Learn More About Fishing Hooks, Sinkers & Floats

At DICK’S Sporting Goods, you’ll find the terminal tackle you need to reel in that record-setting catch. Considered the most important gear in your arsenal, it is best to be prepared.

It starts with the hook. Fishing hooks come in many shapes and sizes depending on what you are trying to reel in. With so much variation it can be difficult to decide what it is you need. Here are some of the main types of hooks that have been time-tested to guarantee results:

  • Baitholder or Aberdeen: Best used for dough bait or live worms. Smaller sizes like 8 to 4 are ideal for smaller fish like trout, bluegill, and crappie, while larger ones sizes 4 to 1/0 are great for bass or catfish. The advantage of these hooks are the barbs on the shank that keep the bait on the hook.
  • Worm or EWG: These work well as a part of a “Texas rig” with soft plastics, which allows lures to be dragged through heavy cover without snagging. Worms and EWG hooks are perfect for catching bass down in the weeds. Use sizes 1/0-3/0 for smaller plastics and 3/0-5/0 for larger.
  • Octopus or Circle: Use with minnows or shad or as a part of a “wacky rig” to catch bass, panfish, trout and catfish. The short shank on these hooks allows for a more natural presentation of the lures. For smaller fish use sizes 8 to 1, and for larger fish like bass use sizes 1 to 4/0.

Sinkers are one of the most important things in your tackle box. Sinkers do exactly what the name suggests — they sink your bait in the water. Using a traditional combo of a sinker and float will help keep your bait suspended in the water for optimal presentation. Sinkers can also bring bait to the bottom to catch some of those fish that dwell down in the reeds. Just a few of the most common types are:

  • Split Shot: Adds weight and helps your cast go farther. These crimp onto the line to easily attach and detach. For fishing in shallow or calm water, use sizes BB to 7 and for heavier bait, deeper water, or water with a current use sizes 5 to 2.
  • Egg: Great for fishing for bass or catfish as they help drag the rig down to the bottom of the water. For shallow and calm water it’s best to keep it light at 1/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. and for deep water or a current use 1/2 oz. or greater.
  • Worm (bullet): Ideal for use in a Texas rig to help bring the worm hook and worm lure down to the bottom. The conical shape helps the sinker come through obstacles without getting snagged. Use 1/16 oz. to 3/16 oz. for shallow water and 3/16 oz. to 1/2 oz. for deep water.

Please be aware that many sinkers are made with lead. Due to the toxic nature of lead they have been banned in some areas, so make sure you check your fishing spot before casting. If you do use a lead sinker please be careful not to leave any behind you in the environment.

Floats should be used in a bobber rig to suspend the bait in the water to improve presentation. They are also great at indicating when you have a bite. Another key item is a swivel which allows easier connection between the rig and the leader (a section of thicker line to protect from toothy fish; can also reduce visibility to the fish) and reduces line twist from the bait twirling in the water.

Looking for more? Shop the full selection of fishing gear at DICK’S Sporting Goods.