Selecting the proper hook for freshwater fishing is absolutely critical for achieving consistent success. Sure, any worm wiggler can fool a bucketmouth on just about any hook at one time or another. However, achieving maximum hook up and landing ratios on a consistent basis requires a keen understanding of specific hook design, intended purpose and overall functionality.
For anglers specifically targeting the highly coveted largemouth bass—the most popular game fish in the nation—there are a number of familiar brands manufacturing all sorts of different style hooks. For an in-depth look at the latest innovations in hook design and how science is changing our industry, we turned to VMC Hooks.
Another component in the ultimate worm hook comes down to the very point—the precise spot where power turns to penetration.
Minnesota-based VMC has quickly emerged as a leader in the hook industry thanks in part to constant innovations that continue to raise the bar. Many of VMCs odd shaped concoctions are geared toward fishing plastic worms, creature baits and weedless grubs. At first glance some of the awkward designs appear completely out of whack, as if someone was one short of a dozen doughnuts when they programmed the bending machine and simply said, “The heck with it…this weird shape will work!”
Truth is, a determined team of highly skilled engineers, perhaps MIT graduates, invested long hours, a tremendous amount of effort and more than a few greenbacks designing, testing, and fine-tuning the perfect wide gap worm hook. Something as simple as a uniquely elongated, locking-bend with a microbarb that perfectly secures even the biggest and longest of your favorite soft plastics makes a huge difference. Just ask professional bass fisherman and TV host, Mike Iaconelli, a VMC advocate who clearly understands eliminating bait slipping translates to less time re-rigging and more time fishing!
Perhaps equally as important, something as tiny as a closed resin eye totally eliminates the risk of line slipping through the eye. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is a huge deal when a Bassmaster Classic title is on the line and a single lost fish can cost $500,000!
At VMC, the evolution of the perfect wide gap worm hook didn’t stop with unique shapes and features—highly advanced Vanadium® Steel was soon introduced. Vanadium steel is a metal too tough to be used pure, but once alloyed with high carbon steel it becomes revolutionary. Not only is vanadium tough, but it is extremely light. While it costs twice as much as carbon steel used for ordinary hooks, VMC is banking on the fact that vanadium offers tremendous performance gains when hardened and tempered properly, providing the greatest strength to weight ratio possible.
Another component in the ultimate worm hook comes down to the very point—the precise spot where power turns to penetration. Today’s leading wide gap worm hooks feature a needle point, which is the result of a sharpening technique that gathers the metal fibers and compresses them toward the center of the point. By squeezing rather than cutting, VMC has created a point equal to or superior in sharpness to the best available, and a tip that is also much stronger.
Fastgrip®, VMCs latest step toward perfecting the point, features three microbarbs and is also emerging as the choice of professionals. The upper barb, placed closest to the point, guarantees a swift hook set with the slightest effort. Two lower microbarbs prevent bass from spitting the hook, even with slack line. Testing has proven that Fastgrip® provides 15 percent greater penetrating power than that of an ordinary hook point.
Of course, none of these innovations make much of a difference if you are not rigged properly, presenting your bait naturally, or pitching and flipping in areas likely to hold forage and big bass. This is where the selection process really enters the equation, as wide gap worm hooks are available in an array of sizes and styles with or without added weight. They are also available in various gauges for different applications and classes of tackle.
In heavy cover or thick submerged timber, bass pros typically turn to beefier outfits loaded with braided superline to haul lunkers from their unforgiving surroundings, which means stronger, more capable hooks are required to balance the entire presentation. When fishing submerged creek beds and deeper channel edges, a weighted worm hook will help keep your offering in the strike zone. These are just two of the many considerations that must be taken into account when selecting the proper hook.
Perhaps most perplexing is figuring out precisely which hook size is the right size. In years past, experienced bass fishermen believed using the largest hook possible would result in more landings. Today, with the introduction of vanadium, most tour vets prefer the smallest hook they can get away with in order to achieve the most natural presentation possible. While it is true that larger hooks often feature heavier wire than smaller hooks, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are stronger. Furthermore, smaller hooks normally have finer points, making them even more capable of penetrating tough cartilage and bone.
Clearly, there is much more to the perfect wide gap worm hook than what meets the eye. Thankfully, industry leaders like VMC are allowing us to focus on what’s important—catching big bass!
VMC XL Wide Gap
An elongated locking-bend and microbarb keep soft plastics firmly in place.
VMC Fastgrip Wide Gap
A unique triple-barb point penetrates with ease.
VMC Heavy Duty Worm
With a 3° offset point, this worm hook is perfect for fishing heavy cover.