Start with the hook.
By Luigi De Rose
Smallmouth can be suckers for a drop shot. Learn to do this technique correctly will vault your skills to near Jedi level. Half the battle is having the tackle matched to the fish and fishing conditions. Here’s IBASSIN.com’s Drop Shot Guide Part 2: The Hook.
Part Two in this series will focus on the hook. Two styles, the traditional octopus and an off-set worm hook, are the most common. Here’s a run down on several of the most effective hooks on the market.
Gamakatsu’s Aaron Martens TGW Drop Shot Hook
This Japanese hook company has been a leader for decades. Capturing 70% of the Japanese hook market; they have a creative design team that strives to make superior products. Teaming up with Aaron Martens, a BASS Elite star and the 2015 BASS Angler of the Year has produced a wonderful hook. Slightly elongated, this one is ideal for nose hooking. I personally feel the extra length helps hook finicky smallmouth a bit deeper in the mouth. Rarely do I hook them on the crease of the lip. Only slight pressure is required for the hook to penetrate, making it ideal for ultra deep angling. Ranging from tiny #2 to 2/0 in size, there is one that will match your needs. A bit pricey, they are well worth the extra dough.
Gamakatsu’s Wicked Wacky Hook
Based off a kahle hook design it sports a hand tied, two prong fiber weed guard. The magic of this hook is a tube that is sewn to the underside of the hook. While knotting this hook, Gamakatsu intended the dropper line to run through this channel to ensure the hook rides straight. Intended for cover, it hooks anything that bites it. It’s deep gap in ideal for wacky rigging or thick-bodied baits. Available from 1/0 to 5/0 it can be your solution to wide goby imitators or swim baits.
Winner of Best in Show in Terminal Tackle at the 2011 ICAST Show, it set the trend in zero line twist technology. Many copycats now exist but credit has to go to the original. Based on the VMC 7119 drop shot hook, a light wire allows the hook to rotate freely from the line. The brainchild of Toronto inventor, Bernard Yong-Set, the hook spins on this wire shaft reducing line twist considerably. Another benefit of this set up is that the line and dropper line can be tired directly to the hook. This speeds up rigging and allows for easy adjustments to dropper length without the aggravation of retying the entire rig. They’re available from #8 to 2/0 sizes.
Mustad KVD Zero Twist Shot
Mustad and Bernard Yong-Set teamed up a few years back and one of their new releases was the Mustad KVD Zero Twist Shot. The difference between this hook and the VMC Spinshot is a tiny yet strong swivel mounted above the hook. Many, including myself, find the swivel really improves the hook’s performance. I discovered how fantastic this hook was during a hot session of perch fishing. Catching dozens and dozens of perch with a traditional set up spun my light fluorocarbon line so badly that it became unfishable. Switching rods and knotting a KVD Zero Twist Shot hook kept me fishing for the remainder of the day. Mustad has a strong reputation for producing strong, sharp hooks that will land any bass. Available in #4 to 2/0 give anglers options.
Decoy Hunter Worm Hook
Decoy might be new to North American anglers but they’re not new. A pillar in the Japanese hook world, they make ultra sharp hooks for a range of techniques. Decoy’s Hunter hooks are large gapped drop shot hooks that will gaff anything that comes too close. They can be difficult to find but worth the effort and duty fees. If you need a large gap hook give them a try.
Next session: off-set worm hooks