If you’ve done much bass fishing, at some point you may have tried rigging up your favorite soft plastic bait on a wide gap hook. What you may not have realized then is how dependent your hookup ratio is on matching the right hook gap to the style of soft bait that you’re using.
Whether it’s largemouth, Northern Pike or another species, choosing the best hook for the job will put more trophy worthy catches in your live well. Here are some wide gap hook fishing tips that should make your next fishing excursion more rewarding.
Why Use a Wide Gap Hook?
A hook’s gap refers to the open area between the shank and hook point. And although they’ve recently been getting more attention from hook manufacturers, seasoned anglers have known about the benefits of wide gap hooks for years- especially when using soft plastic swimbaits. As a result, you’ll now find a large selection of wide gap- and even extra wide gap (EWG)- hooks at the average bait shop.
The main advantage of fishing with a wide gap hook is that it accommodates larger jawbones so you can catch bigger fish. It’s also easier to thread your bait into the fishing position than it is using a hook with a smaller gap. And finally, a hook with a wider gap allows thicker, bulkier baits to move out of the way during the hookset so that you can keep your prey snagged- even if you make a mistake while reeling it in.
In simple terms, hook selection boils down to the length and thickness of the soft bait that you’re using. For thinner plastics that are 5” inches or less- like an RS Thin Shad or Castaic Jerky J. Swim– a 3/0 regular gap or offset wide gap hook (WGH) works best.
For soft baits over 5”, switch to a 4/0 or 5/0 WGH- especially when using a thicker bait like the Castaic Super Jerky J. An extra wide gap hook (EWG) works even better than a standard wide gap hook when fishing with bulkier plastics.
In addition to being offset, an EWG hook’s bigger opening leaves ample room for larger soft baits to get out of the way during a positive hookset. The wider gap also makes it easier to thread your bait into the fish-ready position. When using a cast-and-retrieve technique, both features should boost your hookup ratio and put more monster fish in your boat.
If you like to rip your rig through vegetation patches near docks and other fixed structures, you’ll give yourself fewer headaches and more hookups by pairing a Kitana Wacky Worm Weedless Wide Gap Hook with your wacky worm of choice.
Best Bass Rigs for WGHs
Depending on the type of rig you’re using, selecting the right hook will help ensure a smoother retrieval once you’ve set the hook. Here are some of the most popular bass fishing rigs, along with some hook selection “pointers”:
- Texas rig. Although a round bend hook is the tried-and-true traditional Texas Rig darling, when using a thicker softbait like the RS Fathead Jr. an offset EWG hook will yield better results.
- Carolina rig. Bass anglers love Carolina rigs because of their versatility. When “matching the hatch” with your soft plastic, you’ll catch more largemouth by pairing it with an offset EWG hook.
- Punching rig. Once the water temps heat up and vegetation gets thick, a punching rig is a good choice. While assembling your punch fishing tackle, don’t forget to thread your swimbait-of-choice onto a razor-sharp EWG hook.
Kitana Hooks: The Gold Standard
When it’s time to stock your tackle box, there are a lot of product choices out there. Most professional bass anglers would agree that Kitana Hooks represent the gold standard when it comes to WGH and EWG hook technology.
For starters, Kitana hooks come in a wide range of sizes and styles- including both offset and extra wide versions- that allow you to target different species. Kitana products are sharpened chemically, resulting in a knifepoint that never dulls even when fished in the harshest of conditions.
Kitana hooks are also tempered to resist wear and won’t bend like traditional wide gap hooks even after setting the hook and reeling in a monster fish through thick vegetation. This informative video explains why you should include Kitana hooks on your tackle wish list: