Hooks, Line and Sinker
by Kenny Covington
Catching fish is the ultimate goal of each angler. We get caught up in favorite lures, secret areas and hidden hotspots so much that we often times forget the simplest items of the fish catching equation. Fishing kept simple is usually when fishing is the most fun.
Fishhooks have come a long way since I caught my first bass over 40 years ago. If you were to go look into our local tackle stores or shop online the choices are endless to the brands, styles and varieties of fishhooks for every angling scenario you can think of.
Our topwaters and crankbaits are now produced with hooks that are effective when used straight from the package. While the quality of some may not be top notch they are still better than what we used years ago. The materials now are much better and even a questionable hook can be made razor sharp with a few seconds with a good hook file.
At one time, bass fisherman would buy molds and create their own jigs and spinnerbaits, because the hooks that came in the factory-created lures were substandard. Now, the need to build your own lures is more out of creativity than need. Even though you pay more for the product, the hooks are of the best quality and razor sharp.
Hooks for plastic worms and other soft plastics have improved dramatically as well. Gamakatsu, Owner, Eagle Claw and Mustad are the more popular fishhook companies. While each company makes an excellent product, reputation being what it is, Gamakatsu is arguably the more popular choice by fishermen.
When choosing your hooks for fishing soft plastics for bass, the biggest mistake I see being made is the hook being used doesn’t fit the application it is being used for. Make sure the size of the hook matches the size of the plastic being used. 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0 are the more popular sizes, but each has its place. For bigger soft plastics such as a 10 inch plastic worm or most creature baits, a 4/0 hook is usually a good choice. When fishing a smaller creature bait or plastic worm, 2/0 or 3/0 hooks are the standard size. The only time I use a 1/0 hook is when I am Texas rigging small finesse worms or if I am drop-shotting and need to rig my lure weedless.
The importance of fishing line can’t be argued, since it is your connection to the fish. Fishing lines have been around for hundreds of years, and today there are several to choose from. Because monofilament, braided lines and fluorocarbon are in abundance, it can get confusing as to which ones to use for different situations.
If I had to choose one line to introduce someone to bass fishing, it would be 15 lb. Berkeley Big Game green monofilament. This is a very good all-around fishing line. It’s tough, durable, manageable and, best of all, it is cost friendly. I can use it for throwing most topwater lures, fishing a Texas rigged plastic worm, and throwing a variety of crankbaits and spinnerbaits with equal effectiveness.
Is 15 lb. line the answer to all of the monofilament needs of a fisherman? No, but it is a great starting point for a beginning angler or for the casual fisherman. Other good choices in mono fishing line are P Lines 12 lb. moss green CXX and Trilene XT green 14 lb. lines. Both lines are good for a variety of applications and are effective for most fishing techniques. Remember, we are trying to keep a simple approach to a sport that can easily become overwhelmingly complex.
Braided and fluorocarbon lines are more specialized in their usage. Braid is used for such applications of fishing frogs or flipping heavy cover while fluorocarbon is mainly used in light line and clear water applications. Both have their advantages in their technique-specific areas; however, they are limited in their overall effectiveness.
One of the major changes in the fishing industry in the past few years has been the introduction of tungsten weights. While lead sinkers are still quite popular among fishermen, the tournament anglers have realized their fish catching ratio when using tungsten over lead is much better. Tungsten allows a fisherman to have more feel of the bottom contour and cover which in turn gives a better feel for the action of the lure. More importantly tungsten sinkers also allow for a better hook up ratio due to the smaller size of the sinker being pulled thru the fishes mouth on a fisherman’s hook set which actually allows the hook to penetrate easier.
As you can see, even basic things like hook, line and sinker can be quite a challenge when it comes to deciding what’s what. Hopefully the information provided above will make things a bit easier for you. Please be careful on the water and catch one for me!
See you next month!