Understanding Fishing Hooks Part 2 - Thickness and Gap | Louisiana Fishing Blog
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Understanding Fishing Hooks Part 2 – Thickness and Gap

In Part 2 we cover hook thickness, strength and gap.

If you need, refer to the diagram in Part One to know what part of the hook I am talking about.

Hook Thickness/Strength

Again, hook thickness is dependent upon the manufacturer’s specs, but for the most part they are all similar.

If a hook is denoted as being 1x strong then that means the hook has the same wire thickness as the next size up.

So if you are purchasing a No. 8 hook that is 1x strong it has the same wire thickness as a No. 7 hook.

A 3x 4/0 hook has the same wire thickness as a 7/0 hook.

differing hook thickness

Both are 3/0 hooks, but one is thicker than the other.

You want a flimsier hook that flexes for fish species with softer, paper-thin mouths, like a speckled trout. A thin wire hook produces a smaller hole in the fish’s mouth and won’t tear it up so bad the fish comes off.

Of course, this is used in conjunction with lighter tackle.

A trout with a severely damaged mouth may not be suitable for tagging purposes. If it dies after being released then what’s the point? This is why we know our hook specs and choose the correct thickness.

Redfish, on the other hand, require a much stronger hook. If you were to use a thin-wire hook on a redfish chances are good they will straighten it out or even break it. This is why I use extra strength hooks.

I have used a lot of different hooks for casting swimbaits to redfish. My favorite by far are Owner Beast Hooks and Owner Flashy Swimmer Hooks.

Hook Gap

Also known as “gape”, hook gap may not seem readily important. However, it’s just as important as hook size, especially when it comes to the size of the target species’ mouth.

You don’t want to use a hook that is too big! A 6/0 wide gap hook would never work on trout unless you were going after very large trout. But it would be perfect for redfish.

Hook gap is the distance between the shank and the tip of the hook. The wider the distance, the bigger the bait that can fit on it. I use wide gap hooks for swimbaits that have large heads and will not fit on a normal gap hook.

hook gaps and swimbaits

The purple swimbait is setup for failure. The hook gap is too shallow. The striped swimbait is where it’s at!

Both of the hooks pictured above are 4/0 weighted swim hooks. The difference between them is their gap size.

One has an extra wide gap and the other does not.

It seems like they would both work, but I am telling you the extra wide gap is the way to go with swimbaits this big.

This is because that smaller gap hook will cause a lot of missed hooksets. When fish strike the lure there is not enough gap for the lure to collapse on in order to expose the hook and enable a clean hookset.

A setup like the purple swimbait is not only weedless but also “fishless”.

That’s it for Part Two. Go on to Part Three.

About the Author Devin Denman

Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.

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