best hook size for carp fishing

Best Carp Fishing Hooks - (Full Guide with Carp Fishing Hook Size Chart)

So unless you are extremely nifty with a landing net, you cannot catch carp without a hook. It is simply a fundamental piece of equipment in the world of angling.

With it being such a crucial part of a fisherman's arsenal, surely you should spend as much time and effort in choosing the best carp hook for your circumstances as any other part of your fishing tackle. Yet quite often, this key fundamental is overlooked by novice carp anglers.

This article will explain everything you need to know to choose the best carp fishing hook for your specific fishing situation. We have also created a handy carp fishing hook size chart for easy reference. 

Strapped For Time?

This article is an 11-minute read.


If you haven't got the time to read the full article. The quick answer to the question is as follows:


The best carp fishing hooks:

  1. Korda Wide Gape Carp Hooks
  2. Fox edges Arma point
  3. Korda X Longshank Hooks
  4. Fox Stiff Rig Beaked
  5. Gardner Dark Mugga Hooks

You can skip to more information on our chosen carp fishing hooks here.


Please read on to find out more on what to consider before choosing the best carp fishing hooks for your specific situation and to check out our useful carp fishing hook size chart.

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What to look for in a carp fishing hook

I guess a good place to start (and forgive me for potentially teaching you to suck eggs here) is to explain the terminology used when talking about different parts of a carp fishing hook.

The best way to show you this is via the following diagram showing the individual parts of a carp hook...

parts of a fishing hook

When choosing the best carp hook for your specific angling situation, a number of factors need to be considered. These include the following:

  • Hook size
  • Eye position
  • Hook gauge
  • Hook point angle
  • Hook gape
  • Hook shank length
  • Hook bend
  • Carp fishing hook brand
  • Hook colour
  • Barbed or barbless hooks?
  • The sharpness of the hook

Let's go through each of these factors and explain more...

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What is the best hook size for carp fishing

This question is difficult to answer as it depends on a number of factors. The 3 most important considerations when choosing the size of your hook are as follows:

  • What carp rig you are using 
  • What size fish you are going for
  • What sized carp bait you are using

How your carp rig dictates your hook size

With the emergence of new and innovative carp rigs being used in the angling world today, your choice of rig will sometimes dictate what hook size you use.

For example, a zig rig will fish better with a smaller hook and a Ronnie rig naturally will be more conducive to a larger hook.

You can check out our full and comprehensive guide on carp fishing rigs for beginners for more information on different types of rigs and how to tie them.

As a quick guide, however, check out the following table that summarises recommended hook sizes with certain rigs:

Carp Rig Component Guide

How carp size dictates your hook size

It may sound obvious but the larger a carp is the larger and thicker their mouths are. With this fact in mind, if you are fishing for the real specimens in a water you are going to need a larger hook to have a better chance of hooking a fish in the first place let alone landing it.

This isn't to say that you cant catch large carp on smaller hooks, it is just a case of increasing your chances of catching.

On the contrary, if smaller fish are your prey then a large hook has the potential to be overkill and may even spook fish. For this reason, a less conspicuous, smaller hook will be the order of the day.

How carp bait size affects your hook size choice

A really important factor of a successful carp rig is making the bait offering as natural as possible. If the hook bait sticks out like a sore thumb amongst your free offerings then a clever carp will simply ignore it.

For this reason your hook size should marry with your hook bait in order for the bait to be the focal point of the fish and not an oversized hook.

Check out this carp fishing hook size chart that provides a great indicator of what hook size to choose considering both fish size and bait size:

Carp Fishing Hook Size Chart

Carp Size

Smallest hook size (small baits)

Largest hook size (large baits)

0 - 5lb

20

14

5 - 10lb

16

12

10 - 20lb

10

6

20 - 30lb

8

4

30 - 40lb

6

4

40lb+

6

2

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What is the best eye position on a carp fishing hook

There are three different angles of hook eye in the vast majority of carp hooks. These are in-turned (pointing towards the point), out-turned (pointing away from the point), and straight.

What eye type you use is quite often down to personal preference. We prefer to use in-turned eyes due to the anti-eject properties of the line angle that this creates. You can also create this same angle using a straight-eyed hook and shrink tubing bending the line towards the point.

Straight-eyed hooks are more suited for bottom baits with braid being a good match to a straight-eyed hook.

Some carp anglers swear by an out-turned eye, especially when using pop-ups due to an enhanced presentation of this type of bait. It is particularly popular when using stiff monofilament and fluorocarbon hook-link materials.

The following picture shows the different hook eye types:

different hook eye types

Hook gauge

The hook gauge is simply just the thickness of the hook itself. A thick-gauge could make the hook too obvious to the fish and prevent takes. A gauge that is too thin could indicate a weak hook that is prone to snapping.

The majority of carp hooks on the market from reputable brands will provide the correct gauge to size ratio so for the most part you don't have to worry about this factor.

What is the best hook point type?

There are two main types of hook point type, or to be more concise hook point angle to choose from. These are straight point and beaked.  From our experience, the hook point type you choose is dependant on your rig choice.

Straight hooks have the advantage of being less prone to snagging so could be better suited to weedy waters. They are known to initially hook fish better but equally have more chance of fish dropping off compared to the claw-like beaked hook point. Straight hooks tend to be easier to sharpen out of the two.

Beaked hook points tend to blunt less easily and, as previously mentioned, seem to have a superior hook hold. Again, it is largely down to personal preference and experience to what hook point type you use as they both have their advantages and disadvantages, we have experienced equal success with both types.

the different hook point types

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The sharpness of your carp hook

Talking about hook points, one thing that is absolutely key to being successful at carp fishing is ensuring you are always fish with a sharp hook. Hooks can blunt by hitting general debris and vegetation within the water.

For this reason, we recommend you sharpen your hook between casts.  There are many hook sharpeners on the market today. One of our favourites is this one by NGT as it comes with a clamp and a pouch and offers great value for money...

HOOK SHARPENING VICE TOOL CLAMP WITH HOOK SHARPENER AND STORAGE POUCH

£14.99
£12.94
2 new from £12.94
Amazon.co.uk
as of 3 December 2021 18:06

Check out the following video that takes you through how to sharpen your hook effectively...

Hook gape

The gape of the hook is quite simply the measurement between the point and the shank of the hook. The gape width does vary between hook types.

There are hooks that are designed purposely to have a wide hook gape. These hooks tend to be the most common hook type amongst carp anglers as they are great for most angling situations. A wide gape suits a larger bait better such as boilies or large pellets.

A narrower gape does very much have it's uses especially when using smaller baits such as sweetcorn or maggots.

The following picture shows the two different hook gape widths: 

wide gape vs narrow gape hooks

Hook shank length

Similar to the gape width, different hook types come with different shank lengths and bends. The general classification for shank length is either just standard (sometimes called short) or long shank.

The standard shank is most commonly used in carp fishing however the long shank has its uses and is popular when fishing with particles. A long shank also tends to achieve a stronger hook hold than its shorter counterpart.

In terms of bend, there are either curved shank hooks or straight shanked hooks. Straight shanks tend to be used for the majority of carp rigs however curved shanks are critical for some more technical rigs such as the KD rig.

The following picture shows an example of the different hook shank types:

different hook shank types

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What is the best carp fishing hook colour?

One of the key attributes of a good carp fishing rig is its ability to be as inconspicuous as possible to feeding fish.

To help with keeping things looking as natural as possible it's good practice to match your carp hook colour to either the bait and/or the bottom composition of the water you are fishing so as to blend in.

The following are the most common hook colours on the market and when best to use each one:

  • Silver - Most commonly used with coarse fishing tactics such as float fishing for carp.
  • Black - The most common coloured hook in carp fishing. Good in most circumstances but particularly in silty or gravel-based waters.
  • Gold - Another popular colour with general coarse fishing tactics. Gold hooks can be a great choice when fishing with particles such as sweetcorn or maize.
  • Brown - Effective in muddy or sandy waters.
  • Dark Green - A great choice for waters with a lot of vegetation and/or weed present.

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Barbed vs barbless carp hooks

This is a subject that always has and always will divide opinion in the angling world.

Most fisheries will stipulate in their rules whether barbed hooks are allowed or not. Some may even prefer barbed (or micro-barbed) over barbless hooks.

It is very much a matter of opinion so what we will always advise is to follow the rules of the fishery. This is because they will always have what's best for their fish's welfare at heart when devising the rules on barbed hooks.

barbed vs barbless hooks for carp fishing rigs

What are the different brands of carp fishing hook?

As with all fishing tackle, there are certain brands that excel in certain areas. For example, Daiwa has a fantastic reputation for producing great carp rods and big pit reels. Shimano excel with bait-runners and Delkim bite alarms are top-notch.

In terms of carp fishing hooks, there are three key players that we turn to when looking at purchasing carp hooks and these are as follows:

The top 3 carp fishing hook brands:

All three of these brands produce hooks of all different types and sizes, with a number of options that tick the boxes detailed above. They also all have a good reputation for quality.

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Our recommendation for the best carp fishing hooks?

So, we finally get to our choices for the best carp fishing hooks on the market today. The five carp hooks below cover different hook types that are proven with different rigs and in different angling situations: 

#1

Best carp fishing wide gape hook

Korda Wide Gape Carp Hooks

Wide gape hooks are good all-purpose hooks that can cover most eventualities from fishing on the bottom to using pop-ups.


Korda has a great reputation for producing quality terminal tackle in the carp fishing market with these classic wide-gape hooks making no exception.

#2

Fox Edges Arma Point Wide Gape

Wide-gape straight hooks are a great option for fishing bottom baits. These hooks from the reputable fox are razor-sharp and have produced a number of fish for us in the past.


We recommend using these in either size 6 or 8 in conjunction with a boilie or large pellet.

#3

Best carp fishing long shank hook

Korda X Longshank Hooks

Longshank hooks are another great option when fishing with bottom baits. They are great to fish with particles but are just as effective with larger baits.


One of the real advantages of long shank hooks is the super-strong hook holds they tend to achieve. The longshank X from Korda is a great option and one we highly recommend.

#4

Best carp fishing stiff-rigger hook

Fox Stiff Rig Beaked

Stiff rigger hooks are a perfect choice when fishing with a pop-up presentation. Popular rigs such as the chod and hinged stiff rigs work perfectly with this type of hook.


The out-turned eye with a stiff-rigger hook really helps to ensure the hook is in the perfect position in relation to the popped-up bait.

#5

Best carp fishing curved shank hook

Gardner Dark Mugga Hooks

Curved shank hooks have fantastic anti-eject properties due to the angles created from the hook-link and the hair-rigged bait.


Certain, more modern, carp rigs rely on the shape of the curved shank hooks to maximise their effectiveness. Two examples of these rigs include the Ronnie Rig and the KD rig.


If you are thinking of using these rigs then the Mugga hooks by Gardner are just the ticket.

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When researching what topics to write about in this article, there were many questions asked of us that were frequently asked. As such, we have included a FAQ section to answer some of these popular questions:

FAQs

What size carp fishing hook should I use?

This largely depends on the water you are fishing, the sized fish you are fishing for and the size of the bait you are using. Check out our carp fishing hook size chart for more info.

What size hooks for small carp?

Small carp (between 0 and 10lb) would ideally need to be fished with a hook-sized range from size 20 to size 12 depending on the tactics and the water you are fishing. You can get more specific info on our carp fishing hook size chart.

What size hooks for 20lb carp?

Generally, a hook-sized range of between 4 and 10 should be used when fishing for 20lb carp depending on what tactics you are using.

What size hooks for 30lb carp?

A hook range of between size 4 and 8 is generally used when fishing for 30lb carp. Again, this depends on the tactics being deployed.

Can you catch big fish with small hooks?

Yes, you can but you are more likely to suffer from hook pulls with smaller hooks. To increase your chances of catching we recommend you use a hook size that balances, rig, bait, and the sized fish you are fishing for. Check out our carp fishing hook size chart for more info.

What are the sharpest fishing hooks?

All hooks from reputable fishing tackle brands will be sharp out of the packet. If you are worried about the sharpness of your hook we recommend you use a straight pointed hook and always sharpen your hook between casts with a good hook sharpener.

What size hook should I use with a 15mm boilie?

With a 15mm boilie or indeed any medium-sized bait, we recommend you use a hook size range between 6 and 10.

Are circle hooks good for carp?

Circle hooks aren't necessarily better or worse than other types of hook on the market. From our experience, circle hooks are better suited to predator fishing as they suit fish that turn away as they take the bait.

Carp tend to back away before swimming off which doesn't give any benefit to using a circle hook. The closest alternative we would use is the Korda Krank hook.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has given some insight into the importance of really thinking about your hook choice before you buy or tie your carp rig. This key decision can really be the difference between fish on the bank or a total blank.

Tight Lines!

If you need any fishing tackle please consider visiting one of our recommended online fishing tackle shops or our carp fishing tackle deals page.

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