A lot of people assume that the most important thing to consider when ice fishing for walleye is the bait. However, a lot seem to ignore the importance of a good hook.
The hook and the bait sizes go hand in hand. That said, the best hook size for walleye ice fishing includes size 2, size 4, size 6 and size 8.
The rule of thumb is that if you are using a larger bait go for a larger hook. Using the wrong hook can result in the fish getting away. Walleye ice fishing is slightly difficult and requires you to have a basic hook technique to maximize the fishing experience.
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What is the Size Hook for Walleye Ice Fishing?
As we have mentioned above, the type of bait and hook used go hand in hand. Therefore before, choosing any hook, you need to understand the feeding pattern of walleye.
The good thing about these fish is that they are not picky. They eat a lot, and they are very aggressive, making them very likely to bite.
This means that they will bite most lures. Therefore, with walleyes, you have a wide array of hooks to choose from. However, the best hook size for walleye ice fishing includes size 2, size 4, and size 6.
How Hook Sizes are measured
Hooks vary in size and design. A hook has several elements, including the shank, throat, barb, bend, total length, eye, shank, gape, and front length.
However, the gape is what most manufacturers use to quantify the size of the hook. The gape is the gap between the shaft of the hook and the shank.
The hook size mainly ranges between #1 and #22, and each size has its bait. However, other hooks are classified as 1/0 or through to 10/0. 10/0 being the largest.
Size 1 is highly suitable for freshwater fishing, while size 1/0 onward is used in saltwater fishing.
It is important to note that, size of the hook varies from one manufacturer to the other. Therefore, a size #2 of one manufacturer might be different from #2 of another manufacturer because there is no standard sizing for the different hook sizes.
What Are The Best Walleye Fishing Baits?
There are very many lures available. Also, as we have mentioned above, walleyes are aggressive feeders, so your options are endless.
Nonetheless, some baits are more effective than others. They include live minnow, dead minnow, Rapala slab rap, jig baited with a live or dead minnow, and Rapala jigging rap. These are just examples, but there are others that you can apply.
What Is The Best Hooks Size Based On The Bait Used?
Rapala jigging rap is the most commonly used bait by anglers. It comes in 17 different colors and sizes that are perfect for walleye ice fishing. Walleye are large fish, and therefore, the most suitable jigging rap is #5. However, the size of the hook should be #2.
Minnow is also highly utilized by anglers in walleye ice fishing. You can use both live and dead minnow. The choice between either is mainly dependent on each angler’s preference. However, we recommend you go for live ones if possible.
When using minnow, it is important to use either hook #6 or #8. The best hook in such cases is the double hook that has a treble, and one of its bards snipped off or a single circle hook.
The use of small-sized treble hooks is not advisable in walleye ice fishing. The small-sized treble hooks are difficult to remove from the fish with wet or cold hands.
Furthermore, walleye tend to swallow them, making it hard to remove without damage the fish.
The double hook is the best because the fish will not be able to swallow it, making it easier to remove without damaging the fish.
For live minnows, the best hook to use is the octopus hook, which is ideal for catching larger fish such as walleye. The size of the minnows is also important.
Always go for large ones that range between 3-4 inches. Such large minnows will require medium-sized hooks, i.e., #4 and #2.
For the average angler, the most versatile hook is the Baitholder. The Baitholder has different sizes that are designed to catch different types of fish.
For small fish like the crappie, the most suitable hook is the smaller one. However, when fishing for walleye go for a larger baitholder hook of #2 with a full Nightcrawler.
Why Does Size Matter?
In reference to size, I am talking about the ice jig type in use. We have already established that walleyes are not picky feeders.
As such, you can have success with both small and large baits. Therefore, you must have a specific hook type for every bait you use since smaller hooks won’t work on larger baits and vice versa.
A size 4 is very resourceful when used on the demon-type jig. When the walleyes are not aggressive, you can use black octopus hook #8, but generally, the most efficient octopus hook when ice fishing walleyes is the red one #6.
How Do You Choose The Right Hook Size For Fishing Walleye?
Fishing hooks are designed in a wide array of sizes, but the question remains, how do you know the best hook size? Depending on the fish you intend to catch, it is important to understand the bait required and the fishing regulations of a given area.
For example, some states have banned the use of barb. Other things you need to consider
However, in the case of walleyes, the most effective hooks are the treble hook, baitholder hook, and octopus hook. The best hook size for the treble hook and the Baitholder are size 2, size 4, and size 6. However, for the octopus hook, the best size is #8.
Getting the right hook size determines whether you will have a pleasant fishing experience or not. However, it is important to keep the hooks sharp and always use the appropriate bait. The sharpness of the hook is what makes it stick and penetrate.
Overall the best hook to catch walleyes during winter is octopus hook size 2. Although the treble hook and the baitholder size 2, 4 or 6 are also effective.