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Fish Hooks on Hats – Why Is It Done?

By Taylor James


Updated on

Have you ever seen someone with fish hooks on their hat and wondered why they were there? What’s the purpose of placing fish hooks on hats? As it turns out, there are several reasons to wear fish hooks in your hat. 

Many people wear fish hooks on hats to store fishing lures during fishing trips, bring good luck, support the “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” campaign, or add a trendy accessory to their favorite hats. While they used to be a way to store the extra hooks, they’re now a fashion statement.

Let’s talk more about the history of wearing fishing hooks and lures on hats, as well as some of the best ways to add fishing hooks to your hat so that you can add more color and practicality to your headwear. 

Why Do People Put Fish Hooks on the Hats?

Attaching fish hooks on the brim of a hat has become trendy over the years, but it didn’t necessarily start that way. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons people put fish hooks on hats.

fish hooks on a hat

To Keep Fish Hooks Handy While Fishing

Fish hooks first started to appear on hats when fly-fishers wanted to keep their hooks and lures handy during fishing trips. Removing a fishing hook from your hat can be a lot quieter and quicker than removing it from a tackle box. 

Sometimes, fly fishers need to wade in the water, making it difficult for them to get to a tackle box to switch out lures, so by putting hooks on their hats, fishers got more fish and made switching out lures much quicker and simpler. 

Fish Hooks on Hats Mean Good Luck in Some Cultures

Many anglers still wear fishing lures and hooks on their hats, and some will even tell you that having one on their hat brings them good luck. In Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures, a fish hook is called Makau. Wearing a Makau is supposed to bring you more abundance and luck when fishing. 

So, some people might wear fishing hooks to attract abundance and good fortune to themselves. 

Hooked on Fishing Campaign Popularized Fish Hooks on Hats

One thing that made fishing lure hats much more popular was race car driver Davy Allison’s “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” campaign. All proceeds from this campaign went to a youth foundation that taught rural and inner-city kids and teens survival skills like fishing and camping.

During this 1989 anti-drugs campaign, Allison passed out hats with fake fishing lures attached to them to promote his cause. He also passed out one golden fish hook at fundraising events for one special kid to wear on his hat. 

These hats and golden hooks became very desirable, and from there, many people started to wear hats with elaborate lures and hooks attached to support Allison’s cause. 

Fish Hooks on Hats Are Fashion Accessories

Many people started to wear hats with fishing lures and hooks on them to racing events, which brought fish-hook-hats into the popular media, which then made these colorful and fun lures a new and unique way to accessorize over time. 

In the 1980s, many people started to make fake lures to attach to their hats. These artificial lures quickly made wearing fish hooks on your hat a fashion statement above all else. 

Some people wear fish hooks on their hats to accessorize, while others might be actual fishers or supporters of the “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” program. Either way, wearing a fish hook on your hat is trendy and practical for some people. 

Where To Put Fish Hooks on Your Hat

Since fish hooks are sharp and barbed, you’ll need to be careful if you put a real fish hook on your hat. Many people attach the hook right in the center of their hat, but that makes it much more likely that it’ll jab you in the forehead. Generally, you should only attach sharp hooks to the bill or brim of your hat to keep them from hurting you. 

Also, if you plan on using your fish hook to catch fish, you should put it on the left or right of your hat, depending on your dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, putting your lure on the right side will make it far simpler to remove when you need it. 

Still, most anglers would agree that if you’re not going to use the hook immediately, securing it on the left side of your hat with the barb up is the best way to add fishing hooks to your hats. 

How To Put Fish Hooks on Your Hat

If you want to add some beautiful lures to your hat, how should you attach them? If you’re using a fish hook as a hat accessory, you’ll need to take some precautions to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself while wearing your hat. Fish hooks are sharp and can quickly get stuck in your skin if you leave the barbed hook exposed. 

Wear a Fish Hook as a Hat Clip

Fish hook hat clips are a popular option for attaching lures to your hat, whether they’re strictly ornamental or for your next fishing trip. Clips like these Eagle Claw Hat Hooks on Amazon slide onto the brim or bill of your hat, making it so that you don’t have to puncture the fabric. You can leave them as is or attach other lures to them if you want.  

Hat clips are some of the best fishing-related accessories, although they don’t function as real fishing hooks or lures. If you want a stylish way to show off your love for fishing or add color to your hat, these clips are the way to go, as they come in many different colors, and you can even find gold or diamond-encrusted ones. 

Use the Hook and Cover Method

If you have a sharp, barbed fish hook that you want to put on your hat, using the hook and cover method to weave your lure into the brim or bill of your hat is the best method for you. When you put a sharp fish hook in your hat, you must attach it properly to ensure that you don’t poke yourself with it. To secure your fish hook, follow the steps below: 

  1. Pick a spot on the brim or bill of your hat you’re not likely to touch when you wear it. 
  2. Puncture the outer layer of your hat’s fabric with the pointy end of your lure.
  3. Feed the barbed end of the hook back through the material, pushing it upwards. 
  4. Push the blunt end of the hook to secure the barbed tip on the hat’s fabric. 

Wedging the hook into your hat, like a safety pin, will ensure that it doesn’t come loose or stab you while wearing it. 

Fishing Hats With Built-In Hook Holders

Fishing hats have built-in hook holders around the band, which are loops of fabric that you can easily feed lures and fish hooks through, making them easier to remove and safer to wear on your head. 

When you put fishing hooks in a fishing hat, all you have to do is poke the hook through the loop’s fabric and feed it back through the loop several times, ensuring that the pointed end faces upwards. It’s crucial to make sure that the barb isn’t pointing down since that’s a sure-fire way to get the hook caught in your ear or forehead. 


People wear fish hooks on their hats for many reasons. While some people are convinced that they’re good luck, others might use their hats to store their lures while they’re waist-deep in water. 

Fish hooks are also trendy and unique accessories for any hat, which is part of why they’ve become so popular over the years. No matter how you use your fish hook, adding one to a hat is a great way to personalize your headwear and show the world how much you love fishing.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.