Wide gap worm hooks are an exciting way of fishing, where watching and reacting to a bite will determine whether you can catch a fish. A few months back, another style of worm hook was brought to my attention and after trying it for a period of time, they were retired from my regular rotation.
The thing I love about the wide gap hook, is the ability to rig your bait weedless and cast into the ugliest, line shredding, fish attracting structure you can find with less fear of getting snagged but the disadvantage being, it takes a good hard sweep of the rod to set the hook. Enter the J style hook.
The J style of worm hook opens the opportunity to increase the chances of hook up, both of fish and snags and works both for and against the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional wide gap hook. Casting into the same line shredding structure can result in hooking the hanging trees, rope, pontoon, kelp growth or submerged oyster encrusted rock but requires less diligence in watching for that bite and timing the hook set.
The thing that turned me away from the J style hook, was the tendency for it to turn upside down, as the hook point ended up being the keel for the presentation, where as the wide gap version has the hook shank acting as the keel. This was too far from tradition to get my head around. It took a while to cotton on but photos of Vicki’s fly tying sessions gave me an idea, the fly guys use an upturned or upside down hook point to great success, so why couldn’t the j style hook?
By rigging the bait upside down to begin with and having the hook point protruding from the bottom, the bait presentation remains conventional, it just means the hook point is at the bottom. Sure, this isn’t a massive break through but was for me. I have found that the hook usually twists in the jaw of the fish so that it penetrates through the side of the mouth at a 90 degree angle anyway. I’ve dug out the once retired Decoy J style hooks and putting them back to work.
This doesn’t mean that the worm hook is not my preferred method of rigging an unweighted plastic but it certainly opens up some possibilities for the days where a traditional wide gap hook doesn’t seem to get the same hook set as I’d like and the chance of getting caught up in structure is a little less than normal.