Peter Pakula discusses how important hook size is, when gearing up to tackle barrel-sized bluefin.

This year, in south-western Victoria, we had one of the best, if not the best runs of big southern bluefin tuna ever. Lots of fish were caught, lots more were dropped. Here’s a possible reason why.

Everyone thinks hook size is relative to lure size – it’s actually not that important. There’s certainly a minimum-sized hook (the gape of the hook should be no smaller than the head of the lure), but these larger game fish require much larger hooks – even if you’re fishing with smaller lures.

When using smaller hooks, the fish will often be hooked in the jawbone – and you don’t want this. Any type of bone material splits. Think of it like a tree branch: it’ll hold an awful lot of weight, but when it splits, it’s game over. You really need to use a hook large enough to go right around the jawbone – not through the middle of it. A common misconception is that bigger hooks will make the lures look “unnatural” and the fish will spook. There is nothing natural about trolling lures. Lures do not look like a fleeing baitfish, baitfish do not have leaders sticking out in front of them, and a fish certainly doesn’t know what a hook is. As long as you’ve got a lure that’s relative to what you can catch the fish on, you shouldn’t be worried about running larger hooks through them.



– When chasing barrels (or any large game fish) increase the hook size on your smaller lures. For example, you shouldn’t have any problems running 9/0 hooks in a 5-inch lure – just make sure it swims right.

– Ensure your leader size is relative to your lure size. For example, the heaviest leader you should run on a five-inch skirted lure is 100lb.

– Tailor your lure spread to match your boat size and configuration. If you need some advice on this, you can contact Peter Pakula via Live Help on his website and he’ll talk through it with you. Visit: http://www.pakula.com.au/


Pakula Lures have hooked more barrels this year than any other lure on the market – including the two biggest (164.3kg and 178kg).