.
- System 2: Hook sizes can also be described in 0/0, called aught sizing. The higher the number, the bigger the fishing hook. Hooks will be listed as something like 3/0 or 4/0; a 4/0 hook is bigger than a 3/0.
The fishing hook sizes that most anglers use range from 8 to 4. Angling pros who are after record-breaking specimens (anything about 20 lbs or heavier) are also likely to shoot for a larger size. Yet, if you’re a casual angler who usually fishes in a pond or lake, you will be fine with a hook within this size range.
Hook sizes are not entirely universal. They can vary across manufacturers. This means that a size 6 carp hook from one brand might be similar to a size 8 hook from another brand. For this reason, you’d better look at the dimensions of the hook specified by the manufacturer before purchasing.
The time of the year when you’re fishing also plays a role here. During the cold months, carps tend to slow down their feeding because their metabolism drops. Therefore, you can use a smaller hook size and baits during this time of the year. In contrast, carp of the same size feed more vigorously during spring. That’s why larger baits can easily entice them.
It’s worth mentioning that carp are highly cautious creatures. They will swim away from visible hooks or whenever they feel something is off. So, if you want to play it safe all the time, it’s best to stay with a smaller hook size.
What Size Hook For Carp Fishing?
Best hook size when carp fishing with Bollies
Bollies come in different sizes, so there would be no one-size-fits-all hook. They often measure between 10 and 20mm in diameter. The bigger the Bollie you’re using, the bigger the hook should be, and vice versa.
- A 10mm Bollie or smaller should go with a size 10 carp hook.
- A 12mm Bollie can be used with a size 10-8 hook
- A medium 15mm Bollie should be matched with a size 8-6 hook, whereas a larger Bollie measuring from 18-20mm should be suitable for a size 6-4 hook.
- Anything larger than 20mm in diameter should go with a size 2 hook. These hooks are typically paired with a long hair rig and a wide gap hook for catching trophy carp. If you’re a newbie, there’s no need to go for such a large size Bollie and hook.
Best hook size when fishing with bobber (float)
Bobber rigs are a common choice for beginner anglers. You can use various baits while float fishing, but the rule of thumb is to ensure the hook size will match the bait of choice.
Bobbers are preferred for catching small-medium carp, so it’s unnecessary to go for a heavy setup. In this case, a size 10-8 hook would suffice. Don’t go beyond size 10 when fishing with bobbers.
Best hook size when carp fishing with corn, worms, bread, etc.
Simple baits such as corn, worm, and bread are also mainstays among carp fishermen.
Bread is not likely to entice a huge specimen and should be matched with a small hook size from 10-8. The best thing is that you can easily mold it around the hook to make it more discreet. That’s why many anglers prefer bread for surface fishing.
Corn is also a great bait option for its great aroma, attractive taste, and wide availability. Normally, because the corn kernels are tiny, carp anglers have to thread them onto a hair. As a result, they often hook more than one piece of sweet corn. Alternatively, you can pass the corn kernels directly through the hook.
If you’re using a hair rig, match it with a size 8 or 6 hooks. The general rule is that natural sweet corn is better with smaller hooks, whereas artificial ones should go with larger hooks. Since feed corn has large kernels, it is advisable to choose a larger hook. Meanwhile, canned corn often comes with smaller kernels, so you may want to downsize by 1 or 2 sizes.
Otherwise, if you want to put the corn directly onto a hook, it’s better to choose a smaller hook, size 10, preferably. However, we highly recommend the hair rig approach when fishing carp with corn.
When using worms, make sure the hook size is suitable for the worm size. For example, go smaller with size 8 if you cut the worms into tiny cuts, and go larger with size 6 or 4 with larger chunks or the whole worm.
What Size Hook For 10lb, 20lb, & 30lb Carp
As mentioned earlier, the carp size also dictates the hook size you should use. In general, you should use a larger hook when aiming for larger carp due to the thick and wide mouth. Are you after monster carp in the water? It’s best to amp up the hook size to increase your odds of hooking and landing the specimen.
Check out the table for the recommended hook size depending on the carp size you’re fishing:
|Recommended Hook Size
Small carp that weigh around 10lb have small mouths. Therefore, it’s recommended to match them with a small bait and hook. Any hook that ranges from 8 to 10 is a great option. Even though a carp within this size range can get hooked on a size 4 hook, this is not quite common but rather an irregularity.
For medium-sized carp, at 20lb, you’ll need to use a larger hook, from 6-10. It’s also important to factor in the bait size in the setup. Speaking from our experience, you’ll enjoy slightly more bites with smaller hooks (10 or 8) thanks to their low visibility. However, a larger one, such as size 6, will offer you a better hold, so you’re less likely to miss your target.
Then comes the real specimens – larger species that weigh 30lb or beyond. It would help if you chose larger hooks for a successful catch, ranging from 6 to 2 in size.
Carp anglers usually fish these carp with larger bollies. If you use a smaller hook, size 10, for example, there is a high chance that the fish can easily spit it out. In addition, larger hooks have the strength to hold up with the fighting of heavy carp.
Of course, there are a few exceptions here! You can be flexible in choosing a hook size that speaks to your needs and the fishing conditions. For instance, if you’re fishing in a weedy carp lake or a water spot with low visibility, you can increase the hook size a bit and still land fish with a more visible presence.
In addition, it’s not rare to catch a big-sized carp with a smaller hook, yet we do not highly recommend it. Bigger hooks not only adapt better to large baits, but they also help you select larger carp. Smaller hooks are great, but they can be more attractive to random, small fish species rather than your targeted big carp.
Barbless Vs Barbed Hooks: Which One To Choose For Carp Fishing?
There are two main forms of fishing hooks for carp: barbed and barbless. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, but we highly recommend barbless hooks.
Some fishing areas do not permit the use of barbed hooks. So if you plan to use this hook type, check out the local regulations before packing your stuff.
Once the hook is set in the carp’s mouth, it’s incredibly tricky to dislodge the fish. While this increases the chance of you landing fish, barbed hooks are not the go-to option for those who catch and release. The tiny barb on the point helps stop the hook tip from slipping backward.
This means that you’ll need to use pliers to release the carp after it lands, which will inevitably cause injuries to the fish. Therefore, barbed hooks are only suitable if you want to keep the fish.
In most locations, whether to go barbed or barbless all comes down to personal preferences. Nevertheless, it’s a requirement in some tournaments for the fishers to use barbless hooks to minimize injuries to the carp.
On the other hand, barbless hooks cause less physical trauma to the fish. They’re also safer for the angler. If you spend a substantial amount of time fishing, perhaps you’ve had a hook buried in your hand at least once.
On top of that, the ease of release will allow the fish to get back to the water more quickly. Yet, the easy releasing mechanism can be the downfall of barbless hooks. The carp can spit the hook out too easily, which reduces your chances of landing fish. Therefore, keeping steady pressure on the carp is advisable while reeling in to counteract this.
If you practice catch and release, barbless hooks are highly recommended. However, some anglers now also use micro-barbed hooks. They provide a superior hold in the carp’s mouth comparable to regular barbed hooks. These hooks are also easier to remove from the fish, which is something that regular barbed hooks fail to match.
We hope you can choose the best hook size for carp after finishing this article. In general, carp hooks that size 8 to 4 will be the most effective. Use barbless hooks unless you’re going to eat the carp. Carp are highly wary of whatever is in the water, so use a smaller size to make your hook more discreet whenever possible!
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.