Q. Bill, can you give me some advice or tips about bass hooks?
Posted: April 2nd, 2014 by Bill Dance
Bill: Sure. When it comes down to it, catching fish is all about that connection between fish and hook. Until that hook penetrates, nothing happens; so you absolutely have to have sharp hooks like those made by Gamakatsu.
With that basic foundation in mind, I want to also offers the following tips for better hook-ups via his favorite brand of hooks.
• Plastic baits are hotter than a jug of red ants these days—grubs, lizards, creature baits, whatever. But a lot of people make a common mistake: They mismatch the hook size with the size of their favorite plastic bait. In order for one to complement the other, and catch more fish, they have to match.
I use Gamakatsu’s extra-wide gap hooks when fishing plastic baits.
• Don’t use hooks that have too much diameter. For most techniques you just don’t need the big diameter hooks. Example, it’s more difficult to push a nail into a potato than it is a straight pin.
It’s also harder to drive the bigger diameter hooks through the plastic bait and the fish. On the other hand, smaller diameter hooks give you less resistance when it comes to penetration.
Folks flipping with braided line can get away with heavier hooks, but when casting you typically do not need them.
People also say, “Well, a hook is easy to bend from the point back.” That may be the case, but what does the work for you when landing/fighting fish is down in the hook’s throat, not the tip, and the throat is much more resistant, even on smaller diameter hooks.
• I also fish a lot of barbless hooks, removing the barbs, or any rough spot anywhere on the hook with needle-nose pliers. Some say I will loose more fish, but I don’t think so, as long as I keep pressure on the fish while landing it.
What I do by removing the barbs is keep a lot of fish alive. When a fish is hooked, I can simply reach in under the gills with the hemostats or long-nosed needle pliers, grab the hook and gently twist to the right or left. It pops free with no harm to the fish.
• It is very important to use quality hooks. There is no substitute for quality and you never know when you just may hook that fish of a lifetime. Look for durability and a unique tempering process, high carbon steel and sharpness.
• When it comes to fishing the many creature baits or tube-type baits, I really like a Gamakatsu G-Lock extra-wide gap hook. It holds in a good position when you have to “skin” hook these baits and holds it really well.
• Most often, I probably use an off-set hook, but I will also use a lighter straight shank hook when using light-weight rods and line. With lighter mono, there is a stretch factor, and lighter rods absorb some energy too. But a straight-shanked hook adheres to the shortest-distance-between-two-points-is-a-straight-line rule. Also, in such situations, the plastic bait can slide down the hook to the hook’s throat and give you added opportunity for hook penetration.
I will even down-size to a 1/0 straight-shanked hook when finesse fishing, or maybe even a Size 1 or Size 2. Either way, you can dramatically increase your hook-set percentage with a straight-shank in situations where you have to fish lighter tackle.
As always, catch one for me!
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