Size really does matter when matching hook sizes with various soft plastic bass baits.
The hook gap (area between the shank and hook point) has evolved into a key feature over the years with the introduction of several new soft plastic baits.
The size of a hook is given in terms of the width of the hook’s gap; the most popular bass fishing sizes are listed as number 2, number 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.
In the past, longer hooks were needed to handle larger, bulky baits, but now hooks with wider gaps and shorter shanks can handle the same task. The deep belly of an extra-wide gap allows a big bait like a plastic lizard or a tube to collapse into the belly of the hook and still generate a big bite to hook a fish.
Hook selection is a personal choice for various soft plastics, but certain lures require particular types of hooks in certain sizes. Here are some recommendations for different styles of hooks and sizes for the following lures:
Texas Rigging Tubes: A wide gap hook works best for this lure because its deeper bend lets the tube collapse into the belly of the hook on the hook set. When fishing with light line, use a 1/0 hook, but switch to a 4/0 hook when pitching 4- to 5-inch tubes with heavy line.
Tube Jig Heads: Soft plastic tubes generally range in sizes from 2.5-3.5 inches. Most anglers use tube-style jigs with either 3/0-4/0 hook sizes to accommodate the smaller baits.
Soft Jerkbaits: (Flukes)
The standard worm style hook works well for this lure because of their longer shanks.
Use a longer shank hook in a 3/0 model if you want the lure to fall at a slow, steady pace. When you need the lure to dive quickly into cover, attach the lure to a 3/0 wide gap, short shank hook because the shorter hook makes the lure dive nose-first.
The longer shanks of the Sproat and offset-shank worm hooks make these styles ideal for the traditional Texas-rigged worm. The length of the worm determines which size hook to select. When fishing 4- to 7-inch worms, choose a 3/0 hook but switch to a 4/0 or 5/0 model for 8- to 12-inch worms.
Select small octopus style hooks for drop-shotting tiny worms. This style of hook has an extra-wide gap rounded shape for higher percentage hookups. When Texas-rigging these little worms, select a light wire 1/0 or 2/0 straight shank worm hook.
Bulky hawg-style soft plastics need a wide gap hook, so impale these lures on a 4/0 or 5/0 wide gap model.
Plastic Lizards and Craw Worms
These bulky baits also require a wide gap hook, but the length of these baits make them better suited for a longer shank. Select a 3/0 hook for a 6-inch bait and a 4/0 hook for 7- to 8-inch lizards and craws. Sproat and offset-shank worm hooks will also work for these soft plastics.