There have to be close to a million styles of hooks on the market by now. For each style, there’s an angler who swears it’s the best hook on the planet. What’s more likely is that there’s a “best” hook for each situation than one hook to rule them all. Just as different sized hooks will be more effective than others, different shaped hooks work better under certain conditions. You’re probably already switching your rods, your lines, and your lures to suit different situations. You should be doing the same with your hooks.
To pick the right hook for the job, however, you need to be familiar with the different styles out there. In this article, we’ll take a close look at just one of the many hooks on the market; the octopus hook. You’ll discover how an octopus hook is different from other hooks, find out which fish you can land with an octopus hook, and learn the best time to use an octopus hook. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
How is an octopus hook different from other hooks?
You might be asking yourself, “What in the heck is an octopus hook?” These hooks are not, despite their name, hooks for catching an octopus. An octopus is one of the smartest animals on the planet and can bend and twist its body into all sorts of amazing shapes. So, it’s doubtful that casting with an octopus hook will result in an actual octopus reeling back on the end of your line.
Rather, an octopus hook is a lot like a circle hook, but with the eye bent backward at an angle. It’s angled away from the inside of the hook at about 30 degrees to the line of the shank. The tip of the hook points toward the eye so that you could draw a straight line from the direction of the point across the plane of the eye. Octopus hooks can also resemble standard J-shaped hooks, but with the same bend at the eye.
The difference between a circle octopus hook and a J octopus hook is pretty much the difference between a simple circle and a J. The circle hook will be easier to set, provided you don’t jerk the hook on the bite, and is harder for a fish to swallow. The circle will typically hook the fish through the corner of its mouth, instead of deep in the gut. So, it will be easier to retrieve and less damaging to the fish. They’re the top choice for many anglers, but do take some getting used to if you’ve never used a circle hook before.
When should you use an octopus hook?
Octopus hooks are generally a live or cut bait choice and are used less often with hard lures. They can be used with soft plastic baits as well. If you’re fishing in clear water where visibility is key you can get away with a thinner circle octopus hook than you can with another hook in the same diameter. The angled eye allows the line to sit parallel to the hook’s shank when it’s threaded through. It also improves the hook set when tied through the eye with something like a single uni knot. If the point was straight up instead of in line with the eye, the entire hook would rotate and drop the fish.
Most anglers tie an octopus hook with a snell knot. This provides a secure but stiff connection to the line. A snell is a very streamlined knot and can be very strong depending on how well it’s tied. How you snell an octopus hook will be different with mono than with braided.
To tie a snell knot with mono or fluorocarbon line, feed the tag end through the eye so that it sits along the shank on the outside of the hook. Then form a loop with it in front of the shank. Now, hold that loop in place as you wrap the hook and line together starting at your loop and working your way to the eye. Depending on the size of your line, wrapping five to seven times should do the trick. Next, feed that tag end back through the loop you made in the first step. Moisten the knot and tighten it up so that it sits against the eye and trim it.
What can you catch with an octopus hook?
Now that you know what an octopus hook looks like and how to tie it onto your leader, what do you do with it? The obvious answer is “catch fish,” but what kind of fish and how? You can catch all manner of salt and freshwater species with an octopus hook, but we’ll take a closer look at fishing for three popular fish: trout, catfish, and bass.
When picking out an octopus hook for trout, you can’t go wrong with a circle octopus hook. Choose a hook made from high-quality material that has a sharp point. You’re less likely to lose your hook when fishing with a circle, so feel free to splurge on a more expensive hook if it matches the quality. Stay away from offset circulars (see our article on circle hooks to learn why)! Since trout are finicky, the more invisible your rig, the better. Start with the smallest hook you think you can get away with and move up from there if needed.
If you want to load the boat with catfish, an octopus hook will serve you well here too. Pair the octopus hook with live bait and a standard uni knot directly into the eye. This will let your bait move around more naturally. This rig is great for dropping under a bobber or drifting.
For bass fishing with soft plastics, your octopus hook will work wonders. Their low profile won’t startle wary bass as easily as a standard J hook. Hook your soft bait by the nose and use a drop shot technique to get the most out of this hook.
An octopus hook can be a fairly versatile option if you’re looking to explore new territory. Because they come in an array of sizes, it’s easy to match them up to your bait. Get a few octopus hooks, rig up, and have fun!