First let me say this article has nothing to do with any corner in any city in the great state of Texas ... sorry! It’s about making wise decisions on bass fishing hooks.

OK we are going fishing, so let’s go to the local sporting goods store and buy a few hooks to catch those bass on.

You walk into the store and there is a whole wall dedicated to nothing but hooks. You scratch your head and wonder “Darn” which is the right one to use?”

Well don’t feel bad. We have all gone through that dilemma at one time or the other. Why? Because there are so many different types of hooks out there that it does make it difficult to make a wise choice as to what is the best one you should use to catch that bass of a lifetime. However, it will help if you know all the parts that make up a hook.

First, every hook has an eye to allow you to tie on the line. Second, every hook has a shank. That’s the longest part of the hook. Then there is the gap, which is the distance between the shank and the barb or point on the hook. Then there is the throat, which is the depth of the hook between the shank and the barb to the curve in the hook.

OK, why does all this matter? If you don’t understand these terms, then choosing the right hook for the type of fishing you are going to do is impossible.

Types of points

Now that you have the parts of the hook, let’s take a look at the point first and the different types of points that come on the assorted hooks you’re looking at on that wall. There are spear points, which is where the point is in a straight line from the tip of the point to the barb. Then there are rolled-in-points — the point of the hook is rolled toward the eye of the hook. This puts the point in-line with the line you are using. This allows you to use less pressure to set the hook. Then there is the knife edge points, which have had the inner surface of the barb flattened with both sides ground. Then there is the surgical needle point that mimics the point found on a surgical stitching needle.

Almost all fishing hooks incorporate a barb below the point. The barb is what helps you keep the fish on the hook by preventing it from backing out once set into the fish’s mouth.

Types of shanks

There are three possible shanks you can buy on hooks. Short shanks, regular shanks and long shanks. Each of these shanks has a special purpose as well. Short shanks are primarily used in finesse fishing techniques. So if you are worm fishing this isn’t what you want to use, unless you are using a very small finesse worm. Regular shanks are what most fishermen use for a wide variety of techniques. The long shank is primarily used for very large and longer plastic applications such as a 10- to 14-inch worm or creature bait.

Then there is the curved offset shanks, which are used for larger thicker plastics. These allow the plastic bait to collapse into the gap of the hook and can result in more solid hook sets by moving the bait toward the shank and allowing the point to be more exposed for the hook set. These have the widest distance between the point and the shank of the hook and are a great all around hook to use with all your plastics. However the wide gap straight shank is also a good hook for the same purposes.

The hook eye

Now let’s take a look at the hook eye. There are three hook eye angles employed in fishing. The straight eye is the most common and the eye is in a straight line with the shank of the hook. Then there is the turned up eye — where the eye is angled away from the point of the hook at a 45-degree angle. Then there is the turned down eye where the eye is turned toward the barb at a 45-degree angle. The turned down hook helps considerably with hook set as you are pulling the barb upward toward the roof of the fishes mouth.

The throat of the hook, the distance between the point tip and the bottom of the bend in the hook, is very important. If you buy one where this is too small, it will be difficult to handle larger fish.

What size do I pick?

Now the real confuser: What size do I need for what technique application? Remember the larger the number, the smaller the hook. For bass fishing, use between a 4, 2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0. 4/0, 5/0 and 6/0 hooks. The technique you are employing and the bait you are using will better dictate which hook you should use.

Now that you are totally confused let’s apply the KISS principle — Keep It Simple Stupid.

The hook you should use, and its size, is based on the bait you are going to use and its size.

So the first thing you need to do is decide what you’re going to throw then determine the hook that fits the size of the bait and allows for adequate space for a good hook set.

For example, if you are going to throw a 6-inch worm then either a 2/0 or 3/0 hook size is best with an offset eye and either a wide gap or straight off set shank. But if you are throwing a 10-inch worm, you need to up size to either a 5/0 or 6/0 long shank off set wide gap hook.

I hope this article hasn’t confused you too much and it helps you understand what you need to really look at when you go to buy the hooks for a day on the water. Now buy the ones you need and go out there and catch a big ’un.

Send your questions, comments and pics to and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible. Have a great day on the water.

JASPER JOHNSON is retired from the U.S. Army and is the Copperas Cove Bass Club secretary. To contact him about the club or for any questions, call 318-218-0358 or email

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