This is a topic that I see discussed a lot. There is no real right or wrong answer as it will depend on the time of the year you are fishing and what bait you are using.
However: The best all-around hook length size for pole fishing is 4 inches long. This will suit fishing all year round and work well with a whole host of baits.
Let’s now take a look at some of the hook length sizes and situations in which they might be suitable.
2 to 3-inch hook lengths
These are for shallow (when fishing 2 feet or less up in the water) and edge fishing.
The reason for this is that it helps to show up your bites that bit better.
If you are fishing in the edge, you want your bulk shot to be right at the top of the hook length. If your hook length is 6 inches away then that’s no good as the bait is more likely to waft around.
You also can’t add the shot to your hook length as it runs the chance of making that part of the line even weaker. That’s not to say you “can’t” do it, as you can… but just be careful.
The key is to add the bulk of the shot right at the top of the hook length to help keep the bait down at the bottom.
Having a short hook length also allows you to move your float down more towards the float. This is good in case the fish start coming a lot more shallow than you thought and you can then fish 6 inches deep without any issues as only 2 to 3 inches is taken up by the hook length and the bulk of weight will still be in the middle of the rig.
4-inch hook lengths
This is my most commonly used hook length. For some reason, a lot of the manufacturers out there don’t seem to make 4-inch hook lengths in a small breaking strain.
6-inch hook lengths
For anything over 2 and a half foot in length then it would be wise to use a 6-inch hook length. That’s not to say you can’t use a 4-inch hook length, as you can.
In the winter, I personally use a 6-inch hook length for fishing in the deeper water
Anything longer than 6 inches
This is for fishing in really deep water. Again, a 6 inch would be ok, but if you can use a longer one then it could be good to give it a go.
If you are mugging fish with a mugging rig then anything longer than 6 inches is ideal as the bait will fall through the water that bit better.
Mike has over 30 years of fishing experience in carp fishing and general coarse fishing. He is always looking for the latest fishing kit to try out and talk about and needs a bigger shed due to all the fishing tackle he owns. You can read more about him here.