The big vs. small hook debate has run for years, but what do you think matters more: hook size or pattern?
“I wrote about hook sizes and patterns in my last Rotary Letter piece in CARPology magazine, so without going over the same ground I would suggest the readers take a look at the piece in issue 131. However, to keep it short, hook size and pattern go hand-in-hand really; a bit like a curve shank is a fantastic pattern in large sizes but in smaller sizes they tend to try and rip themselves out, as opposed to some other patterns which work better in smaller sizes than larger ones.”
“This is a tricky question as it is so subjective to the situation, bait and even the person that is casting the rig out! Personally, I have settled on two hook patterns that I will use for everything other than Zigs/floater fishing, these being a size 6 Wide Gape Talon Tip and a size 6 Covert Chod Hook. It is important to use a correctly sized hook to the bait that you are using so there is room for the hook to do its job, for example a size 16 with a 24mm boilie probably isn’t going to catch you many fish! The hook pattern is personal in my opinion, no hook on the market these days is incapable of catching a carp if set-up correctly.”
“It’s more about personal confidence and using the terminal tackle rigs and components that work for you. At the very most I would consider the size of the fish (or more specifically the size of their mouths) when considering going BIG with hook sizes; after all, those really big fish will inevitably find a big hook harder to get rid of. Then again, it’s easy to make a smaller hook act like a big hook by using a longer Hair and building in separation. Like many things rig-wise, being prescriptive about using a successful method is no-nosense as the variety in scope of rigs that successfully catch carp is immense! Just use what you know and what you can tie effectively.”
“I believe pattern to be more important than size. I’ve always liked big hooks and never found I had more bites when scaling down in hook size, I prefer the better hooking abilities of bigger hooks. My rigs work on this rather than finesse and I know when they go in and stay in, and a size 6 is probably the smallest I use now. My ideal hooks for pop-ups are wide gaped patterns with a out-turned eye which give the best angle for this type of presentation. For bottom baits I like short curved shanked hooks with in-turned eyes. I add shrink tube over the eye to turn it in thus making it even more aggressive.”