Flipping and pitching into heavy cover can yield big bites, but Bassmaster Elite Series pro Timmy Horton knows the inherent risks meriting consideration. Horton solves one often overlooked concerns with a welded hook eye on flipping hooks and a specific knot.
“You have two issues with a non-welded flipping hook. First, if you’re fishing fluorocarbon, and the line gets down into the gap, it gets cut,” he said. “The other issue is that braided line, because it’s thinner in diameter, will work toward that area and under a load of pressure, it will shoot through those small gaps in the hook.”
Horton recalls a heart-breaking example.
“I had that happen at an event on Lake Texoma. I set the hook on a 4-pounder in a bush, and I thought the line broke. The fish came up and jumped, and when I got my line in to re-tie, the knot was still there.”
Preferring Trokar 4/0 and 5/0 Big Nasty Flippin hooks for their welded eye and surgically sharpened points, Horton has found with hooks without welded eyes that even though the line doesn’t break, it can get hung up in the gap. The hook sits crooked on the line, and the bait will not fish as cleanly.
Moreover, with your line skewed to the side of the hook, line-twisting lure spin can be a problem when reeling in fast to make repeated pitches. Not so when your knot sits atop the hook eye.
Now, if you have a bunch of non-welded hooks, no need to toss them. You can weld them yourself if you so choose. If you’re tempted to grab your pliers, however, and simply squeeze the hook eye shut — don’t!
“I’ve never been able to pinch a non-welded hook eye closed enough and you can scar the hook in the process,” Horton said. “Even though the end of the eye is against the shaft of the hook, it’s in circular turn. You can’t get a flat surface to lay against it.
“You’re always going to have the bottom corner of the eye snugged against the shaft, while the top corner remains slightly open. That’s where the line will slide in.”
All you need to do is tie a double Palomar knot (see how to tie it below) to increase the size of the knot and give you a stronger bite on the hook eye, and it will not slip into that gap and pull free. Ultimately, a welded eye will be most secure, but either way, keep your line on top of the hook eye.
“It’s an absolute must for me in tournament fishing,” Horton said. “You don’t want to have any mechanical failures, and the welded hook or a bigger stronger knot keeps that from happening.”