Hooks With a TwistHooks With a Twist There seems to be no end to the ingenious ways that fishermen will come up to improve the sport we love. Give some of these hooks a try and see if they don’t improve your fishing.
By M. L. Anderson
You would think that something as basic as a hook could not be improved. It’s just a bent piece of wire with a sharp point, right? Fortunately for us, not everyone thinks that way, and there have been plenty of innovations in hooks. Some designs help the hook do its job – they either make the hook drive home more easily, or they make it harder for the fish to get off. Some make it easier for us to keep the lures in place, which means more time fishing and less time messing with baits. Some solve annoying problems like line twist, which also saves us time. Here are some great hooks that will make your life easier.
Man, Tru-Turn hooks have been around for over 50 years! They were invented by a guy named John W. Campbell who loved to fish. He was messing around with paper clips one day and he noticed that the bent clips would rotate toward pressure. When he lost a nice fish one day, he remembered those paper clips and he bent his hook to do the same. He tested the hook a lot and knew he had a good thing going. Pretty soon he was bending hooks for big wigs in the Air Force (he worked on a base). Before long tackle shops and a distributor wanted some. These hooks work that well.
Tru-Turn hooks may be old, but still sell like hotcakes because they work. California pro Gary Dobyns (owner of Dobyn’s Rod and one of the guys behind Wild West Bass) swears by them.
“I was fishing with a young guy who lost several fish in a row,” Gary told me. “I asked him what hooks he was using, then gave him some Tru-Turns. He never lost a fish after that.” Dobyns says healwaysuses Tru-Turn hooks. If you haven’t ever tried them, you seriously owe it to yourself to get a couple packages and try them out. They are even recommended by the U.S. Army for use in military survival kits!
Tru-Turn is one of the oldest, and Trapper is one of the newest. These odd-looking hooks have a big boxy bend between the point and the shaft. The purpose of this box bend is to make it harder for the fish to throw the bait. No pivot point means no sliding back and forth to make that hole bigger and bigger. This boxy bend also holds lures in place better.
Eddie Johns was in on the Trapper hooks secret before the hooks made their debut at ICAST 2016 this past summer. He fished with prototypes and he is totally stoked about the hooks. “They really hold a soft bait in place forever,” Eddie said. “Since the bait stays put, it means I spend less time fixing my rig and more time fishing.” Once he gets a fish on, it stays on, he added.
You’ll probably be seeing a lot more Trapper hooks, because they make them in all different types and sizes, meaning that manufacturers can add them to things like jigs, spinnerbaits, and more. Eddie is totally hyped about being on the Trapper team. Not only is he pumped about the way the hooks work, he says he’s never been on staff with a group that is more team-oriented. If you’d like to try a free sample of Trapper Hooks, go to trappertackle.com/products.
A lot of hooks have bait keepers incorporated in to the hook. However, Owner TwistLock hooks use a Centering Pin Spring to allow perfectly centered rigging of baits. You know you’ve ruined many a bait trying to screw those darn spring things in, but not with these. Owner hooks are already dynamite, and with this keeper system they are even better. They come in weighted and unweighted versions.
Owner Pivot Head
Another great Owner hook is the Pivot Head Ultra Head hook. These are designed for swimming lures – swimbaits, swimming worms, tubes – whatever tickles your fancy. You can even put a bunch of them on an umbrella head. There is a split ring between the head and the hook, which lets the bait work erratically – a tactic we all know drives fish nuts. The weedless hook is for Texas rigging so the point can ride on top of the bait, and the straight hook can be used when swimming baits in open water – the exposed hook means more hook-ups. These things are dynamite—give them a try.
VMC SureSet Treble Hooks
If you’re like me, you almost always change out hooks on a new crankbait. Some manufacturers just use crummy hooks, right? So if you’re going to replace them anyway, why not change that back hook to a VMC SureSet? This odd-looking hook has an extended wide gap hook. Rig it with this big branch up and it makes your lure run great at almost any speed. Plus that extra long hook means fewer short strikes. Do some research, read some reviews – then go out and get some of these and start replacing the back hook on every single crankbait in your tackle box.
Gamakatsu Swivel Shot Octopus Finesse Lure
I found some of these at Cabelas and tried them out. They are great! Shinichi Fukae designed them and they really make dropshotting a lot easier. For starters, there is a swivel above the hook and a wire coming out of this is what the hook is threaded onto. The hook therefore can spin freely around the wire, and the whole thing can spin as well. This means SO much less line twist. Line twist just messes up your whole rig and takes way too much time and effort to deal with.
Below the hook is one of those little line keepers that you just tug the line into – no knot tying required. This means that when you get snagged, all you lose is the weight and the leader, which is a lot cheaper than losing the hook, bait, and all. It also means you can change leaders very quickly. If you want, you can even use a cheap split shot on the bottom. It doesn’t matter if that bad boy spins or not. The hook itself is splendid as well – it’s an octopus hook so it gives you solid sets.
Here’s another hook that can spin freely – only it’s a treble hook. The Spintech hook is actually formed with a tubular shaft that rotates freely around the stem, which is the part that is attached to the lure. With these rotating hooks, it is nearly impossible for a fish to get the leverage to throw a bait -- even a big old crankbait.
Like the Gamakatsu Swivel Shot, the VMC Spinshot is designed to eliminate line twist on drop shot rigs. This one is a bit different – the hook is rigged on a wire that is looped on either side of the hook. You tie the line to one side and the leader to the other. Since the leader is tied to the rig you will probably want to use one of those drop shot weights that are designed to come off –the ones with the little diamond-shaped wire that the line is snugged into. Those can get pricey, so you may want to try using a split-shot on there instead. Just don’t use the kind with ears – they spin like mad and even this rig may not be able to deal with that. When you get the weight snagged, just pull steadily and the split shot will slide off the line.
Bonus Twist: HitchHikers
HitchHikers are little twists of metal wire that attach to your hook to make it easy to attach things like pork chunks and trailers. All you have to do is twist the HitchHiker into your bait then snap it onto the hook. Of course once these were out, someone realized that HitchHikers make it easy to create jointed baits out of plastic lures. Cut a lizard or swimbait or whatever in half, twist a HitchHiker into each cut side, then snap them together. Voilà – a jointed bait. You can also use them to attach baits to an Arkansas rig without using hooks, as multiple hooks are illegal in some places. They come in four different sizes. www.ttiblakemore.com.
There seems to be no end to the ingenious ways that fishermen will come up to improve the sport we love. Give some of these hooks a try and see if they don’t improve your fishing.
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