Whether you’re just starting out bass fishing or you’ve been doing it a long time, the sheer number of hooks can be intimidating. Go to Tackle Warehouse and there are hundreds of options available. It’s ridiculous, it’s confusing, it’s outrageous.
Of course there are specialty hooks that apply in certain situations, but when I sat down and thought about it, I realized that there are five basic styles that I use the most. These five are in my bass boat or my kayak any time I go bass fishing.
Let’s start with the workhorse: It’s a straight shank flipping and pitching hook like the VMC Ike Approved Heavy Duty hook. It excels in short-range presentations into heavy cover. It provides great penetration when you set the hook in close quarters, whether you’re under a dock, in thick trees or under a matted wad of grass. It also has a big gap so you can use it with creature and beaver-style baits. Just make sure you tie it on with a snell knot – that way, when you set the hook, the point will pop up and grab them every time.
Number two is at the opposite end of the spectrum—it’s a finesse hook like the VMC SureSet Drop Shot hook. I carry them in smaller sizes like #2, #1 and 1/0. I use it to nose hook a lot of smaller lures, like thin worms and goby-style baits. It allows me to present the bait horizontally. When you look at the sheer number of tournaments that have been won with this style of hook over the past 10 years it’s amazing. I have at least one rigged up every time I’m competing.
For my third choice, let’s go back a little bit bigger: It’s the old school offset worm hook, like a VMC Round Bend. They come in different gauges, so tailor your choice to your lure, but generally I use them for Texas rigging thinner small plastics like soft stickbaits and ribbontail worms. It matches the profile of the body, which is critical. You don’t want to underpower or overpower the lure.
Number four is another finesse-style hook which is essential to my style of fishing. It’s a Neko-style hook, another model that is winning tournaments across the country. It’s a hybrid style, and it’s the absolute best for wacky rigging or tail-weighted soft plastics. I carry every size from #4 to 3/0, although the #2 and #1 probably get the call most often. I really like the VMC weedless version. It holds the bait well and hooks an incredibly high percentage of bass that bite. You’ll lose far fewer than you do with other styles of hook.
Last but not least, an EWG hook is also critical in my fishing across the country. It’s a variation of the round bend, just with an “extra wide gap.” It’s what I use for soft plastics that are big and fat, like oversized creatures, flipping tubes, and giant fat-bodied swimbaits. I carry them from about 2/0 up to 6/0, and all of those sizes play a role in my efforts.
Carry those five, in a variety of sizes, and you’ll be surprised at how many of your day-to-day bases you have covered. Collectively, they’re ideal for just about any situation you’ll encounter, and you don’t need to overthink your approach.
Subscribe to Mike’s YouTube channel, to ensure you see every adventure video. (Download the YouTube app on your phone and the videos will come to you automatically.)
Return to Mike Iaconelli’s website