4 Best Float Fishing Hooks

Float Fishing Hooks

Learn From A Pro

Not all float fishing hooks are created equal so using the right hook below your float could mean more fish on and more fish landed. Using the wrong float fishing hooks can spook the fish.

What Are The Best Hooks For Float Fishing?

The best hooks for float fishing will be the right color, the right shape, the right size and they need to be strong and super sharp. They also need to be right for the situation you are fishing. The hooks are the Raven Specimen, the Raven Sedge, and the Gamakatsu Octopus Hook.

My guides and I prefer to use the Raven Specimen hook for most general fishing situations but I like the Raven Sedge hook when I need a more stealthy approach.

The Raven Specialist hook and the Gamakatsu Octopus hook are also good choices

These 4 hooks will fit just about every situation on the river but make sure you use the right size and the right shape.

There are some other great and popular float fishing hooks like the Daiichi 1150 Heavy Wide-Gape Hooks which are similar to the Raven sedge hooks, and the Daiichi Salmon Egg Hooks which are good for single eggs, or the popular Redwing Tackle Blackbird Sabretooth Premium hooks which are popular for great lakes salmon.

Float Fishing Hook Shape

Float Hook Shape
The right shape can help you hook land more trout and steelhead. The top hook is a Specimen hook, then a Sedge hook, and then the Specialist hook. These are my 3 go-to hooks.

The shape of the hook is something not many guys consider but it can be very important.

A smaller gape hook like a sedge hook may miss some fish on the hookset and if you do hook into the fish with this hook it may not grab as much flesh so it may be more likely to rip out of the fish’s mouth.

If you fight a lot of fish and the hook keeps pulling out without breaking then you may want to consider a wider gape hook or a bigger size.

Wider hooks like the Raven Specimen hook shown at the top in the picture hold fish well.

The advantage to the smaller gaped hook is that they are more low profile so you may end up hooking more fish because the fish don’t see it.

A wider gap hook like the Raven Specimen hook ( Top Hook) is likely to hook more fish, grab more flesh, and hold onto fish better therefore you won’t lose as many fish but because they are a bigger wider hook it might be seen by the fish and that may mean less fishing biting your bait.

Hook points are something you should also consider. In the picture above one hook point is straight and the others all curved inwards.

The Raven Specialist Hook
This Raven Specialist hook curves inward for better holding ability.

Some hook points like the one in the picture are curved inwards and this is said to hold onto the fish better when compared to hook points that are straight.

Most of the hooks that I like have a very slight inward curl like this one.

Do not use hooks like this one with a heavy curl on the point
Do not use hooks like this one with a heavy curl on the point

Too much of a curl on the point which you might find on some circle hooks may affect your hook set and not penetrate as well which is why I don’t recommend hooks with too big of a curl on the point.

This picture is a circle hook that is not designed to work with the kind of hard hooksets that float anglers do.

This is a self hooking hook for bottom bait type presentations and not for float fishing.

Float Fishing Hook Size

Trout Hook Size
On the left is a size 2 Kamasan Specimen hook compared to a size 10 Raven Sedge hook. The Sedge hook is a much better size for a roe bag of that size and the specimen hook is way to big.

The size of your float hook is important.

A float fishing hook that is too big will stand out like a sore thumb and prevent some fish from grabbing the bait and an oversized hook will also weigh your bait down too much meaning that it may not flow naturally in the current or it will keep getting snagged on the bottom.

Using the right sized hook for the speed, depth, and size of your bait will mean more fish in the net.

If the water is fast the fish hit fast without thinking and that can mean you can go to a larger hook. If the water is fast and deep and the larger hook will be heavier and will also help the bait get down into the strike zone.

In slower and clear water a larger hook may be seen by the fish and they may not take the bait. This is where a smaller thinner wire hook is best. The thin hook also allows the bait to move more freely in the current and may look more natural.

Remember, the bait you use is just as important as the hook you use it with. Check out my page on the Best Baits for Steelhead and Trout.

Float Fishing Hook Strength

Quality brands and the cheaper hooks come in different strengths. Cheap hooks are known to bend and break so stick with the quality brands I recommend in this article.

Thin Float Fishing Hooks

Hooks like the Raven Sedge Hook, or the Kamasan B420, and the popular steelhead hook the Daiichi 1150 are all quality hooks but they are thinner wire hooks that are great for small baits and for allowing the bait to move more naturally in the current which is why I like them for most steelhead and trout.

Many of the anglers near me like the Daiichi 1150 in the small gin-clear steelhead rivers.

These thin wire hooks are low profile and don’t get seen by the fish like the thicker heavier hooks and that may mean more hook-ups.

Unfortunately, the downside is that these thinner wire hooks might bend when fishing for huge steelhead on heavy leaders or when fishing for 20 or 30-pound salmon in fast flows with heavy leaders.

Medium Float Fishing Hooks

Medium wire hooks like the Raven Specialist hooks or the Sabretooth hooks, or Gamakatsu Octopus hooks are slightly stronger hooks and won’t bend as easily and could be used for trout steelhead and salmon.

Heavy Float Fishing Hooks

For very large steelhead and salmon in big fast rivers, it’s best to consider a heavy wire float fishing hook like the Raven Wide Gape Specimen Hooks. These are great hooks for heavy leaders and for turning large salmon without breaking or bending the hook.

Make sure you use the right size of a leader when float fishing so you aren’t breaking off or the fish aren’t seeing the lines. Check out my page on Leaders and Leader Setups that I use.

Float Fishing Hook Color

Float Fishing Hook Color
The bronze Raven Sedge hook on the left and the black Raven Specialist hook on the right.

I recommend that you buy and use only the bronze hooks or the black nickel colored hooks.

Blacks and brown colors are naturally found in rivers and these hook colors are the most natural in the water and don’t tend to spook fish and don’t stand out like a beacon, like shinny or colored hooks do.

I avoid gold, silver, red, or colored hooks and I recommend that you do too.

Float Fishing Hook Quality And Sharpness

Cheap hooks break, bend, or are just not sharp. This means you are more likely to lose your big fish. If you don’t want to lose that fish of a lifetime spend a little extra on a quality hook brand and not some cheap Chinese crap that you might regret.

The brands I recommend in this article are all ones that I have used and ones that other guides and good anglers use. They are quality hooks, they are proven, and they are worth the money. I have also used some good hooks from the brand Owner that I thought were pretty good.

What Is The Best Hooks For Trout?

The right hook for trout means more fish
Using the right hook for trout will mean more in the net.

The best all-around float fishing hook for trout is the Raven Sedge Hook or the 12 Raven Specimen hook, or the Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks. These three hooks are all you need for trout fishing.

I like the Raven Sedge hook because it is thin and lightweight for those smaller trout baits and it allows the bait to move more naturally but is still strong enough to manage big trout.

I also like the Gamakatsu Octopus hooks or the Raven Specialist hook because of their wider gape which has the ability to hold onto the fish better. I use them in smaller sizes or when using bigger baits.

You really can’t go wrong with either of these hooks or float hooks from some other high-quality brands as long as they are in similar shapes and sizes.

What Is The Best Hook Size For Trout?

Trout often eat small things so the best hook size for trout will depend on the bait that you want to use.

A good all-around hook size for trout would be a size 10 Raven Sedge hook or the size 12 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks for most trout and trout baits.

If you are using a big dew worm or a large egg sack you may want to up-size to a size 8 hook so that there is plenty of hook gap to hook the fish.

If you are using a smaller single egg or a maggot or a bug from the river or even a small garden worm you may want to downsize to a size 12 or even a size 14 hook so the fish don’t see the hook. For more information on how and why to use certain hooks for trout fishing see my page Best Hook Size For Trout: A Guides Advice On trout Hook Size

What Is The Best Hook Size For Steelhead?

Float Hooks For Steelhead
Float hooks for steelhead need to be strong but also need to fit the size of the bait.

When fishing for steelhead we often use larger baits like egg sacks or even big dew worms so it makes sense to use a larger hook.

Just use the size hook that’s best because a hook that is too big for your bait looks unnatural and may prevent fish from biting.

My go-to size for steelhead hooks is size 8 or size 10 in most water clarity and maybe a size 6 in dirty water.

In super clear water or when using single eggs or very small baits, I will drop down to a size 12 and a size 14 wide gap hook.

If I am fishing big fast and deeper water with bigger baits a size 6 heavy gauge hook will help get the bait down and will not bend on big fish.

Remember, the hook is only one part of catching lots of trout, steelhead, and salmon below a float. For tips on how to catch more fish under a float go to my Float Fishing For Beginners page.

Something else you should consider is checking out my page How To Catch More Trout And Steelhead Guaranteed because it explains some possible reasons why some guys still don’t catch fish even with the right hook.

What Is The Best Hook For Salmon?

Hooks For Salmon
The best hooks for salmon will be extra strong and should match the bait, current, and depth of the river.

The best float fishing hooks for salmon are ones with a wide gape and a heavy gauge wire like size 8 Raven Specimen hooks.

I use the specimen hooks for almost all salmon fishing conditions.

Salmon are big and strong and make long runs and that requires stronger leaders. A stronger leader and a hard-pulling salmon means that you may bend or break some thinner wire hooks.

If you want an even stronger float fishing hook because you are fishing some big fast rivers like those out on the west coast, then you should consider the Daiichi X510 XPoint Salmon Steelhead Hooks.

If you are going to be fishing for steelhead and salmon you need a good float mainline. Check on my page on the Best Float Fishing Lines.

The Best Single Egg Hooks

There are times when a single egg on a hook will catch the most trout or steelhead. The problem is that single eggs are tiny and they crack, break or fall off the bigger hooks.

The wrong hook on a single egg will also stand out like a sore thumb. So which hook is best for salmon eggs.

I use the size 14 Raven sedge hooks because they are small and thin or when fishing for bigger steelhead where I need a small but strong hook I like the size 14 Raven Specimen hooks for my single egg fishing

4 Best Float Fishing Hooks

These are my 4 recommended float fishing hooks that I use in all my guiding.

Raven Sedge Hook

The is my favorite hook when I need a light stealthy hook. Size 8 and 10 are my go-to sizes for steelhead.

Gamakatsu Octopus Hook

These are my favorite wide gape hooks for trout and steelhead. Size 8 and 10 are good sizes.

Raven Specialist Hook

This is a great trout and steelhead hook with a wide gape and a curved point to hold more fish. Size 8 and 10 are my best sizes.

Raven Specimen Hook

This is my go to hook for big salmon and steelhead.

Best Hook Storage Container

Storage Box For Steelhead Hooks
The best storage box for Steelhead hooks, weights, float caps and more.

If you are going to have a few different hooks to use under different situations it’s a good idea to have somewhere compact and organized to put them.

I use this Sheffield Turtle box for my hooks, split shots, float caps, and swivels. It comes in a square or oval and folds up nice.

I like this box because if you go to grab a hook and accidentally drop it the compartments are all closed except for one so you won’t lose everything

It also great because when folded up it fits in the palm of your hand and goes in almost any pocket.

Let’s Hear Your Opinion

These are the float fishing hooks that I have been using and have tested over 20 years of guiding and they work great for me, my clients, and my friends. If you have a great hook that has worked for you let me know in the comments below.

Thanks and Good Luck Guys!


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  1. Nice write up, out here on the west coast the flows are more powerful, we need to stop or turn a fish in a hurry sometimes, for that we need bigger stronger hooks.
    The largest steelhead I have caught was roughly 22lbs, I was using a #4 that day, I was lucky to get it in , usually I need at least 15-18lb mainline, 10-12lb leader with a #1 hook to land fish half that size.
    The water you fish dictates alot….

    Tight Lines !!!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I fully agree with you. The best hook should be a combination of the right size and shape for the bait you are using and be the right size for the leader you are using and for the amount of pressure you will need to apply to get that fish in. The type of water you fish and the type of fish in that water will dictate your leader size.

      For you, fishing in that big water with strong ocean-run steelhead, you will need a heavier leader and larger hooks.

      I have fished BC steelhead with 10lb leaders and some of the stronger size 6 hooks with no problems.

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