Anglers have been using hooks to catch fish for centuries, though the hooks employed by the very earliest fishermen didn’t much resemble those found hanging on the pegs at today’s tackle shops. Ancient fish hooks were made from sticks or pieces of bone, and some of them weren’t “hook” shaped at all. Some, called gorges, were straight, pointed at each end, and were attached near their mid-point to the fishing line. The gorges didn’t connect to a fish in the way that today’s hooks do, rather they were designed to simply toggle sideways in the throat of the fish and lodge in place, allowing the animal to be hauled ashore.
Today’s tempered steel, chemically sharpened, forged and coated hooks are a far cry from the fish-catching devices wielded by our ancestors, but there are some basic facts about hooks that haven’t changed much through centuries of angling. One of these enduring principles is that the size of the hook can be a very important factor in it’s effectiveness at catching a particular fish. In general, really big hooks are best suited for use with really big baits and really small hooks are better suited for diminutive fish, but beyond this simple generalization things get complicated in a hurry when trying to determine what size hook is best for catching a fish.
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