Dec 20, 2011, 1:39 PM EDT
When stickbaits first exploded on the bass market, one of the first questions that stumped anglers centered on hook choice, particularly when wacky rigging the bait. A lot of successful anglers I know simply turned to their worm hooks, but I wasn’t wild about having a 3/0 or 4/0 hook hanging unnaturally out the side of the bait, though the bass didn’t seem to mind and the fact the relatively heavy hooks helped increase bait action on the fall.
My solution back then was to switch over to larger Octopus style hooks which not only featured wide gaps, but also short, nearly-invisible, shanks.
Today, there is a wide variety of hooks now available for stickbaits and just about every other style of popular bass baits. Three newer designs that really stood out at the ICAST trade show last July were the JigRig by Owner, the new Mustad UltraPoint KVD Elite Triple Grip Short Shank treble and the VMC Spin Shot.
I’ll start with the KVD treble if for no other reason than I still get nervous about losing bass when fishing crankbaits. Even with mono or fluoro and when using a soft-tip rod, the number of fish I lose when fishing cranks is entirely too high for my tastes. I’ve experimented with a variety of hooks, going both larger and smaller in search of the best option. Going larger does improve catch rates, but going up more than a hook size or two generally means increased tangling and potential tuning issues. The new KVD Triple Grip model, however, features short shanks that reduces tangling issues, allowing you to upgrade to wide gaps to hook and hold better. Suggested retail is $7.50 per six; visit www.mustad.no for more info.
Owner has knack for blowing me away with quality products and unique designs. Their new JigRig features a thin tear-dropped shaped weight in either tungsten or lead attached to the eye of an offset hook. This allows the rigged bait to move independently of the weight, giving it a subtle swimming action, even when fished on bottom. Check them out at www.owner.com.
I also a big fan of the VMC Spin Shot, which allows you to drop shot a bait and keep it horizontal AND eliminate line twist. Suggested retail is $S3.99 per pack. Visit www.vwmhooks.com.— Steve
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