New Gamakatsu Weedless Hook
“You Can Catch ‘Em In The Cover”
By Stan Fagerstrom
Hang around this business of putting bass in the boat long enough and sooner or later you’ll wind up going wacky.
There are probably a few gals around who would agree that the man in their life has already gone a little goofy where bass fishing is concerned. But it’s not the mental condition of some poor backlash picker-outer I have in mind. When I mention wacky I’m talking about the increasingly popular method of presenting certain of your soft plastic baits to both large and smallmouth bass called “wacky style” fishing.
As experienced bass anglers know, presenting a lure wacky style means you simply hook a soft plastic bait like a worm through the middle instead of through its head end. That way both ends of the bait are free to undulate as it drops into cover or to make similar movements when it’s manipulated with movements of your rod tip.
A full time fishing guide has to find fish for his clients if he hopes to stay in business. Hang around successful guides who know what the most effective lure presentations are and wacky style worming is a cinch to be mentioned.
One of the guides I enjoy going out with most is a likeable chap named Scott Wolfe. Scott is the coordinator of guides who work out of the famed Big K Guest Ranch on Oregon’s Umpqua River. I’ve had the good fortune to share a boat with him several times on this beautiful Oregon river. In the summer months the Umpqua around the Big K provides some of the best smallmouth fishing to be found in the Western United States.
I mention Scott because I’ve been out with him when I needed a couple of smallmouth photos for stories I was working on. Unfortunately, there are times when larger smallmouth are downright uncooperative when it comes to having their pictures taken. Top guides like Scott know a way to get around that problem.
“I consistently get larger fish on my plastics,” Scott says, “when I rig ‘em up wacky style. I’m not sure why that is, but it works.
There is a problem associated with fishing wacky style. It surfaces when it comes to fishing in cover. The usual method of wacky style fishing leaves the hook point exposed. I’ve got news for you. The folks who have been on the cutting edge of fishhook technology for a long, long time have taken a major step toward solving that problem.
Anybody who has fished bass enough to know a Sluggo from a Senko has heard of---and more than likely used---Gamakatsu hooks. The Gamakatsu folks started what turned out to be a revolution in the hook making industry several decades ago. Now the Gamakatsu technicians have done it again. This year they’ve come out with a brand new weedless version of the popular Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hook.
The Finesse Wide Gap was a big hit with the bassin’ crowd as soon as it hit the market a couple of years ago. My guess is the new weedless version is going to be every bit as popular.
I make that prediction because wherever your bass fishing adventures take you, sooner or later you’re going to have to fish cover to put bass in the boat. And you can emphasize the “sooner” more than the “later.” If you’ve read much of my writing over the past half century, you’ve likely seen me say that the world “always” should be eliminated where bass are concerned. I say that because the buggers don’t “always” do anything.
Be that as it may, cover is often the key to consistent bass fishing success. The bass, especially largemouth, will often be into, next to, behind or under one kind of cover or another. You’ve got to get your bait in where they are.
This new Gamakatsu Weedless Finesse Wide Gap enables you to do that. By all means take a look at it first chance you get. Weedless hooks of one kind or another have, of course, been around dang near as long as I have. This new one Gamakatsu has introduced is different than what you’re used to seeing.
Gamakatsu's new weedless wide gap is shown with its weed guard in the open position.
Here's a close up of Gamakatsu's weedless wide gap with its monofilament weed guard in the closed position.
Rig a plastic lure with Gamakatsu's new finesse weedless wide gap and you can fish cover you've had to pass up in the past.
The Gamakatsu hook I’m talking about features a specially designed monofilament weedguard. One of the major problems with older wire weedguards is that sometimes, depending on how they’re positioned in the mouth of a fish, they won’t deflect enough to get a solid hook up. Gamakatsu has eliminated that problem. Because of its design and the monofilament it’s made from, this new weedguard deflects easily to facilitate easy hook penetration.
“Our monofilament weedguard holds it shape really well,” says Glenn Young, Gamakatsu’s regional sales manager and himself a former professional Oregon fishing guide. “The field tests we’ve done with it in both Japan and here in the United States show it is a lot better for soft biting fish.”
As Young points out, though the Weedless Finesse Wide Gap is brand new, bass anglers are already finding there’s more than one way to make use of it. “We’re hearing that fishermen are finding it also works very well for drop shotting when heavy cover is involved.”
My guess is bass anglers will find a whole lot of other uses for this new style weedless hook. I've got a couple of uses in mind for it myself. The new Gamakatsu weedless hooks are available in sizes 4 through 2/0. The most popular sizes so far have been sizes 1 and 1/0.
As countless bass fishermen already are aware, sometimes wacky style is the way to go. If you’ve not tried it, you should. And now the new Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Weedless Hook makes it easier to do regardless of where the fish you’re after choose to hide out.