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One of the first questions I hear in a fishing related conversation is, “what did you catch it on?” (and if the answer is “a jig” you know they’re lying). But most don’t realize that having the hot bait and the correct equipment could mean all the difference. My point being: most anglers are only concerned with the presentation (getting the bite) but never consider the business end of things; hooking and landing the fish. Once you attract a fish to bite, one of the most critical pieces of equipment that may be the most overlooked is your hook. The hook is your point of contact with the fish and if you don’t have the correct tool for the job, it may result in the loss of a trophy bass. But as I have mentioned, there is no silver bullet in fishing. So what is the best hook ever made? Here are three thoughts to consider to help you find the answer.
Bait Action: Hook style and size can dramatically alter your bait’s appearance in the water. Too big and the bait will sink faster than designed. Too wide, and your soft plastics may lose the natural action they were designed to have. While a happy medium may be desired, sometimes an extreme may be the answer. For example, I prefer an extra strong “super line” Extra wide gap hook for my senko style plastics because I generally fish the bait weightless and want the added weight of the hook to help it sink faster ( because I am impatient). In this scenario, I generally go up in hook size as this style of plastic has little to no action. In another light, I generally fish my drop shot rig with a “nose rigged” plastic when I am not around heavy cover. The reason why is because “nose rigging,” or simply hooking the plastic through the head only, allows for the maximum amount of action. The bait is free to move where it otherwise would not be when rigged “weed-less.” Most plastics are designed with a specific action in mind, and to get the most out of each presentation, consider what hook you use and how you rig it.
Hook-Up Ratio: The style of hook you use could mean the difference between hooking a fish and missing it all together. As every bait is different, you can achieve better hook penetration from each if you pair them with the proper hook. As a rule of thumb, light wire hooks tend to be sharper and penetrate the easiest. I really like light wire treble hooks on jerk baits and smaller top waters - baits that I know the bass will “slash” at and don’t intend to eat. Of course you must adjust your equipment to fight fish properly when using light wire hooks as they are not very durable and will straighten out under tension. On my crankbaits I prefer to go up in hook size to increase my odds of landing aggressive fish. The larger hooks give me more “bite” (grab and hook more of the fish). When I do this, I opt for short-shank trebles to reduce the likeliness of the hooks fowling up on the retrieve.
Cover: Cover is more of an issue when fighting a hooked fish. When a bass is buried deep in submerged grass or tangled in a brush pile, the fish has the advantage. If you attempt to pull a fish out of grass with a light wire hook, it will straighten and the fish will be lost. Bigger, thicker hooks are needed to wrestle fish out of thick vegetation or heavy cover like lay down trees. Also consider, a larger hook may help you hook more fish, but in thick cover it may be counterproductive. With a larger gap, you run the risk of the hook snagging cover (if it hangs outside the fish’s mouth). In some cases, downsizing to a smaller yet “beefy” hook will land more fish. For example: I may switch from a 5/0 flipping hook to a 3/0 flipping hook if I’m fishing lay down trees. If there is no cover and the bottom is mostly clear, there is no need for heavy tackle. In this scenario, I focus more on appearance and action and will take my time fighting fish on light tackle.
Every time I sit in my boat and rig tackle, I try to consider where I will be fishing, what baits I think I need and the hooks that will present the lure and land the fish best in the given situations. By matching my hook selection to these three things, I feel more confident that I am stacking the odds in my favor. I hope this article is helpful to those who have taken the time to read it. Any comments or criticisms are welcome. If you would like to see first-hand how I match the proper hook with the baits I fish, book a trip and come fish with me! Going into September, Lake Fork and Lake Athens will be a blast to fish and could produce your new personal best bass! I have the following dates available this month: Sept. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28th please contact me to book your trip. Thanks for reading and I hope to be fishing with you soon!
Lake Fork | Lake Athens
Phone: (509) 309-5252