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The Best Hooks For Freshwater Fishing

When it comes to fishing essentials, the hook is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. With every FishVault box containing various lures and baits, pairing the correct hook is critical to the presentation and bite success.

There is a seemingly endless assortment of fishing hooks on the market today, but you can break them down into 5 main categories: worm hooks, extra wide gap (EWG) hooks, jig heads, straight shank hooks, and treble hooks.

Worm Hook

Considered to be the gold standard, the worm hook is likely the oldest style and most commonly used fishing hook to this day. It’s great for rigging weightless Flukes and trick worms as well as fishing with Texas and Carolina rigs. A very versatile hook with a great hookup ratio, the worm hook lends itself to dozens of techniques.

Extra Wide Gap (EWG)

Similar to a worm hook, an Extra Wide Gap or EWG hook has a sharp step near the eye intended to help keep a soft plastic bait from slipping down the hook. There’s also a fairly round bend to this hook as you make your way around to the point. But where the two hooks differ is in the size of the ‘gap’ of the hook. The gap refers to the distance between the hook point and the hook shaft. And an EWG hook obviously derives its name from its extra wide gap.

This hook works well with a lot of the same baits you’d fish a traditional worm hook with. Flukes, trick worms and a whole host of other lures will work on both of these hooks. But the EWG sets itself apart from a normal worm hook when you start looking at baits made with more material.

Jig Heads

Jig heads encompass all single hooks with lead, tungsten or some other type of weight molded onto the shaft. This category includes all shaky heads, Ned heads, swimbait heads and even weighted wacky rig hooks like the Flick Shake. Jig heads give anglers an option when they want to fish with a soft plastic bait down below the surface or even all the way to the bottom.

Straight Shank

Whether punching mats or flipping sparser cover, most anglers opt for a straight shank hook. Of those flippers and punchers, the vast majority tie a straight shank hook on with a snell knot. Using a snell knot with a straight shank hook creates a pivot point at the eye of the hook that drives the point up and into the roof or jaw of a fish’s mouth.

Straight shank hooks typically have a round bend, a straight shank and some sort of bait keeper incorporated just below the eye. A straight shank can be used for several of the same presentations you would use an EWG or worm hook for. Though the main technique it’s associated with is flipping.

Treble Hooks

Treble hooks consist of three hooks welded together at the shaft so that all three hooks bend out in different directions. These hooks are most commonly used on hard baits such as crankbaits, lipless cranks and a whole host of topwaters. However, there are several ways to incorporate treble hooks into soft plastic presentations as well.

The real added advantage to using treble hooks is that you up your odds of connecting with fish, especially when they’re slapping at baits instead of really eating them. Treble hooks convert a lot of bites into hookups that we would just miss out on if we were trying to use single hooks in place of them.

We hope this breakdown of freshwater fishing hooks helps you better understand which hook to use under different scenarios.