Tackle Tips

Choosing Hooks for Bass Fishing Soft Plastics

Walking down the hook aisle of any tackle store can be pretty intimidating—the different numbers, bends, shapes and advertising slogans are enough to make even a seasoned angler's head spin. As much as we love testing new hooks and delving into the technical aspects of things, we've put together a simple list of tried and true types of hooks for bass fishing.

Whether you're an angler on a budget or trying to limit the size of your tackle collection, these 5 versatile types of hooks will help you simplify your selection process while reducing any confusion.

  • Octopus
  • Wacky
  • Straight shank
  • Round bend offset
  • Extra Wide Gap (EWG)

Octopus hooks

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They've got a weird name, but a very specific purpose. We use octopus hooks exclusively for drop shotting due to their compact profile. These days, most drop shotting is done by nose-hooking soft plastics. Anytime you rig your bait this way, you want your line tie and hook point to be as close as possible to each other to avoid hook failure. In addition, the compact profile is less likely to spook suspicious bass.

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Recommended baits: Strike King KVD Dream Shot, Zoom Finesse Worm, Missile Baits Fuse 4.4

Wacky hooks

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Think of a wacky hook as an octopus hook with a wider gap. Because wacky rigging involves hooking a relatively thick stick worm in the middle, wacky hooks have a larger "bite" than octopus hooks to increase hookups. Similar to their octopus hook counterparts, the line ties and hook points of wacky hooks are located close to the bait for maximum hook penetration. 

Recommended baits: Yum F2 Dinger, Zoom Trick Worm, Berkley Heavy Weight Fat Sinkworm

Straight shank hooks

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These hooks are ideal for flipping and pitching soft plastic baits into heavy cover. As the name implies, these hooks have a perfectly straight shank, allowing you to achieve a direct line pull on the hook itself. This proves essential when quickly pulling big bass from ultra-thick cover.

We also occasionally use straight shank hooks for casting in grassy areas, as they're fairly resistant to thick, submerged vegetation.

Recommended baits: Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw, Yum F2 Big Show Craw, Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Rodent

Round bend offset hooks

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This particular hook style is simply a straight shank hook with an elbow beneath the line tie. This notch comes in handy if you're seeking a streamlined profile with "straight" plastics without much bulk. Without the elbow, smaller soft plastics tend to become crimped at their midsections, which adversely affects both the profile and presentation.

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We like to use these hooks for a variety of presentations, most notably for weightless techniques such as soft jerkbaits, finesse worms and stick baits.

Recommended baits: Zoom Fluke, Trigger X Drop Dead Minnow, Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm

Extra wide gap (EWG) hooks

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EWG hooks have a wider, more aggressive bend than your standard round bend offset hooks, making them an ideal choice for bulkier soft plastic baits. The extra space between the shank and hook point allow bigger baits to collapse easier, which increases the hook penetration. If you're getting a lot of bites with other hooks but having trouble hooking up with thicker plastics, this style of hook will more than likely remedy the problem.

Effective for both flipping and casting, we use these hooks for big, "meaty" soft plastic creature baits.

Recommended baits: Strike King KVD Pro-Model Tube, Zoom Brush Hog, Berkley Power Bait Power Hawg