Choosing the right hook for a rig starts with the bait. The size and design of the hook both need to be considered. The wrong size will make you miss fish and the wrong design or type leads to the same conclusion. Choosing the right hook is not hard with a little thought. Since there is a hook for every conceivable application in fishing.
Choosing the Right Hook for Live Baits Rigs
Live bait hooks are specific to the bait and sometimes the species of fish, while one hook can work a selection of various hooks works better. The various hooks are designed to hold the bait and allow better hooksets. The standard bait holder hook is great for worms or nightcrawlers but is a poor choice for cut bait or minnows.
The most common hook used with live bait. The shank has barbs designed to keep these baits in place on the hook. It is good for worms, nightcrawlers, and other baits that tend to slide off easily. These hooks will hold dough-ball and corn additionally for carp fishing. The baitholder hook does have a little versatility compared to other hooks. If you are doing general fishing this hook is a good choice. Use a snell to attach the hook to your line.
The octopus hook has the line tie eye bent backward. The backward bend is ideal for snelling these hooks. You can tie them with a knot but snelling the hook is stronger than a knot. Use this hook for minnows, leeches, and other baits you want to be moving. They are slightly lighter than a baitholder and it does make a difference. Your bait can act more naturally in the water leading to more bites.
The circle hook looks similar to the octopus hook. The difference is at the point. The circle hook has the point bent around more in the design. As a result, this makes them ideal for reducing swallowed hooks. The hook will slide to the corner of the fish’s mouth and hook the fish. You do not use a hookset with these hooks. It will pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth, you simply reel down when the fish takes the bait. Since this hook is good for cut bait, it is a favorite among catfish anglers.
- Tie on hooks with a straight eye, the line will determine the knot.
- Snell hooks with a bent eye when possible since the tag will not grab the weeds
- Check the sharpness of the hooks, some are not sharp enough new
- Thin wire hooks penetrate better on a hookset
- Use heavier wire for bigger fish to prevent the hook straightening out.
Choosing the Right Hook for Soft Plastics Rigs
Choosing the right hook for soft plastics is different from live bait. You have to consider the bait, strength, and style of hook for soft plastics. There are too many anglers using a worm hook all the time. The design will allow some baits to slide out of the fish’s mouth. As a result, it is important to match the hook to how and what bait you are using.
Choosing the Right Worms Hooks for a Rig
Choosing the right hook for a soft plastic rig depends on the bait size and type. A bulky bait needs a wide gap, worms can use a standard gap, and some finesse rigs use a straight shank for better results. The size of the bait will determine the size of the hook.
The correct hook also prevents lure spin. An incorrect hook or an improperly placed bait on the hook bait causes a spinning action. This is not natural and will spook fish. Use the seams on the bait if you can to keep them aligned properly. On the other baits, you have to use your sight and check it in the water. If it spins try again, the spinning will twist line and you will not catch fish.
Worm Hook Design
If you look at the design of worm hooks the point is aligned with the eye. This has its pros and cons. You can keep a bait straight easier but it affects hooksets negatively sometimes. The Texas rig has a weight at the eye and this can cause an opening when pulled in the fish’s mouth allowing the hook to exit also. A straight shank may be preferable on some occasions. If you are missing fish try a straight shank instead.
In addition to the shape, worm hooks can come weighted or with a keeper. The weighted hooks do allow more control at times. You can sink the bait faster and use different retrieve speeds. The hooks with keepers vary in design but all are made to keep the soft plastics in place. The screw-on keeper is the best. It does take a little more time to place the plastic on the hook but the baits last longer. The other styles are satisfactory and improve bait life also.
Offset Worm Hook
This hook has a straight shank with an offset bend near the eye. The offset worm hook is best for the texas rig. Since the hook point is not in alignment with the eye. The hooks with the point in line with the eye will cause missed fish with the Texas rig. You should have this hook along with the other styles of worm hooks. As a result, fishing soft plastics require a variety of hooks.
Wacky Rig Hooks
The wacky rig has its own type of hook. The key with these hooks is the size since the point must be clear of the bait. A hook too small will prevent the hook from being set. If in doubt use the larger hook and downsize if you are missing fish. The hook size is always important and more so on the wacky rig.
This hook is commonly used with Neko and drop shot rigging also. The hook placement has to be done correctly with these rigs. On a Neko rig, the point has to be up away from the nose with the weight. It is better to rig a Neko rig with the o-rings to give the hook more exposure also. You can go through the worm but it conceals the hook and less point is exposed.
Choosing the right hook for the drop shot rig can vary. The wacky hook is good for worms and Senkos but other baits likely require a different hook. A paddle tail or other bulkier bait may require a wide gap style hook. You will need to experiment with hook selection at times with some of the rigs and hooks. There is not a one hook solution to fishing soft plastics.
Straight Shank Hooks
Although some anglers feel these have gone the way of the dinosaur there is a use for them. The straight shank hook with an O`Shaughnessy bend gives you a stronger hook with better penetration. Since the point is not aligned with the eye it has a tendency to increase hooking rates, therefore missing less fish. If the rig you are using is causing failed hookups it may be the hook. Try the straight shank hook and see if it makes a difference. In fishing, small changes can have big impacts on success.
The hooks for fishing have become specialized over the years. You need to learn what hook is used for what rig and bait. There will be times however the recommended hooks do not work. That is when you need to try something a little different. Changing things up leads to experience and innovation leading to better success in fishing. I hope choosing the right hook for a rig is easier with the information provided.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights