When it comes down to it, the hook at the end of your line is the most important connection to the fish. Sharp enough to pierce solid bone and strong enough to tame a pissed off wild animal, the correct size and style hook will get the job done. We asked five pros for their favorite fishing hooks. Here’s what we learned.
5 Pros Pick Their Favorite Fishing Hooks
Trapper Tackle | 11440 Wide Gap Offset | 4/0
trappertackle.com [Note: Trapper Tackle closed permanently in September 2019, but their hooks are still available at several online retailers.]
Coming out of the “why didn’t I think of that” file, Trapper Tackle’s unique worm hook is bent near the point to keep the soft plastic in place. When a fish strikes, the design keeps it hooked. Bonafide Kayaks pro staffer, Mike Case swears by the 4/0 Offset Wide Gap for tournament bass fishing. “I lose fewer fish and the soft plastic stays in place longer so I can make more casts.” Two keys to winning a tournament. Case especially likes the 11440 for Texas-rigged worms, but admits he likes the hook for any soft plastic. He adds, “Another favorite is fishing the hook weightless with a Strike King Green Pumpkin Rage Toad.”
Eagle Claw 202A-2 | Aberdeen Light Wire | No. 2
A light, long-shank Aberdeen hook is the standard for panfish. “My grandpa would get a couple packs when we bought bait,” remembers Rob Reid from Vibe Kayaks pro staff. The thin wire penetrates the tough mouth of a brim or crappie. A long shank makes it easier to remove the small hook. “Tie the hook to the end of your line, add a couple split shots three inches above the hook then a bobber a foot above the weights,” Reid says.
Gamakatsu 208418 | Offset Circle | 8/0
From the Northeast to the mid-Atlantic, live bait is a deadly technique for striped bass. When a giant striped bass inhales a live eel or menhaden, the circle hook keeps the fish from swallowing the hook. “Circle hooks improve the chance a striped bass will survive after I release it,” explains Hobie team member Shawn Barnham. He chooses a Gamakatsu Octopus Circle because the bent eye is angled for snelling to a leader and the offset point has a greater chance of finding the corner of the fish’s mouth. Barnham uses a three-way rig. He starts by tying a three-way swivel to the 50-pound mainline. A four-foot leader of 50-pound fluorocarbon line attaches the hook to the swivel. “I add a one to six-ounce sinker depending on the current,” he says.
Owner 5305-151 | Gorilla | 5/0
California yellowtail hit hard and run strong so pulling one out of the kelp forests takes a solid hook and patient angler. To fly line live mackerel, Hobie product manager Howie Stretch uses a 5/0 Owner Gorilla hook because the cutting point is deadly sharp and the 3X strong forged wire will not break. Stretch suggests braided main line to cut through the kelp. Braid and a light leader put less drag on the bait allowing it to live longer and swim better, he adds. He connects the hook to a four-foot piece of 40-pound fluorocarbon with a perfection loop. “A loop knot lets the bait move freely,” he explains.
To score a big muskie, an angler must make hundreds of casts and troll for miles. It takes a strong hook to survive one of these monsters. Hobie team member Richard Ofner makes each encounter count with VMC’s 4X O’Shaughnessy Treble. “The non-forged, high carbon steel won’t rust,” Ofner points out. He likes the short shank and cutting point to stick in a muskie’s thick jaw. The VMC treble comes standard on Ofner’s favorite lure, a WaterWolf Shallow Shadzilla. “I caught my biggest muskie on that lure,” he says, “I throw it most often.”
When it comes down to it, the hook at the end of your line is the most important connection to the fish. | Feature photo: Kayak Angler Staff