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Hooks for meat. Big or small? Pattern?

Mark Howard

Member
Back to barbel after a bit of time out. Things seemed to have moved on a bit and it appears hooks getting smaller? If I was using meat on a hair on a narrow slow moving little river, what pattern of hook would you all using these days? (Running rig btw).
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
Depends on the size of meat, but if you are fishing small baits, say 1/2 inch I use a 6 or 8. I dont like my meat bigger than the gape of the hook so trim to fit. Have used Drennan specialist mostly, but I do chop and change.
 

Mark Howard

Member
Depends on the size of meat, but if you are fishing small baits, say 1/2 inch I use a 6 or 8. I dont like my meat bigger than the gape of the hook so trim to fit. Have used Drennan specialist mostly, but I do chop and change.
Thanks. Any merit is using curved shank hooks? I guess we have to be aware that carp hooks are used in still waters. Just seems so confusing these days. If it aint bust then don't fix it I suppose!!
 

Mike Thompson

Senior Member
Have a look at Bank Tackle, they have several different patterns and will send you a sample if you ask. They are really good quality with perfectly formed eyes.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
To me hook choice would depend on size of the barbel and how snaggy the river is i.e. do they need to be stopped, hard. If so, heavier gauge wire is required. Hook size depends on the size of the meat, especially if hair rigged (but never seen the need for that). My all time fave small river hook 'n hold hook is Fox Arma SSBP(B).
 

Rhys Perry

Senior Member
I tend to use barbless curved hooks for all my barbel fishing now as I find they hold much better than other patterns. I'll use them to size 2 for big pieces of meat, fished straight on the hook, never hair rig meat.
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
I agree Rhys, when burying meat a size 2 is ideal, for better presentation I thread the cubed meat down the hook length and pushed down on the hook, sliver of twig or grass hold the meat firmly in the curve of the hook.
 

John Newman

Senior Member
I started using Gardner Target Specimen barbless hooks a few years ago and they are incredibly strong and reliable. Biggest size is 10 and that's what I use for hair rigged meat with barbel being landed in excess of 16lbs.
 

Mark Howard

Member
So it's either a size 2 or 10!! I guess you can go smaller on a hair. It's just taste and fancy I think. Too much choice these days!
 

Mark Swaby

Senior Member
During the day or on pressured fisheries use small pieces with small hooks. After dark or in floodwater you can sometimes get away with big baits and big hooks. Hook choice depends on the size of fish and pressure you will have to put on after hooking them. Whatever you use make sure they are strong enough for the situation , I like Carp-r us in big sizes you will never straighten them,in smaller sizes go for the extra strong thick in the wire patterns that often have an x on the packet
 
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Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
So it's either a size 2 or 10!! I guess you can go smaller on a hair. It's just taste and fancy I think. Too much choice these days!
It can be any size you like but as Neil righty said match your hook suitably to the size of the bait. Your Bait size is entirely your choice as is the presentation you prefer (hair, bury)
Summer and autumn time they tend not to mess about and will happily devour a huge piece of meat no problem.
On the occasion I use meat in the warmer months I will happily use 2 torn off pieces each around the size of a matchbox
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
So it's either a size 2 or 10!! I guess you can go smaller on a hair. It's just taste and fancy I think. Too much choice these days!
I wouldn't worry too much about size of hook, more presentation, Barbel are pretty unfussy eaters and will take anything on offer almost, I find when they are competitive feeding it matters even less, but nowadays sadly we don't enjoy shoals of Barbel like we used to, unless we are on the Wye or similar, so my approach is different depending on where I am fishing.

Feeder fishing on the Wye or Middle Severn is different to the Lower Severn or Warks Avon, where I am fishing mainly for solitary fish. Feeder fishing I would hair rig a say 12mm pellet or boilie on a size 8 or 10, when the bites dry up, which they do, I will fish smaller baits with smaller hooks, say a 8mm pellet on a 12 , 'fishing for bites'.

On the Lower Rivers where the numbers are less, at least more spaced out anyway, the potential for bigger solitary fish is very real, so I will use a bigger bait maybe 2'' cubes of meat, this will ensure I create a sort of 'feature' in itself that any passing big girl might be tempted. A large bait satisfies the effort vs reward, especially in cooler months, but will also work in summer when appetites are greater, and you can discourage unwanted bites from other species, but the problem here is Eels are a nightmare when using meat, and at least a size 2 hook is just too big for them.

I know a very good Lower Severn angler who use nothing but 14mm hallibut pellet summer and winter, and catches more barbel than most , why?

Because he believes in what he is doing, that's why.;)
 
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