by Stan Fagerstrom
Remember when those new, small but super strong braided lines first hit the market?
I couldn't wait to try the darn things. I tried several brands the first few years they became available, but while most often provided an advantage or two they also came with problems. I was disappointed for the main part in what I was seeing.
Several years after they were first introduced, a fellow named Bill Wallace stepped up to me just after I'd finished a casting demonstration at an International Sportsmen's Exposition in San Mateo, California.
Wallace gave me samples of a new braid called Power Pro. It was love at first sight. It was by far the best performing braid I'd tried. They had none of the built-in problems I'd encountered in the earlier braids.
I've been using these lines ever since for a variety of fishing needs as well as for my casting exhibitions. One of those other "needs" was to have a line of sufficient strength on my reels to handle those pot-bellied hawgs I'd busted off on too darn many times when I'd been fishing at Mexico's fabulous Lake El Salto.
I mention these new braids because what I'm leading up to ties in with what I wrote about in my previous column about Gamakatsu Hooks. Here's why I say that.
Before I headed south of the border to fish El Salto after I found Power Pro, I spooled 30 and 50-pounds of it on my level wind reels. The El Salto water was murky so I decided not to mess around with leaders. It didn't take long to find that the larger bass were hitting 10-inch worms I'd rigged on 5/0 and 6/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap hooks.
I wish I could say that combination worked just great, but it didn't. Hooking fish wasn't the problem. What was a headache was having my braided line work down into where the eye of the hook is formed. I lost a couple of dandy fish when the knot in my small diameter braid pulled free of the hook eye.
I remedied that problem by tying a small snap to the end of my braided line and attaching it to my hook. The snap worked all right, and I caught fish but I really didn't care for the arrangement. Here's where we get back to that business about "listening" again. Once again it was the good folks at Gamakatsu who gave me their ear.
Shortly after I returned from that particular El Salto adventure I contacted some of the national sales officials for Gamakatsu. I told them about the problems I'd encountered while tying my braided line directly to my EWG Gamakatsu hooks. I knew Gamakatsu already marketed other hooks with a closed metal ring in the eye. I asked if there was a possibility Gamakatsu would consider coming out with a similar set up for some of its highly popular EWG hooks.
It pleased the heck out of me to hear their response. They said it sounded like a good idea. They went on to say they would make me some samples before the new hooks were made available as part of the Gamakatsu line.
Take a look at the 2014 Gamakatsu hook catalog and you'll find these hooks displayed at the top of Page 28. They are listed as Superline extra wide gap worm hooks with a ring. If you've not tried these still relatively new hooks.You won't have to worry about the knot you have in your braided line when you use this Gamakatsu hook with a ringed eye. That ringed eye also lets you get more action out of some of your plastic baits.
This new Yamamoto D Shad plastic lure is ideal for use with a Gamakatsu ringed eye hook.
These hooks, you see, besides having the ring that eliminates the problem of attaching a braided line, also provides more freedom of movement for whatever plastic bait you use them with. Rig your plastic flukes, imitation shad, frogs or whatever with these hooks and you're going to find it's much easier to get the desired action it sometimes take to get the bass to show interest. These new hooks are presently available in both EWG 2/0 and 4/0 sizes.The Gamakatsu ringed eye hooks are available in sizes 2/0 and 4/0. They also work well with your larger plastic worms.
Several of the super strong braids have improved a bunch since they first hit the market. Now they're widely used. Many anglers prefer them where the cover is heavy or they are fishing murky and discolored water.
Now when I tie Power Pro to the ringed eye of my Gamakatsu EWG hooks, those old bass are in deep trouble. If your own bass fishing finds you in a similar situation, I'll bet you'll love the combination as much as I do. I find they work just as well with my larger and longer plastic worms as they do with other plastic baits I mentioned.I love that ringed eye hook when I hang a hawg like this. Who wouldn't?
Like I said in the beginning, I like folks who listen. I've been talking to and working with Gamakatsu executives ever since their hooks first became available in this country. I'm not the only one they've listened to. It's apparently a standard procedure for these outstanding hook makers.
As far as I'm concerned there's no mystery why this Japanese company has carved such a special spot for itself on the world's sports fishing stage. It figures the "listening" they do has played a role in the tremendous success they've enjoyed in the marketing of their excellent products.