Unweighted worm hooks present a compelling technique for newbies and seasoned anglers alike. Sure you can cast them into some pretty hairy structure and know that there is a good chance you’re going to get it back but it also provides a few added challenges.
A worm hook is a relatively large hook with a wide gape and no weight that can be used for several different techniques but for me it is prominently for fishing soft plastics. For breaming, I like the Gamakatsu EWG hooks in sizes 1/0, 1, 2 and 4 and haven’t had much luck with the smaller Gamakatsu G-Lock Worm Hooks (let me know if you have a way of fishing these!)
Unweighted worm hooks first came to my attention when I heard about pink grubbing, which entails a small bright pink soft plastic rigged so that the hook point is buried into the body of the lure and is less likely to get caught up if you throw a bad cast.
It sounded like a great way to fish and when I tried it, it was definitely an exciting proposition. I could cast these small plastics in and around snags, pontoons and marinas with their hanging ropes and walk a bright lure (easy to see) across the top of the water and actually watch the bream come out behind it and investigate my offering, this was sight fishing at its best. The challenge though, was my poor hook up rates as inexperience really did shine through.
Pink Grubs or Pink Grubbing isn’t the only technique for worm hooks, I eventually was taught some more techniques around plastics like the Ecogear Aqua. Casting a heavily scented bait into fishy water is a no brainer but casting the same heavily scented bait into the same area with an unweighted presentation is much more natural and effective.
I mentioned that I use various hook sizes and one of the many tips I received from Steve Morgan was to use different size (and therefore weight) hooks to adjust the sink rate of the plastic. In some situations I like plenty of “hang time”, so use a size 4 hook but sometimes I might need that extra casting distance or fight off the wind and will use a size 1 but also a size 1/0.
A mentioned, the challenge originally for me was definitely around the hook set. Casting and retrieving was less of a problem but knowing when to set the hook is what really got me. I’d set too early or too late and would end up with a lure flying back towards me (luckily there isn’t an exposed hook point!) but quickly worked out that timing is key. Waiting for the line to “tick” off the surface or even tighten through the water is a good indication that something has grabbed it. From that point I usually wind up any slack line and the firmly set the hook in an upward direction.
BE FOREWARNED!!! This technique will immediately alert the fish that it has been hooked and if you’re in the gnarly structure that you can throw this setup, you might be heading down the road of disappointment. Setting the hook so firmly means that you won’t be able to gently wind the fish away from danger and follows the principle of “you go hard, they go hard” but unfortunately there is no way around this.