One of the problems with posing this very question to anglers is that each one will give you a different answer, leaving you right back at the beginning. Some prefer long hooks, and some prefer red hooks—it’s all in the angler you’re speaking with at the moment. If there is a true answer, what is the correct hook size for crappie?
The most challenging aspect of catching a crappie is keeping the hook in its mouth. For that reason, smaller hooks such as a size 4 circle hook that have a narrow shank and a brutally sharp edge point are the best hooks.
Some may disagree, but it’s all about the physics of the fish. That’s not to say anglers aren’t out there catching crappie with different hooks than the kind mentioned above. It just means that the small hook with a razor-sharp edge point is going to bring you the most success.
Best Hook Size for Catching Crappie
Size 4 is definitely over the target zone, but you can get away with a size 2 if your tackle box is distressingly empty where the size 4s should be. Some anglers suggest that you go with the Aberdeen hook.
We mentioned long hooks above, and that’s exactly what the Aberdeen hook is—long on the shank but small where the hook forms a J (the bend). Since crappie have small mouths, you can’t reach into them. The long shank makes it much easier to retrieve the hook.
Anglers will also swear by the color of the hooks. It doesn’t have anything to do with the size but be sure to stock up on plenty of red and gold Aberdeen hooks in size 4. Set aside a stash of size 2s just in case.
Hook styles to choose from
Aberdeen and circle hooks are mostly the two styles you should stick with. Circle hooks make a lot of sense if the crappie are swallowing your Aberdeens. The circle hook is small enough, with a wide enough bend, to circumvent that problem.
While it’s not a change in style, you can leap a larger, size 6 hook if you are fishing with small minnows. Anything bigger and it’s like sticking a javelin missile through a goldfish. It’s just not going to work.
Mustad fishing hooks are known for having a decent success rate with crappie. They have a long shank, like the Aberdeen, but the end of the shank is offset at a 45° angle, making it a little easier to grab and dislodge the hook after the catch.
The Tru-Turn Aberdeen hook is another style worth checking out. It’s a good choice if you are having trouble hooking crappie. The style of the Tru-Turn avoids straightening when you pull.
Do you need to set the hook
When a crappie is pulling on your bait, you don’t need to rear back and set that hook three times. You’re not fishing for Jaws and if you set a hook like that, you’re liable to tear the crappie’s entire head off.
A quick, light, snap of the wrist is generally all it takes. If you are fishing with a bobber and you see the bobber go for a dive, start reeling in first. The reason is that you don’t know which direction the crappie is going.
Reel the line in until you encounter resistance, then make your light wrist snap. Remember, if you’re fishing with the right hook, your barb is razor sharp, and crappie are small enough that it doesn’t take much.
It also depends on the rod. Of course, you shouldn’t be fishing for crappie with a surf rod. However, if you’re out there fishing for bass and you decide to throw out for a few crappie, go easy on the wrist snap with the heavier rod.
The right hook size for crappie is generally a size 4. You can get away with a size 6 (with small minnow bait) or a size 2 if you’re in a pinch. But you want to stick with a size 4 when you can.
You have a little more breathing room when it comes to hook styles. Aberdeen, Tru-Turn Aberdeen, Circle, and Mustad hooks are all fair game, so long as you keep them small enough for the crappie to handle.
Last but not least, the color may end up being important as well. Crappie is like most fish—picky. They may not go for your gold Aberdeen today, so switch to a red Aberdeen. Fishing is all about trial and error. However, if you stick with the above styles and sizes, and set your hook lightly, you’ll be reeling in crappie in no time.