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How To Select the Right Hook for Surfperch?

Right Hook For Surf Perch?
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Deciding you want to catch surfperch is only the first step to actually fishing for it. If you are targeting a particular species of fish while surf fishing, you want to make sure you have the proper equipment.

This will also largely influence how many fish you do catch. Part of that equipment is the hook. Hooks come in several shapes and sizes. So, how can you select the right hook for surfperch?

Choosing the right hook for surf perch is depending on which fishing techniques you are going to use and what kind of bait. If you’re going to do catch and release, I would recommend a 2-4 size circle hook. If you are going to use artificial baits like swimbaits and gulp sandworms, I would recommend J-hook, depending on the size of the lures.

The next step is then deciding between a circle hook, a J-hook, or an octopus hook. Keep reading for an in-depth explanation into this selection process:

Which Size is the Right Hook for Surfperch? And Why?

Which size is the right hook for surfperch? The simple answer is #2 and #4 size hooks. These are the size hook that I’ve been using, and it works well for me.

The long answer tells you what these numbers mean.

Hook Anatomy

The eye of the hook is the part that connects to the line. The part that extends from the eye is the shank that then bends into the bend and, finally, the point.

The measure between the point and the shank is the gap. The two most important parts of the hook are the shank and the gap.

The shank determines the size and the type of bait that you can use. If you are fishing for bigger fish, you will want bigger or more bait.

This bait will have to fit on the hook. As a result, your hook will likely be bigger.

The opposite is the case for surfperch. As mentioned above, they are smaller fish with small mouths. They require smaller bait, and so, a smaller hook.

The importance of the gap comes into place when selecting the shape of the hook, which is explained later on in the next subheading.

The Hook Size

The size chart for hooks is a little bit counter-intuitive. It is easy to assume that the larger numbers mean a bigger size. But you will quickly notice that there are two sets of numbers.

Some of the sizes appear with a “#” before them, while the other is followed by “/0.”

The sizing works as follows: the largest number with # is the smallest size. From there, the numbers decrease, but the size increases.

This means that, for the two hooks that are recommended for surfperch, #2 and #4, #4 is actually smaller than #2.

After #1, you will find 1/0, 2/0, and so on, increasing in size and number.

Not all hooks are manufactured the same, which is a #2 in one brand that might be slightly different in size from #2 in another brand.

Providing the #2 and the #4 as options for surfperch give you that little bit of wiggle room to pick what feels right for your needs, namely what kind of bait you choose to use.

You will also see that the size numbers may have an “x” next to them. This “x” indicates some type of modification to the standard proportions of a hook.

Related article: Learn how to catch surf perch a beginners guide.Opens in a new tab.

The modifications are usually in the strength or the length: either the hook is made to withstand stronger fish, or perhaps the shank is longer.

It is up to you to determine whether these modifications might be useful because they are not particularly necessary to catch surfperch.

Which Shape is the Right Hook for Surfperch? And Why?

Selecting the right shape involves deciding what kind of bait you are going to use. It also involves deciding what your main intentions are with the fish you do catch.


Some common live baits for surfperch are sand crabs, sandworms, sand shrimps, mussels and clam neck. Alternatively, surfperch will also go for plastic bait worms.

When using live bait, take into consideration the gap of the hook. A narrowed opening between the shank and the point, i.e., a narrower gap, is better for live bait.

Larger gaps are better suited for thick-bodied baits. In this way, they are also usually better for plastic baits.

The hook has to be camouflaged by the bait, or the hook will scare the fish. Completely camouflaging the hook allows the bait to look more natural.

Though fish aren’t the brightest, making the bait look as natural as possible will simply make it easier for you to catch them.

So, you want to make sure you pick a hook shape that is small or large enough for the bait you have chosen to surf fish with.

The baits mentioned above, both live and plastic, will be about the same size. You don’t have to worry about having a different hook if you choose plastic worms over live bait.

But it is good as a general rule to know the narrow gaps hold live baits better.

Does the Length of a Surf Rod Affect the Type of Hook I Should Use for Surfperch Fishing?

When it comes to understanding surf rod lengthOpens in a new tab., the type of hook for surfperch fishing is crucial. A longer surf rod allows you to cast farther, so using a heavier hook may be necessary to ensure it reaches the desired depth. Conversely, a shorter surf rod may require a lighter hook for optimal performance.

Hook Shapes

Circle Hook

While most hooks have a generally straight shank, the shank of the circle hook starts to bend extremely close to the eye.

The pointed round in towards the shank, creating the circle look from whence this hook gets its name.

As the gap is narrow on this hook, it will be able to hold live bait and bring in the surfperch easily.

The advantage of this hook is that it minimizes the chances of gut fishing so that you can release the surfperch afterward.


Aptly named based on its resemblance to the letter J, this hook has a straight shank, and the point does not round back towards the shank.

Because it is not rounded, it will actually be easier to set the hook in the fish’s mouth.

However, if the size of the hook is not appropriate for the size of the fish, the hook could get lodged deeply in its mouth or get swallowed. This will result in the fish’s death, and you may not even reel the fish in.

Octopus hook

This hook shape is also designed with live bait in mind. The shank starts to bend further down from the eye compared to the circle hook, but the point is still fairly rounded back towards the shank.

All three shapes will catch surfperch. It is just a matter of determining how you would like to surf fish surfperch and with which bait.

It is important to have the appropriate-sized and -shaped hook to fish surfperch. It is possible that leaning towards the smaller size (#4) could prove more fruitful.

While it is still possible to catch larger fish on smaller hooks, the opposite is not as likely.

So choosing between the smaller option of the two recommended could help you land the small surfperch as well as the larger ones. And who knows, maybe you’ll even reel in some bigger fish to fry.


When choosing the right hook for surf perch need some trial and error. Sometimes you need to go up, and sometimes you need to go down. It depends on what kind of bait you are using and fishing techniques. As long as you have the right bait to use, pretty soon, you’re going to hook that fish.

Check my beginner’s guide on how to surf fish for surfperch. In this article I discussed everything that you need to catch your first surfperch.

Zaldy G.

I love feeling the cool ocean spray every time I hit the beach with a rod and a bucket of bait. I love the thrill of feeling bites on my line whenever I hook a big one. And I especially love the pride that comes with cooking a fresh catch and sharing it with my friends and family. Thank you for stopping by. Let's go catch some fish!

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