Extra wide-gap hooks are perfectly suited for a wide variety of bulky soft plastics. Otherwise commonly known as EWG hooks, these hooks have a much wider bend in them compared to the common offset-shank worm hook or straight-shank hook.
This wide bend or gap makes an EWG hook the perfect complement for soft plastics that have a lot of material to them such as swimbaits, toads and tubes for instance. Today, we’ll be reviewing one of VMC’s offerings to the EWG genre, the VMC Ike Approved Heavy Duty Wide Gap Hook.
I’ve been fishing with this one for a while and I’ve really enjoyed a lot of its characteristics. Whethery you’re fishing from a boat or the bank, I think you’re going to get a lot of value from this well-designed bass-fishing hook.
Wide gap, strong hook
The trademark of any EWG hook is the aforementioned wide gap. VMC’s hook definitely and very apparently, has the wide gap covered.
But one of the risks when building a wide-gap hook like this, is that they can be prone to open up more than other styles of hooks. With lesser hooks, you might notice some occasional warping and bending when executing strong hooksets on heavy-action rods and heavier line.
This hook is beefy though, definitely earning its labeling of heavy duty and it stands up beautifully to strong hooksets with heavy fluorocarbon and braided line. After fishing a bunch with this hook, I have no reservations about pitching it around super-thick cover. I know if a fish bites, I have a very high chance of sticking it and getting it in the boat.
It’s critical when building an EWG hook to make sure the hook point is elevated slightly above the neck and eye of the hook; you don’t want these two to be in line with one another. If the hook point is a little higher, it has a better chance of hooking the fish as it tears through the plastic. This is an aftermarket tweak many anglers did to other EWG hooks until manufacturers caught on.
Thankfully, you don’t have to mess with any of that with this hook because VMC already thought of it. You can take this hook right out of the package and expect a great hookup ratio while fishing it.
Turn in the point
Michael “Ike” Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2006 Angler of the Year, had a big hand in designing this hook. He was adamant about adding a 3-degree turn to the point, to get it out of line with the rest of the shaft of the hook. The purpose for this is the same as that of the elevated hook point—to increase hookup ratios. Thanks to the 3-degree turn in the hook point, it’s harder for this hook to slip out of a bass’s mouth without catching on something. Within a day or two of fishing with this hook, you’re going to notice a definite difference.
The eye of most bass-fishing hooks have a small gap where the metal wire is bent back around to create a circle. Fishing line can actually slip into and even through this gap at times, which can damage your line or cause you to lose the hook entirely. VMC’s solution was to cover this gap using a smooth epoxy resin. This protects the line and undoubtedly leads to fewer lost fish.
My buddy and Wired2fish staffer Walker Smith lost a big fish boat-side in a college national championship event due to the knot slipping through the gap of an open hook eye and it very well could have cost him the title. From that point-on, we’ve all favored EWG hooks with a closed eye.
Exaggerated Z neck
For decades, offset-shank hooks were designed with a 90-degree turn in the neck to help hold soft plastics up on the hook and some still are. While others have gone to a more exaggerated Z-shaped bend in the neck, like you see here on this hook from VMC. This bend is far more effective at securing soft plastics compared to the more traditional 90-degree bend.
The bottom line
The VMC Ike Approved Heavy Duty Wide Gap Hook is a quality EWG hook offering in every regard. The price per pack stays the same throughout the sizes but the number of hooks per pack drops from 6 to 4 as you work your way up the size chart. Available from 2/0 to 8/0, there’s a size to fit any soft plastic you’re likely to want to fish with.