What Size Hook for Surf Fishing?

I used to go surf fishing with my dad when I was 15; the sound of waves crashing against the shore and the joy of catching a bucket full of fish can not be explained in words. But now I struggle to catch a single fish and recently discovered I am not using the right hook. So, if you are also in the same boat and have no idea what size hook you should choose for surf fishing, keep reading this article.

What Size Hook for Surf Fishing


An ideal hook for surf fishing is the one that fits your fishing goals, target species, and bait preferences. 

In order to get your hands on the right hook for surf fishing, you need to understand a few things. Fear not; I will explain how you can choose the right hook size for surf fishing. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get into this.

What Hook Size Works for Surf Fishing?

Many people who love surf fishing would have this question in mind: what size hook should they choose for surf fishing? I had it, too, and what I have learned is if you want to enjoy surf fishing, it is essential to understand hook size measurements.

Whether you go surf fishing to pass the time, catch a bigger fish, or a specific species, the hook size will do wonders for you. One should consider a few critical considerations before selecting hook size for surf fishing. These are:

What Hook Size Works for Surf Fishing
  • Understand the hook numbering system.
  • What’s your target species? Match the hook size with your target species’ mouth size, structure, etc.
  • Lastly, grab a hook that secures the bait effectively.

I used to take any hook, waste hours and hours on surf-fishing, and come back home disappointed. But not anymore because now I consider all the factors mentioned above before grabbing a hook for surf fishing. If you are trying to find out what size hook is for surf fishing, the following details are for you.

Understanding Hook Size Measurements

I have been surf fishing for more than five years now, and if you ask me, I would say you can not choose a hook size randomly and expect to catch your target fish. You need to understand how hook sizes are measured.

Don’t worry if you have no idea how to do it because we are here to guide you. Two methods are used to measure hook sizes for surf fishing, i.e., the numbering method and the aught method.

Understanding Hook Size Measurements
  • The numbering method goes from #1 to #24. Where 1 indicates the largest hook size, 24 is the smallest.
  • While the aught system includes a digit followed by a slash and zero, it ranges from 1/0 to 12/0, where 1/0 is the smallest number, and 12/0 is the largest.

It is confusing at first, so I am sharing a table of consecutive smallest and largest hook sizes. You can get help from this table while shopping and selecting hook sizes for surf fishing.

Smallest Hook SizeLargest Hook Size

What’s Your Targeted Species/Fish?

Pro Tip

You will only be successful in catching your target fish if you choose the hook size according to the size and strength of that species.

So, before you grab your stuff and go surf fishing, collect the information about the mouth size and strength your target fish puts in a fight when they feel threatened.

Once you have done your homework, get a hook size that tailors all your needs. Here are some valuable tips that I find helpful regarding hook size for surf fishing, depending on the size of the fish.

Fish Mouth Size/StrengthIdeal Hook Size
Smaller & Weak Fish#1 to 2/0
Larger Fish6/0 to 8/0

Got a Bait in Your Mind?

The bait you choose for your target is another factor that significantly affects surf fishing. Make sure the bait you have looks tempting to the fish. Only then will it lure fish to your trap.

Think of yourself for a minute. Would you prefer a small bowl or platter of delicious food items? Obviously, it’s a platter, right?

Use the same strategy for surf fishing. Make sure you present enough food to the fish as bait to attract them to your hook without scaring them.

Got a Bait in Your Mind

Moreover, to catch the fish effectively, you must choose the hook size according to the bait you use. Here are a few precise hook size options you can consider for different kinds of baits.

  • If you are using sand fleas as bait or any bait that’s the size of a sand flea, then a smaller hook size would be perfect, like 1/0 to 2/0.
  • However, if you use shrimp as bait, go for a slightly larger hook, such as 1/0 to 3/0.

In short, you need to get a bait that persuades the fish to bite on it. Choose something not too small or too big for your target fish. Keeping the size of your target fish in mind will help you in choosing an appropriate bait.

Are you worried your bait is too big for the hook you have? That’s not even a problem if you got the wrong bait on your fishing day. Just cut the bait with a knife to make it fit the size of the hook you have.

What’s Best for Surf Fishing? Small Hooks or Big Hooks?

Considering the myriad available options, choosing an appropriate hook that fulfills your fishing goals is difficult. So, if the size of the hook also confuses you and you have no idea whether you should get a small hook or a large hook, then the following information will settle all your confusion.

Both small and large hooks can be used for surf fishing, but each has merits and demerits. I am listing below the pros and cons of both hooks I have experienced while surf fishing with them. So here you go.

Bigger Hooks Pros and Cons


  • Bigger hooks are perfect if you want to catch bigger and stronger fish. These hooks fit the mouth size of the bigger fish and also bear the robust fighting style of these fish.
  • Moreover, removing these hooks from caught fish is easy and does not harm the fish badly.
Bigger Hooks Pros and Cons


  • It’s hard to catch a fish using a bigger hook as the target is larger fish, and in surf fishing, you won’t find larger fish often.
  • Plus, it is easier for the small fish to steal the bait from the big hook and swim away, which reduces the chances of catching a fish.
  • The smooth surface of the big hook is another factor that makes catching fish nearly impossible with it. Even if the fish gets caught in it, it is a lot easier for the fish to free itself from the hook with a little fight.

Smaller Hook Pros and Cons


  • The most significant benefit of a small hook is that it attracts a broader range of fish, and you will catch plenty of fish in less time.
  • Moreover, smaller hooks fit both small and large fish, making them the ideal and perfect choice for several species.
  • A small hook provides better bait retention, and your bait won’t be easily stolen, unlike a bigger hook.
Smaller Hook Pros and Cons


  • Due to its small size, it can be easily swallowed by the fish, causing unintentional harm or even death of the prey.
  • Moreover, it is not a reliable option for larger fish as they are strong and can easily break the hook with just a few struggling moments to release themselves from the hook.
  • Handling and tying smaller hooks is a bit challenging for beginners, but with a little practice and accurate skill, you will learn how to tie it correctly.

Hook Size Recommendations for Surf Fishing Species


Going surf fishing with a hook size that matches your target species can maximize your chances of catching fish effortlessly. 

Hook Size Recommendations for Surf Fishing Species

I have prepared a hook-size table for you that includes almost all the surf fishing species. So, if you are struggling with finding an accurate size hook for surf fishing, the following table is for you.

Fish TypeRecommended Hook Size Best Bait 
Corbina#4 to #2Sand crabs, clams, worms, and shrimp
Surf Perch #4 to #2Sand crabs, clams, worms, and shrimp
Porgy #4 to #2Clams, squid, worms, and shrimp
Yellowfin Croaker#4 to #2Sand crabs, clams, worms, and shrimp
Bone Fish #4, #6, and #8 Shrimp, conch, crab, sardines, and worms
Pompano1/0 or 2/0Sand crab, shrimp, squid, and clams
Spanish Mackerel 2/0 or 3/0Sardines, squid, mullet, and shrimp
Snook2/0 to 4/0Pinfish, shrimp, mullet, and plastic worms
Blackfish 2/0 to 4/0Green crabs and shrimp
Flounder/ Fluke 2/0 to 4/0Squid, mullet, croaker, and minnows
Bluefish 3/0 or 4/0Eels, mullet, bunker, mackerel, and squid
Red Fish 2/0 to 5/0Crabs, porgies, mullet, squid, shrimp, and greenies
Codfish 4/0 to 6/0Clam, eels, crabs, and squid
Tarpon 3/0 to 8/0 Ladyfish, mullet, shrimp, crabs, and pinfish
Black Drum5/0 to 10/0Clams, shrimp, crabs, average sandworms, and shad
Red Snapper5/0 to 10/0Bonita, pinfish, tomtate, squid, shrimp, porgies, and minnows
Striped Bass 6/0 to 8/0Clam, eel bunker, herring, shad, and porgy


What size hook for surfperch?

Depending on the size and weight of the surfperch, a #4 or #2 hook is a perfect choice.

What is the best hook for surf fishing?

A 2/0 hook is the best for surf fishing among all the options. It is ideal because this hook size can catch both small and big fish.

Is a size 4 or 6 hook bigger?

In the world of hook sizes, the larger the number, the smaller will be its size. So, between sizes 4 and 6, #4 hook is bigger than #6.


Surf fishing is an enjoyable hobby, and if you are not good at it, it’s probably because of the wrong hook size. Therefore, it is necessary to understand factors like hook size measurement, your target species, and bait that fits the hook. We have covered all these factors in this article; feel free to take help from this guide and enjoy surf fishing like never before.

Moreover, we have included ideal hook sizes for different kinds of fish you may encounter while surf fishing. So, whichever fish kind you are trying to catch, we’ve got you covered. Grab your stuff, put the right size hook in your bag, and enjoy surf fishing.

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