I'm a big believer in keeping things simple, especially when it comes to tackle selection.
Though my wife would likely disagree, I've intentionally been whittling away at my tackle collection over the years, in an effort to make things easier for me on the water, and much less cluttered.
That being said, I also like to be prepared with everything I need, however, over years of experience you learn that some things you can just do without, and some thing you can't live without.
One of my tackle boxes that has been simplified over time has been my hook box. With so many hook designs out there, I would like to share with you the only three hooks you will need for fishing soft plastics.
The Notorious E.W.G.
Texas-Rigging is the most important rigging technique in bass fishing. The T-Rig is a fundamental part of a bass fisherman's arsenal because it allows anglers to fish in, and around, heavy cover. The EWG hook is designed with T-Rigging in mind, due to the "offset shank" bend near the eye, which ensures straight rigging of your bait. The EWG is also special because it has a much wider gap that a traditional offset shank worm hook- hence the name EWG or Extra Wide Gap.
This hook is perfect for any soft plastic that has a wider profile body. It is not my first choice for thin bodied worms, but it does excel with creature baits ( Palmetto BugZ, Flapping CrawZ), stick baits (ZinkerZ), jerk baits (Jerk ShadZ), tubes (EZ TubeZ), topwater plastics (Hard Leg FrogZ, Pop ShadZ) or swim baits (Grass KickerZ).
Overall, the EWG is my most used hook, and is an excellent choice for most baits that are thicker than a regular worm.
I generally use a TK 110 or 120 three sizes for all my fishing- 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0, and I also make sure that I match the wire diameter of the hook to the cover I'm fishing. Use a heavier gauge wire (TK-120) in heavy cover and heavier line, and lighter wire (TK-110) when using light line around sparse cover.
The Worm Hook
The next hook is often times simply called "the worm hook." It is once again an offset shank design, just like the EWG, however, this hook has a much narrower gap between the shank and the hook point.
I use a TK 100 worm hook in just two sizes-4/0 and 5/0- for most of my worming applications.
Unlike the EWG and The Worm Hook, the Drop-Shot hook is not designed for T-Rigging, but rather it is designed for exposed hook finesse fishing tactics.
Techniques like drop-shotting, split-shotting, wacky rigging and other light line, exposed hook tactics, are where this hook excels.
It is made to either nose-hook a small, thin bodied plastic bait (Finesse WormZ, Finesse ShadZ), or hook a worm through the center in the case of a wacky rig. Its diminutive size is one of the reasons it is so effective as a finesse hook, because the fish tend to pay it no attention, and it also works well with light line.
Though there are always going to be special situations where a unique hook design is needed, if you are looking for just three hooks that will cover almost all of your fishing, these are three you need!
Hope this helps you to keep things simple, so you can focus on what matters- the next bite!
Seek the bite!