So you have decided to hit the lake and go fishing. You know you can pick up some minnows at the tackle store or even gather a few along the bank. It’s time to set up your minnow but now you find yourself asking “What hook size is best for crappie fishing with minnows?”
A size 2 Aberdeen for large minnows and a size 4 Aberdeen hook for smaller minnows is going to be your best bet. These hook sizes are a bit larger, but smaller hooks commonly used for bluegill may rip out on Crappie due to their thinner metal and smaller gaps.
Why Should I Use a Size 2 Or 4 Hook for Crappie?
It is important to note that there is some variance in hook sizes when made by different manufacturers. Hook sizes can also vary greatly when talking about different styles of hooks. This is one of the reasons why there is some difference in the suggested hook size.
Other reasons why there is some difference in the suggested hook size may be the size of the fish in your area, how well you want your tackle box stocked and even what size bait you are using.
For these reasons many anglers prefer to use either a size #2 or #4 for Crappie, though some will step up to a size #1 if using larger minnows as bait. A general suggestion is for minnows around 1 to 2 inches long to use a #4 hook and minnows around 3 inches to use a #2. Minnows larger than 4 inches you should move up to a #1 or larger hook.
For simplicity sakes or budget reasons some anglers choose to opt for one general purpose size. In this case, a size #3 would be appropriate as an all around minnow hook.
Why use an Aberdeen hook?
Aberdeen hooks were first used in remote streams of Scotland. They have been around just about since fishing became a sport. They are designed with a long shank and thin wire.
This longer shank allows them to baited quite easily and especially makes them useful when fishing with minnows.
The thin wire allows them to bend when snagged in brush, this prevents the loss of additional tackle, and in most cases the hook can be bent back into shape with minimal loss of performance.
Why do Crappie Require Larger Hooks
When fishing with minnows you want a hook that has a spread between the barb and shank that is comparable to the thickness of the minnow. Try and avoid a shank that is longer than your minnow though as a shank that is too long will hamper your minnows ability to swim.
Crappie tend to like larger minnows and have even been known to eat other smaller fish.
Crappie also have larger mouths than some of their sunfish companions making it easier for them to swallow larger hooks.
Finally the bone around the edges of the jaw on a crappie tend to be somewhat brittle. Using a smaller hook could cause the hook to simply rip out of this portion and allow your catch to escape.
What About the More Advanced Hook Features?
Some manufactures add additional benefits to hooks, these may include extra “bait barbs’ a twist in the metal to force better angles, or even a slightly unique design such as Pro-V Aberdeen Snelled Design by Eagle Claw which is designed in an attempt to ensure a solid set every strike.
While these have debatable performance they ultimately boil down to individual user preference. Each of these may have advantages in one area but other areas could be affected detrimentally.
For instance while the bait barbs may hold the bait on better, they also cause more damage to the fish. If you are planning to release your catch then this is not ideal. This damage could lead to less of a survival chance for the fish.
Overall though when choosing to fish for crappie with minnows you want to use an Aberdeen style in a size 4 or larger hook. The bonus features are up to you.