Hooks for Bass Fishing With Plastic Worms

Shape, Size, Wire Thickness, and More Are Important Selection Factors

fish caught on hook
(Cappi Thompson/Getty Images)

Hooks for bass fishing with plastic worms come in a bewildering array of sizes, shapes, styles, and prices. New ones from the various major and minor manufacturers come along all the time, making selection even more difficult. Some of these hooks are also used with other soft plastic lures that are not pre-configured with hooks (like swimbaits), including lizards, frogs, tubes, etc.

Some plastic worm hooks have barbs to help hold the worm in position on the shank. Others have a bend in them, or a small shaft near the eye, both of which are meant to help keep the worm from sliding out of position while it is cast or retrieved (a crooked or balled-up worm is unfishable and counterproductive). There are also hooks with curved or kinked shafts to make the hook rotate in order to better penetrate the roof of a bass's mouth.

Preferred Worm Hooks

Try using hooks with an L-shaped bend in the shaft below the eye of the hook. In effect, this is a small shaft that starts at the eye of the hook and then makes an L-shaped turn to a straight or curved shaft that leads to the bend in the hook. This style of plastic worm hook has been popular for decades and works well, holding the worm straight on the hook and keeping the head of the worm from sliding down the shaft while fishing. Straight-shaft worm hooks that have little barbs near the eye are not recommended, since they often cut your hand, and don't seem to do as good a job of holding the worm.

Use a Toothpick With Straight-Shaft Hooks

There is a way to use a straight-shaft hook— try sticking a toothpick through the eye of the hook after putting the worm on it. When cut off even with either side of the worm, it will hold the head of the worm in place, although this rigging makes it more difficult to remove a torn worm and replace it with another, which will also need the broken-toothpick treatment.

The Best Hook Size

Many people like really big worm hooks but you can usually stick with Numbers 1, 1/0, and 2/0 hooks, depending on the worm. The smallest hook is used with mini-lizards and finesse worms. The middle size is used with 6-inch worms and the bigger ones with 6- and 7-inch lizards. Do keep some 5/0 hooks to use when fishing huge 10-inch worms or thick 8-inch lizards.

Thin vs Thick Wire

A thin-wire hook is preferable to a heavy-wire one. They work better in retrieving the lure, and help you hook the fish more readily as the hook goes through the worm easily. However, use a heavy-wire model on the largest hooks, especially when flipping. The heavier hooks hold up better to a lot of pressure and the use of high-strength fishing line.

Varying Sizes

Hooks from different manufacturers vary in size, so what one labels 2/0 is not necessarily identical in size to the 2/0 from a competing manufacturer. Furthermore, within one manufacturer's line of hooks, a 2/0 wide-bend hook will be much bigger than a straight-shanked 2/0 L-bend hook. Check different brands and compare before buying.

Sharpen Hooks

Most of today's hooks are super sharp right out of the packaging, but they can be dulled through use. By keeping a file in your boat, you can save money (from buying replacements) and still have super-sharp hooks. And by sharpening hooks while fishing, you can keep them sharp after bumping rocks. No matter how sharp a hook starts out, it will not stay that sharp if you use it continuously through the fishing day.

This article was edited and revised by our Freshwater Fishing expert, Ken Schultz.