What Kind of Hooks to Use in Soft Fishing Lures

What Kind of Hooks to Use in Soft Fishing Lures
With more than 800 sizes and styles of hooks on the market, finding the ones that will meet your needs can be a challenge. This is particularly true with soft plastic lures. These lures are a go-to bait for many anglers, but they perform a lot better with some hooks than with others. Always choose hooks based on the weight of your rod and line, the size fish you'll be catching and the way you set the hook.

Straight-Shank Worm Hook

These J-shaped hooks were popular for soft lures until the 1980s. The real advantage of straight-shank hooks is that the point sits well above the eye, so it's easier to set the hook properly. On wide gap hooks, the point lines up with the eye, and even on offset hooks the space between the point and the eye is smaller than it is on straight-shank ones. When the point of your hook is too close to the eye, the sinker and lure body can cause it to miss a fish's mouth. Straight-shank hooks improve your chances of turning bites into hook-ups.

Offset Worm Hook

These hooks also have a J shape, but the two 90-degree bends near the eye give them their name. This offset keeps soft lures from sliding on the hook. Although offset hooks put the eye more in line with the point than straight shanks do, they're still easy to get good hook sets with, and their offset makes them a good choice for lightweight jerk baits, such as Senko worms.

Extra-Wide-Gap Worm Hook

The rounded shank of these hooks gives them a G shape, and they have an offset near the eye. Although it's harder to get a good hook set with these hooks, fish are unlikely to get off once you do. Extra-wide-gap hooks work best with tubes and bulky soft lures because they act like a keel to stabilize the lure as it moves through the water. Their extra-wide gap also makes it easier to pass them through a thick-bodied lure.

Split-Shot Hook

The split-shot hook is a circle hook that's custom made for Senko worm designer Gary Yamamoto. Circle hooks are popular because they help fish to hook themselves, and they catch the corner of a fish's mouth to keep it from swallowing the lure. A split-shot hook is just a circle hook with a 90-degree bend near the point. This bend allows soft plastic lures to sit properly on the hook and to stay where you want them. You should only use split-shots in clear water because they're easy to snag if you fish in structure or on the bottom.

Swimbait Hook

Swimbaits are soft plastic lures that have a natural swimming action. Large hook manufacturers, such as Mustad, make adjustable weight hooks for these lures to enhance their swimming action. You can move the hook's weight to the front, back or center to make the swimbait swim forwards, backwards or down. Swimbait hooks also act like a keel to stabilize your swimbait in the water.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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