Sea Fishing for Beginners: Fishing Hooks

Sea Fishing for Beginners: Fishing Hooks

When you’re starting fishing, it can be daunting to find the things you need to get you going and what you’ll need to land your first fish.

The options are endless with the angling industry bigger than ever – you’ll have no problem finding a rod and a reel, but what rod and what reel should you buy? You’ll have no problem finding hooks and line, but what hooks and line should you use?

We’ve created a handy list of items you’ll realistically need to get started if you are sea fishing from the shore. This list is also available in a PDF download so you can take it with you to the shop when you’re buying your fishing kit.

About Sea Fishing Hooks

Fishing hooks are crucial as they are the only point of the fisherman’s tackle that is in direct contact with a fish.

Hooks are extremely versatile and can be used across many methods of fishing, find a size and type of hook that works for you and stick with it!

Frequently Asked Questions about Fishing Hooks

What size fishing hooks should I buy?

We recommend buying a variety of different size fishing hooks between the sizes 1 and 2/0. These sizes will be fine for general UK sea fishing and will comfortably handle fish species such as mackerel, small bass, dogfish and flatfish. Detailed information on the best hook size for targeting specific species can be found below.

What do the hook sizes mean

The sizes of hooks can be confusing when you are looking for a suitable hook as the hook size scale includes both hooks for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

We’ve included a chart below which makes the sizing of hooks easier to understand.

Fishing Hook Sizes
A guide showing the most popular fishing hook sizes. This image shows the main fishing hook sizes but there are more, both larger and smaller than the sizes featured in this image.
Hook Sizes 8 – 20
Species used for:
  • Mini Species (Gobies, Blennies etc.)
Hook Sizes 4 – 8
Species used for:
  • Mullet, Pouting, small Flatfish
Hook Sizes 6 – 2
Species used for:
  • Pouting, Poor Cod, Whiting, Sole
Hook Sizes 1 – 2/0
Species used for:
  • All round fishing such as targeting Plaice, Bass, Pollock, Mackerel etc.
Hook Sizes 3/0 – 5/0
Species used for:
  • Larger size fish including Rays, large Cod and Bass
Hook Sizes 6/0 +
Species used for:
  • Extremely large fish including Shark species and Conger Eels

What do hook patterns mean?

The hook design is often referred to as a ‘pattern’ in sea fishing. With fishing now being more popular than ever, the has resulted in a wide variety of different fishing hook designs being available. Options available vary to suit specific baits and fishing methods, but the most popular hook pattern is the Aberdeen style which is suitable for general sea fishing.

The Aberdeen pattern is favoured by sea anglers fishing from the shore due to it’s long shank, which makes baiting up worms and sandeels easier, along with a relatively small eye which allows for baits to pass through with damaging them.

Have a look below at a guide of different fishing hook patterns

Fishing Hook Types

Should I fish with barbed or barbless hooks?

General sea fishing in the UK only requires barbless sea fishing hooks. A barbed hook will result in a reduced number of lost fish on the retrieval, but they also result in more difficulty when unhooking your catch and the potential for more damage to the fish.

The difference that using barbed hooks over barbless makes on minimising lost fish on retrieval is extremely low though!

If you are only able to buy barbed hooks, then you can crush the barb using a pair of pliers before casting out.

What are good fishing hook brands?

The most popular makes of sea fishing hooks are Mustad and Kamasan. You’ll see these two brands in all good sea fishing shops and online on all fishing eCommerce stores.

Stick with these two brands and you won’t go far wrong.

What size quantities do fishing hooks come in?

Most anglers will typically buy sea fishing hooks in small packs of 10. This is to reduce the risk of corrosion occurring in the hooks and because they are readily available.

Buying hooks by the 100 works out to be more cost-effective though, so once you’ve found a hook size and pattern that works for you and your fishing, it may be worth buying a large number of hook to reduce your costs.

How can I keep my fishing hooks in great condition?

Fishing in the sea means that salt water will continuously be covering your hooks when you use them, which may result in salt-water corrosion occurring if you store them without taking appropriate measures to clean them first before storing them away.

When you get home from a sea fishing session, do the following:

  1. Give your used hooks a quick clean in fresh water
  2. Dry them and give them a spray of WD40
  3. Again wait for them to dry before putting them away

This simple process will keep your hooks in great condition for years!

Ryan Davies

Ryan runs the Reel and Rod website, writing about all aspects of sea, course and game fishing! Get in touch with if you want to help our platform grow, have any feedback or would like angling advice!
Ryan Davies
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