Hook Details The Willamette Train Wreck By Marc Marcantonio, Page 3

Hook Details The Willamette Train Wreck
By Marc Marcantonio, Page 3


Fall 2021

page 62

Hooks have come a long way since animal bone and

I once caught an IGFA World Record walleye on the

shell hooks before the Stone Age. Despite the technological

Columbia River in Washington while using the same #4

advancements, there is no “one size fits all” or magic hook

Gamakatsu split shot/dropshot hook on 6-pound-test

for all situations.

Sugoi fluorocarbon line. The hook size was perfectly

Understanding and employing the different qualities

matched to my line size, and the Lamiglas 3-power rod and

and features of the right hook can make the difference

Shimano 2500 spinning reel.

between landing a trophy or experiencing a train wreck.

Fly fishermen catch huge fish on smaller hooks and

As a seasoned lifelong angler, I grew up when hooks

lighter line, because they match the tackle to the size hook

floated like a butterfly, but now sting like a bee. In the 1970’s necessary to imitate a tiny mayfly or caddis fly.

top bass anglers labored hours with a honing stone and a

Many characteristics of the split shot/drop shot hook

box of blued steel J-Hooks. The hooks did not go into the

parallel a fly hook. The thin wire makes the hook lightweight,

tacklebox until the point would dig into a thumbnail instead which aids the flotation qualities of a soft plastic worm,

of sliding across it.

without negatively affecting the appearance of the worm.

There were basically two styles of hook for all lures,

The barb on the Gamakatsu model is small, as is the conical

the single “J-Hook” and the treble hook. The only choice in

needle point that easily punctures flesh (or a tooth patch).

the matter was the size used. Today there are more styles,

Compare this to a larger knife point that relies on slicing

shapes, sizes, finishes, thicknesses, features, and other

flesh to penetrate. A knife point may be favored for species

aspects that give choices most never consider.

of fish that have tough rubbery mouths, but the tradeoff

Understanding these aspects can be the biggest factor

is that the mouth of a bass can tear or split, allowing more

in advancing angler success. Unlike when I started bass

damage and a larger hole where the hook can fall out during

fishing as a charter member of B.A.S.S., today there are

a jump or head shake. The small barb on a needle point

many excellent choices in hook brands and models.

bass hook holds a bass better with less damage, often

Having used Gamakatsu hooks since they first

requiring pliers to remove.

appeared, I have studied hook design and even helped them

Today’s models of split shot/drop shot hooks even

to design some of the very hooks that are likely in your

sport extremely thin “Tournament Grade Wire” which is

tackle box. In this and future articles I hope to share some

stronger than the line used with these hooks. Unlike regular

lessons learned about specific bass hooks.

wire hooks, you can even buy models coated with nano

In general, it is obvious that a hook needs to stick

particle technology. This provides a subdued finish that

quickly, penetrate, hold (without breaking, bending, or falling does not negatively alert the sense of sight of a bass and

out), and land fish. In addition, the hook must complement

provides a slick finish that aids in penetration with less

the lure style, shape, and material.


It also must be matched with the technique used, the

An important characteristic of any hook, but especially

power of the rod and reel, and most importantly the pound

one used with light line, is the direction of the hook point

test of the line being used.

with relation to the line tie, or eye of the hook. Ideally a

In the old days one truth about bass fishing hooks

hook point that is directly in line with the direction

everyone followed was “bigger is better.” This concept

of line pull will be the most efficient in its ability to

is often repeated to this day. As my Willamette train


wreck experience illustrates, this is not always true.

Keep this in mind when considering which hook

Most anglers realize hook size must be appropriate

you plan to use, especially with 4- to 8-pound test

for the bait size, but how many

line. An efficient in-line hook point will

consider the wire size

set itself during the fight,

to match the line size? If

minimizing line breakage,

using 6 or 8-pound-test,

while the light weight and

you will rarely generate

conical point keep the

enough force to drive a

hook from falling out with

thick wire hook past the

light pressure.

barb into a bass.

Stay tuned for

Today’s premium

future articles where we

light wire hooks are

will explore other hook

stronger than light line,

styles such Z-Bend,

so by using thinner wire

R-Bend, Round Bend,

you gain a penetration

O’Shaughnessy Bend,

advantage without

and different treble

sacrificing strength.

hook styles. Be sure

Conversely if you

to also view the video

use braid to fish heavy

embedded in this article

cover, you might easily

to see the split shot/

bend or break a light wire hook when you pin Mama Pesce.

Willamette wiiners caught on a #4 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot hook

drop shot hook in action with both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Ciao. •