Maximize Fishing Success with Hook Shank Understanding

Hook Shanks: Understanding the Fundamentals


The hook shank is a crucial component of every fishing hook. The shank is the length of wire that extends from the hook eye to the bend. The shank length, shape, and features help determine the purpose of the hook, and there are various shank options that allow anglers to choose the best hook for their needs.

Short Cuts:

Standard Shank

Long Shank 

Short Shank

Curved Shank

Forged Shank 

Bait Slices 



Importance of Hook Shanks in Fishing

Much like building a fish hook, choosing the right fish hook is a dance between features that optimally present the bait to entice fish into biting, and features that will allow the hook to penetrate, pin, and hold. When it comes to shanks, there are many options that can offer a hook that’s optimal for a particular fishing situation. Here are a few shank types to consider and hook examples.

Types of Hook Shanks


Standard Shank

Standard Shank Fish hooks

Hooks with shanks that are half of the wire length from the eyelet to the bend are referred to as standard shank hooks. These hooks are versatile and suitable for all-around fishing applications, whether with live bait or soft plastics.

Some Standard Shank Hook options: 042 Wide Gap Baitholder, 080 Plain Shank Hook, 166 Pro-V Baitholder Hook


Long Shank

Long Shank Fish Hooks

 Hooks with shanks that are greater than half the wire length are referred to as long shank hooks. These hooks offer a larger surface area of hook material, which helps protect against bite-offs from toothy fish. They are also convenient for species that are known for fast action, as they make it easier to remove the hook. Anglers who practice catch and release also prefer long shank hooks, as they reduce the risk of gut-hooking fish.

Some Long Shank Hook options: 066 2X Long Shank Hook, 218 Carlisle Hook , L22 Re-Vovle Rotational Shank Hook


Short Shank

Short Shank Fish hooks

Hooks with shanks that are less than half of the total wire length are considered short shank hooks. These hooks are popular among anglers because they create a more natural action with live bait and soft plastics. They are also ideal for treble hooks, as they allow anglers to use larger hooks that stay close to the body of hard baits.

Some Short Shank Hook options: L8 Heavy Wire Extreme Live Bait Hook, TK7 Extreme Live Bait Hook, L256 O'Shaughnessy Live Bait Hook

Hook Shank Options

In addition to the different length and shapes shanks come in, there are also a few shank options that help dictate the type or style of a hook.


Curved Shank

Curved Shank Fish Hooks

Some curved shank hooks allow for more aggressive hook positioning, while others play a role in the movement of a bait when it’s reeled in or trolled.

Some hook options with Curved Shanks: TK883 Magnum Curved Shank Carp Hook, L144 Kahle Hook, TK220 Re-Vovle Rotational Shank Hook


Forged Shank 

Forged Shank Fish Hooks

Forging is a process that improves the strength of fishing hooks, making them more resistant to opening or bending out. When a hook is designated to have a forged shank, the forged area usually encompasses the entire bend moving up the shank but not all the way up to the eye or down to the point.

Some Hook options with a Forged Shank: Plain Shank Hook, TK110 Extra Wide Gap Worm Hook, L256 O'Shaugnessy Live Bait Hook


Bait Slices

Bait Slices on Fish hooks

 Bait Slices are like barbs, but they run along the shank of the hook. The slices do a fantastic job of keep baits of all kinds in place while casting and retrieving baits.

Some hook options with bait slices: 181 Baitholder, L038 Salmon Egg Baitholder Hook, 166 Pro-V Baitholder Hook



In conclusion, the hook shank is an important factor to consider when selecting fishing hooks. Whether you're looking for a short, standard, or long shank, or one that is forged or has slices, it's essential to understand the different options and how they can impact your fishing success.

If you have any questions post them in the comment section below we're here to help! 

American Made Fish Hooks

Learn more about fish hooks to maximize your time on the water! Click here to learn what makes a fish hook and how to take what you've learned to select the right hook for each angling adventure you take. 


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