Getting Started 102 – Aberdeen hooks

Getting Started 102 – Aberdeen hooks

Sep 25, 2012

Hook tips:  The mostly good news on Aberdeen hooks

Use thin-wire  “Aberdeen” style hooks for more bites and hook-ups.

I love Aberdeen hooks, and I’m convinced that if more live bait anglers used them, they would catch more fish, straight and simple.

Understand that Aberdeen hooks are not for every live bait application, and you should know what you are getting with these fine wire hooks before you fish them!

Don't burden a newcomer to angling with oversized hooks. Scale down with light wire Aberdeen hooks to hook and land more fish.

The “good news/bad news” story on Aberdeen hooks is 1) they have a long thin-wire shank and sharp point that easily penetrates the mouth of most panfish (this is good!); 2) if you get caught in a branch or on a rock, they will usually straighten out and come free, and they are easy to return to their original shape (more good news!); but 3) (you won’t like this, but it’s not so bad!) the point will dull or even bend and blunt easily, so you may have to check them and sharpen them regularly or replace them a time or two after you snag up, and 4) (oh, no!) They may straighten out on a bigger fish until you learn how to set the reel’s drag properly and play a fish. (Don’t worry! You can do it!)

Still, the positives outweigh the negatives in most situations, and I can guarantee you that these light wire hooks will help you hook far more fish.

Though our target species in this discussion are “panfish” like bluegill, sunfish, crappie, perch, etc., I caught many, many largemouth and smallmouth bass and even quite a few walleye with size #6, #8 and even #10 Aberdeen hooks during my “live bait” years. That’s why I recommend Aberdeen hooks not just for beginners but for most simple and unadorned live bait presentations unless you are taking on toothy critters like northern pike and musky and, in certain situations, walleye.

Most major hook manufacturers make them, and you should not have a lot of trouble finding Eagle Claw, Mustad, Daiichi or Tru-Turn Aberdeens.

The best choice, from beginners to crappie pros

Here’s another endorsement for Aberdeen hooks. Most professional crappie fishermen I have worked with carry a large supply of Aberdeen-style hooks or the Tru-Turn style Aberdeen hook, which has an angled shank (“cam shaft”), in their tackle trays.

Set the drag properly, and you can land even hefty largemouth bass using Aberdeen hooks

Crappie love minnows. Crappie pros tend to use Aberdeen hooks in larger sizes like #4 and #2 on Double Minnow Crappie Rigs,

Dropshot Crappie Rigs, and below a float (bobber) not so much because crappie on average are larger than most other sunfish or because crappie have larger mouths than other sunfish, but because you will want a slightly larger hook when you are using minnows for bait. If you use a large or even medium size minnow on a #6, #8 or #10 hook, the minnow’s head may get in the way of the hook point entering the fish’s mouth.

Arm yourself with a full set of Aberdeen hooks from #10 down to #2. If you will be using medium size minnows, use the #4 and #2. If you will be using grubs (spikes, wax worms, etc.), redworms, and leeches, try #6 and #8 hooks. For nightcrawlers, use a #6 Aberdeen and hook them through the nose. You may even want to go to larger 1/0 or 2/0 Aberdeens or smaller #12 and #14 hooks if your bait is very small or the fish you are after are very small.

Remember, going light is bright in live bait fishing!

If you opt for another style of hook, just remember not to “supersize” it when panfish are your targets.    – Mike Pehanich

Missed the first lesson? See “Getting Started 101: Hook Line and Sinker” for terminal tackle basics!

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