To catch everything from walleye and pike to trout and channel cats, rig up with the versatile octopus hook
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.