The one fish hook that catches almost everything

My tackleboxes are stuffed with lures and rigs adorned with hooks of almost every description. But if I had to single out my absolute favourite hook—the one I’d never want to be without—I’d immediately pick the octopus hook. Featuring a short shank, upturned eye and offset point, the octopus hook is deceptively simple, and those same characteristics also make it very versatile. The short shank suits a variety of rigs, while the upturned eye keeps the hook running straight and true when tied on with a simple snell knot. As for the offset point, it serves to increase hook-ups.

The octopus hook may resemble a circle hook (see “Pointed differences” on the final page), but it was originally designed for use with live bait, in situations where the smallest, lightest hook is essential for a natural presentation. It’s since proven ideal for a variety of different tactics and fish, however, using both natural and artificial bait. For small trout, for example, you can skewer a chunk of worm on a tiny size 14 octopus hook, while a husky size 10/0 hook is perfect for presenting a large minnow or soft-plastic for pike and muskies. Here are five of my favourite octopus-hook rigs, and they’re all inexpensive, effective and easy to make.