This time I want to talk a little about hooks. But not so much about what model or design of hook to use and not about which company makes the best ones. Instead, I want to talk about the factors you want to think about when you pick one to use.
The first thing about hooks that I’ve come to realize in my fishing career is that the single most important factor is that they be sharp. Years ago only a few of the very best had sharp points on them. Now they all have sharp points, at least when they come out of the package.
What’s really different about them are the barbs. Some have small ones and some have big ones. I’m a fan of the big ones. That’s one of the biggest reasons I fish with Berkley Fusion hooks. The barb is what holds the hook in the fish. Why wouldn’t you want a big one? That only makes sense to me.
After the barb the next consideration for me is the strength of the metal. When I’m fishing with lighter line and for ordinary size bass I want something in the thinner range, not necessarily a thin wire hook but one that isn’t real heavy. The heavier the metal on the hook the harder it’ll be to drive it home. Thinner wire models have a sharper point. Always keep that in mind.
With heavy tackle and line, and in big bass waters, the opposite is true. The 2020 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River next February is an excellent example of that. You’ll see a lot of guys using 5X strength hooks there. I guarantee that.
Once you’ve made the decisions about barbs and strength it’s time to think about some practical things. The first one, and the most important one, for me is keeping the hook point sharp. The way I do that is by changing my hooks often. You won’t see me throw a jerkbait all day with the same set of hooks. I’ll change them several times during a tournament day.
I’m so serious about this that I take the hooks off of my lures when I’m done for the day, and then I throw those used hooks away. That forces me to put new ones on the next time I go fishing. That’s not something that most anglers can do, however. I know that. It’s too expensive when your paying retail for quality hooks.
The solution to replacing your hooks is to keep a good file handy and touch-up your points throughout the day. There are tons of good videos on the internet that’ll show you how to sharpen a hook properly so I won’t get into that here. However, I will suggest you practice before the next time you go fishing. It’s that important.
Something else I do is bend the point out a few degrees — not much, just a little — on every single point hook in my box. This will radically increase you hooksets. This is especially important with plastics. Bending the point out a little keeps it away from the lure. It doesn’t get all balled up in the plastic.
Think about your hooks this winter. You can inventory them and get what you don’t have, and winter is a great time to sharpen all of the points.