Without the proper hook, it can be nearly impossible to land that monster bass you’ve been searching for all season. Knowing the right hook to use in different situations can be easy, though, once you learn how to recognize and distinguish between the styles.
DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate and tournament bass fisherman Brendan Conlon recommends five hook styles that can be useful for anglers chasing their next fish tale. Each hook is slightly different than the next, but they all share the same goal: landing bass. Learn how to identify the best hooks for bass fishing and you could be hooking into huge success on the water in no time.
STRAIGHT SHANK HOOK
Situations: Flipping, pitching and fishing in heavy cover
As the name suggests, straight shank hooks are designed with no bend in the shank, which can lend itself to better hook sets. When you set the hook with a straight shank, it’s a direct line pull. This means the point and line are traveling parallel to each other, so there’s a greater chance for a positive hookup.
“Any direction that you set the hook with this [style],” Conlon says, “it’s going to penetrate, and you’re going to get a good hookup ratio.”
Straight shank hooks can be great for heavy cover conditions, as well as locations with grassy vegetation. One disadvantage, however, is that your soft plastics might occasionally slide down the straight shank, since there’s no offset or bend to stop this movement. Some manufacturers, though, have added barbs to the shank to help limit this situation and keep plastics in their place.
OFFSET ROUND BEND HOOK
Situations: Multiple conditions with more streamlined plastics
Rather than a straight shank from the eye to the hook’s bend, offset round bend hooks feature an additional “Z” bend right behind the eye. This can help keep bait and plastics in place and allows for a better profile and presentation with streamlined plastics.
Offset round bend hooks can be an all-around great option for bass fishermen as they’re able to be used in a variety of circumstances, from heavy cover areas to spots where weedless presentations are needed.
OFFSET WIDE GAP HOOK
Situations: Multiple conditions with bulkier plastics
The offset wide gap hook is very similar in design to the offset round bend hook. Both feature the “Z” bend behind the eye that allows for less bait movement down the shank, but with the offset wide gap, the space between point and shank is more exaggerated. This larger gap allows anglers to rig bulkier bait options.
“If you’ve got a big, heavy creature-style bait that’s real thick, this is a great option for that,” Conlon says. “That extra-wide gap in the hook there really allows for extra room for the plastic.”
Offset wide gap hooks have the eye and point in direct line with one another, meaning you have less margin for a successful hookup than you would with a straight shank hook. This is something to be aware of, but nothing that should turn you away from this useful and effective hook style.
DROP SHOT HOOK OR “OCTOPUS HOOK”
Situations: Drop shot technique
While the previous three hooks are more universal, the drop shot hook, sometimes called the “octopus hook,” is purpose-built for the finesse technique of drop shot fishing. Drop shotting often requires anglers to nose rig soft plastics that imitate small suspending baitfish, and the drop shot hook is intended to help with a level bait profile and presentation. Conlon says that the drop shot hook accomplishes this with its thin-wired design and compact size. This hook isn’t very weedless, but there are models available with weed guards for extra security.
WACKY RIG HOOK
Situations: Wacky rigging.
Wacky rigs call for wacky hooks. This style is very similar to the drop shot hook, but showcases a wider gap to accommodate your wacky-rigged plastic worms and stickbaits.
“That really allows for a better hookup ratio with that thick-style stickbait,” Conlon says.
Wacky hooks are another purpose-built piece that is compact and tight to help maintain presentation while maximizing hook penetration. As with drop shot hooks, this style isn’t particularly weedless, but weed guards are available on some models.
Check out our additional Pro Tips for more information on how to rig your soft plastic baits.
Bass fishermen need to be geared to the gills to land those monsters of the deep. Keep these Pro Tips in mind and consider hooking into these five efficient bass fishing hook styles.
Plus, don’t forget to have confidence in your entire bass fishing setup with the right fishing line for the job. Add strength and security to your angling rigging by knowing the best fishing lines for bass fishing, too.