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All hooks are not created equal!

By: Don


An angler, by general definition, is “one who fishes with a hook and line.” Man has been fishing with a hook and line in one form or another for at least 9000 years.  In my mind, that says something about how an angler should prioritize where and how he invests his money into fishing. You could use all the best rods, reels, and techniques all day long but if your hook or line aren't up to snuff, you WILL lose more fish.  In this article we will take a closer look at how an angler’s choice in wide gap Texas-rig hooks can make all the difference in the world in your hook-up percentage.

When it comes to hooks, one thing is for sure; all hooks are NOT created equal! I have come to know this very well because I learned the hard way (like always!). I happen to be a Texas rig fanatic and there are many reasons for this. A Texas-rigged bait, fished properly, can be one of the most versatile techniques an angler can use with an almost 100% hook-up ratio.  The very first thing I take into consideration when using Texas-rigged bait is the quality of the hook. Let us take a closer look at some of the differences in wide gap Texas-rig hooks.  

 Left - Eagle Claw EWG           Center - Gamakatsu EWG   Right - Owner cutting point WG+

Given these examples of 3/0 extra wide gap hooks, one can notice some small differences between them. Make no mistake, the “small” differences in these hooks make a HUGE difference when it comes to increasing your hook-up percentage. When I first started using Texas-rigged baits, the very first extra wide gap hook I chose was the Eagle Claw EWG because of (yep, you guessed it) the price. They were over a dollar cheaper than the other hooks and all the EWG Texas-rig hooks looked pretty much the same to me (or so I thought at the time). After fishing Texas rigs for a year or so with the Eagle Claw EWG hook, I started wondering why I was losing roughly a third of my fish after getting bit. For a while I just thought that that’s just the way it goes with Texas-rigged baits. “You win some, you lose some” I remember thinking, and boy was I ever wrong. I tried everything from changing rods, lines, even reels and I still lost roughly a quarter of my fish after getting bit. This madness continued until one day a kind gentleman showed me that I was treating the symptoms, not the actual problem.

One day while fishing the Ohio River, I observed a fellow angler using the same Zoom Super fluke I was (same color and everything). I also observed, much to my dismay, he was landing many more fish than I was. Don’t get me wrong, we both caught fish, but I wanted to know what this guy was doing differently. Wouldn’t you? So I asked him flat out, “what am I doing wrong?” After taking a quick look at my bait, he smiled and said, “Nothing. You aren’t doing anything wrong as far as TECHNIQUE is concerned. It’s what you’re using that's the problem, the hook in particular.”  After looking at his hook for a moment I couldn’t see what he was talking about right away until I took a closer look. After talking with this kind gentleman for a few minutes, I’ll never forget what he said. He told me, “the best piece of advice I can give you about hooks is summed up in one word; Gamakatsu.” After that day, I went out and bought some Gamakatsu 3/0s and I never looked back. Since then, my fishing has been MUCH more productive and I land many more fish than I used to! Let's take a closer look at some of the subtle differences that make a Gamakatsu EWG or Owner hook more effective (in my opinion) than an Eagle Claw EWG hook.

Gamakatsu top - Eagle Claw bottom

Notice how the Gamakatsu's pointed part of the shank and the actual point itself are a little bit longer than the Eagle Claw's. Also notice the barb before the point of the hook and how the Gamakatsu has a more angled barb than the Eagle Claw. Both of those qualities I just described equal one MAJOR thing and that thing is fish holding super power! The Gamakatsu hook was taylor made for holding on to fish once they are hooked and hardly ever letting go! I can't stress to you enough how much sharper the Gamakatsu hook is and how much longer it retains its point than the Eagle Claw does.

A closer look at Owner's devastatingly effective cutting point

The bottom line is, sometimes the most subtle differences can be the most important ones and I hope I have enlightened you to that fact. To all of the fisherman who love Eagle Claw hooks: I have caught plenty of fish on Eagle Claws but for smallies and big largemouth bass, I wouldn’t trust any other hook other that a Gamakatsu, Owner, or a Mustad (in that order).  The best advice I can give you is to just spend the extra $1.50 and get some decent hooks and it might just save you some grief when you're Texas-rigging!