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Fish Hooks: Parts That Make the Whole

By on Last modified: November 22, 2016

Enter a tackle store and you’ll find an overwhelming selection of fish hooks for fishing to choose from. You’ll find yourself staring at a plethora of fish hook styles and types, wondering whether it’s all just manufacturer marketing. The answer is, yes, a bit, but much testing and thought has been was put into the design of each of those styles and shapes.

Some of them are designed for fishing in freshwater, while others are best suited for saltwater. Selecting the right type of fish hooks for fishing mainly depends on the type of bait used and the type of fish being sought. To know which kind you need to purchase, it is essential that you have some basic understanding of all parts of the hook.

Fish Hooks

Hook Eye

The hook eye is a thin piece of metal that has a hole in the center. The thread passes through the hook and is knotted to attach it to the line. There are three basic types of hook eye: ring, needle and taper.

Hook Gape

The hook gape is the empty space, or the distance between the point and the shaft. The gape should be large enough to fit the required bait. A bigger gape is required when using a larger bait, usually when fishing for large types of fish.

Hook Point

The sharp end of the hook is known as a hook point. It’s located after the bend, it’s tapered and sharp, designed to penetrate the fish’s mouth. There are different formations specifically designed for catching different species of fish, with some hooks comprising of two or three separate points.


The shank of the hook begins from the base of the eye and goes all the way to the beginning of the bend. It’s the straight portion of the shaft on the hook and it comes in different lengths, depending on the angler’s needs. Short shanks are commonly used when dry fly fishing, because presentation and weight are essential. The short shank hooks are lightweight and small, causing a smaller change in appearance on the fly and movement. Medium length shanks are commonly used in freshwater fishing because they allow room for bait, both artificial and live, without weighing down the cast. And lastly, long length shanks are used when presentation and weight aren’t an issue, such as when fishing for large types of fish using bigger baits.


The barb is located at the base of the point and it’s designed to stop the point from slipping free of the fish. It’s small, sharp and pointed facing the opposite direction of the hook point.

When you consider all the parts that comprise a fish hook for fishing, you’ll certainly find your ideal hook. Gathering information online and talking to professionals does help, but at the end of the day, you should go with what works best for you.