Assist Hook Testing

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
Started testing some assist hooks for jigs that are attached to the jigs from the manufacture. Have always made my own assist hooks so never really paid attention to the stock units. Until today that is. One unit that previously was attached to a Flat Fall pulled apart at 28 lbs the second hook held to 62 lbs.
Pulled apart the cord connection at the hook to see just a single over hand knot with the tag end wrapped with what looked like "C" nylon guide wrapping thread. Took another assist hook from the bag of originals that were replaced and stripped off the outer shrink tubing and things got even worse.
The cord had no knot tied to the hook shank but was just laid parallel to the hook shank with some light thread wrapped around it, some adhesive was used.
(see pic below) I now realized why all of the factory supplied jig hooks have that shrink tubing covering the cord attachment to the hook shank.

0F4B7E4E-717D-4426-B40A-499F7E8E6052.jpeg

Unless you have a definitive way of testing your assist hooks would respectfully reccomend you construct your own.
My .37 cents worth for your consideration.
Walt
 
Upvote 0

Explorer1

Almost A Member
Jan 6, 2019
160
53
49
Toronto
Name
San
Boat
None
The cord had no knot tied to the hook shank but was just laid parallel to the hook shank with some light thread wrapped around it, some adhesive was used.

no knot? :oops: Couple of lbs tension might just @@@@ things up. Unbelievable..... care to share the brand and model name?
 
Upvote 0

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
no knot? :oops: Couple of lbs tension might just @@@@ things up. Unbelievable..... care to share the brand and model name?
Would divulge that info in a second but the factory assist hooks are stripped off as soon as they are purchased then just collect them in a zip lock. Consequently I have a bag full of factory assist hooks. Cannot honestly determine what it came off of.
Walt
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Explorer1
Upvote 0

lkatdpelicanfly

Lizard Fish Slayer
Jun 23, 2009
2,612
1,162
Los Angeles
Name
Frank
Boat
no
Would divulge that info in a second but the factory assist hooks are stripped off as soon as they are purchased then just collect them in a zip lock. Consequently I have a big full of factory assist hooks. Cannot honestly determine what it came off of.
Walt
The barb on that assist hook is on the outside .. it looks like one of those premade Gamakatsu assist hooks with the red spectra loops that came in packs of 2 or 3. Never cared for them because I thought the cord loop was a bit too small and felt like i lost a few fish due to that outside barb design..now another reason to not use them.
 
Upvote 0

Cubeye

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Jan 26, 2007
3,859
2,977
Los Angeles
Name
Kub
Boat
17' Gregor
Started testing some assist hooks for jigs that are attached to the jigs from the manufacture. Have always made my own assist hooks so never really paid attention to the stock units. Until today that is. One unit that previously was attached to a Flat Fall pulled apart at 28 lbs the second hook held to 62 lbs.
Pulled apart the cord connection at the hook to see just a single over hand knot with the tag end wrapped with what looked like "C" nylon guide wrapping thread. Took another assist hook from the bag of originals that were replaced and stripped off the outer shrink tubing and things got even worse.
The cord had no knot tied to the hook shank but was just laid parallel to the hook shank with some light thread wrapped around it, some adhesive was used.
(see pic below) I now realized why all of the factory supplied jig hooks have that shrink tubing covering the cord attachment to the hook shank.

View attachment 1236572
Unless you have a definitive way of testing your assist hooks would respectfully reccomend you construct your own.
My .37 cents worth for your consideration.
Walt
So how do you make your assist hooks? I assumed that the "Single Overhand Knot" method was good with Kevlar. Never tried it with Spectra.
 
Upvote 0

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
So how do you make your assist hooks? I assumed that the "Single Overhand Knot" method was good with Kevlar. Never tried it with Spectra.

Ok,,, there are many very good ways to do this. Personal preference plays a big part in how this is done. Below is what has been fail proof, it's relatively simple and the parts easy to get.

Pieces - Parts
Cord: 300 lb Kevlar Para Cord. Could go lighter but would not use anything less then 200 lb. Good abrasion resistance is required. Would highly reccomend never using straight Spectra, that material has absolutely NO abrasion resistance and the knots are always suspect.

Hooks: Many different choices available here, depending on targets.
Hunting YT and Tuna have chosen TK 30 HD 7/0 Tro-Kar or the
Gamakatsu Heavy Duty Live Bait 7/0 # 00417.
Other high quality hooks available ,,,your choice.
An important point to remember is to sharpen all hooks used. Only the Trokar comes close what's required. If it does not stick to your thumb nail with no pressure it's not sharp enough. And cannot reccomend circle hooks , you need a quick hook set, a corner set is not necessary.

Hardware: Split rings, if attaching hooks to the tail of the jig with a split ring only use the Owner Ultra's,,they are the strongest double wrap split ring tested, # 8's are about right. If attaching the top of the jig to a solid or figure 8 ring the Owner Hyper's are ok. It's best to never have any pulling force on any split ring. Have tested the Ultras to be the strongest available but there are triple wrapped split rings that could well be a good choice. But have never tested them.
Prefer the figure 8 solid rings instead of the plain circle solid rings. Like them because it prevents the split ring from hammering against the leader knot at the top of the ring.

Knot: Would avoid the single granny knot, have seen failures using it. Below is a "crude" drawing of what is used. Never had a failure.
But many other very good choices to choose from. A search of
Snelling a Hook can provide proven connection options.
7266C300-A5CE-4B55-ADFE-EE3E1CB73C76.jpeg



See pic below:
The hook on the Rt. is the Trokar ,, the Left the Gamakatsu .
The top left pic shows the knot with no shrink tubing. Also note that the hitch to the fig. 8 ring is off to one side of the lower ring. This is done to minimize the split ring coming in contact with the Kevlar cord as a result of the jigging motion. The cord is super glued at this point and at the knot at the hook.
And as one final point ,, when considering hooks, for me, the angle of the hook point is important. A lot of hooks have a slightly inward curved hook point. Kind of like a wimpy circle hook. The more pronounced the curve the less likely to get a hook set outside the mouth. Hook um and cook um any way you can ....
Walt

B1ACBA58-5B41-4AFA-8403-BF9B98963008.jpeg


For a lighter rigging for the rockies and some larger targets here is a pretty good video on a different method.
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

benwah22

Member
Aug 16, 2016
455
985
South Florida
Name
Benny Ortiz
Boat
Whatever one I'm on.
Wow! That looks like a Gamakatsu 510. Very disappointing if it is.....
It's a pre-tied 510. There's only one pre-tied hook that I will use and it's a Gamakatsu 620. For regular assist hooks, I use Gama 510 in 3/0 and tie the assists myself. The hooks are fine, I'm not thrilled with the pre-tied rigs in 510 though - well, almost all pre-tied.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yessokk and Cubeye
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
I have quite a few of those 510's . I suppose I will be taking a hard look at how they are rigged. I have caught a lot of small fish on them.

I am not sure if I agree with Walt about the shape of these hooks being detrimental though. Seems to me they are pretty good at sticking in any part of the fish they get near. And I have not noticed the outside barb being an issue either. I tend to think that having a hook point that points back towards the eye is almost always a good thing. I know I have lost fish on straight shank hooks when I have used them
 
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
Spent some time watching assist making. I have 6 or 7 different types of jig hooks but in watching these videos I keep seeing them being made with VMC hooks. I kinda like the way they are made. Anybody use these hooks? Like or dislike?
Happy holiday. Jeff
 
Upvote 0

Cubeye

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Jan 26, 2007
3,859
2,977
Los Angeles
Name
Kub
Boat
17' Gregor
Upvote 0

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
I have quite a few of those 510's . I suppose I will be taking a hard look at how they are rigged. I have caught a lot of small fish on them.

I am not sure if I agree with Walt about the shape of these hooks being detrimental though. Seems to me they are pretty good at sticking in any part of the fish they get near. And I have not noticed the outside barb being an issue either. I tend to think that having a hook point that points back towards the eye is almost always a good thing. I know I have lost fish on straight shank hooks when I have used them

The 510's hooks are a very good choice it's the cord attachment method that can be suspect. We take the "small" fish for granted,
it's when Gladis the Barbarian sucks up your jig that the quality of jig attachment becomes an issue.
My affinity for the straighter hook shape is for sure a subjective preference. However after researching the shape of trolling specific
hooks and the hooks attached to the larger trolling lures,,,all most all of them have a straighter hook point construction.
Walt
 
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
Hi Walt;
I came to the same conclusion on trolling lure hooks many years ago. The straighter hooks always seemed to work best.

But SPJ fishing is a much different situation. Because of the lure action the take can come from almost any angle. And I reckon that often the fish are darting in and making a quick grab and turn away. I think most of the hooks that have become popular for SPJ have the point tipped directly at the eye or point of connection.
To me this arrangement make the most sense for rigging SPJ hooks. A few years back I got away from using straight shank hooks for live bait fishing and my hook up ratio went up. I think it may have something to do with the way the braid and flouro line combination moves in the water. In the case of live bait fishing I noticed a big difference as soon as I switched hook type.

Jeff
 
Upvote 0

benwah22

Member
Aug 16, 2016
455
985
South Florida
Name
Benny Ortiz
Boat
Whatever one I'm on.
I'm enjoying your discussion. Let me throw some things into the ring that you may have not considered, or are posed a bit differently than what Walt is doing here:

There's essentially three metrics for hooks - penetration, hold and likelihood of catching what's around it - including snagging the bottom.

There's several characteristics for hooks used - the shank, the bend, the point and the point angle.

Generally, for a dual hook set up (two top, two bottom) the ideal hook has a short shank, curved point, and the point of the hook is pointing toward the eye.

This will allow for excellent and quick penetration, good hold and will have fewer snags on the bottom.

For a single hook set up, I prefer a longer shank, but this requires a bit more hook setting on the part of the angler. This will also assist during the fight, as the longer shank will help keep the hook set during it. Generally, the gap is smaller and the bend profile faces the eye.

If you use hooks with a more open style, you will get snagged on the bottom more, but you will also hook damned near anything that swims by the jig, including the seafloor.

A wildcard metric is hook strength. There is a give and take with light wire hooks to find a balance of penetration without opening up. Penetration is a factor here and having something that can penetrate the bony part of a fish's mouth so that it can hold is important. If you can't penetrate, almost every hook will open up at some point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yessokk and Anders1
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
Hook (and lure) selection is a funny thing when you think about it. To me it is one of the more personal aspects of the entire fishing experience.

Many years ago I had a fishing buddy that special ordered his bait hooks. I don't remember the specific pattern but they were not on any local tackle stores shelves. This was way before the plethora of "designer hooks" and the advent of usable braided lines. We gave him a hard time for being so fussy but he did get hooked up pretty often. We used to fish an oil platform for calico bass by casting anchovies in between the pilings. As soon as you got bit you had about a nano second to get the fish headed out of the pilings or it was all over. It was intense but fun and we always lost a lot of hooks. One day I caught a nice bass there that had 5 hooks in it's lip....and two of them were ones that Bob just lost. He was happy to get them back.

One of the things about a lifetime of fishing is that it teaches you to be observant and pay close attention to what is working around you. If you are at all aware of this process then you understand the significance of selecting the correct hook. It is the business end of things after all.

And to make things interesting it isn't always what worked yesterday or what someone else put on the jig. Since we can't all fish together and share info at least we have a good working forum to discuss ideas.
Jeff
 
Upvote 0

Oldtimer2

Almost A Member
Jul 29, 2020
228
495
Iowa City Iowa
Name
Rob Malone
Boat
don't got no boat
This is a GREAT thread. Thank all of your who posted here. This is exactly what something like BD should be about. Superb!
 
Upvote 0

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
As long as we are on this hook thing would advise to keep eyes wide open purchasing any hook as hook sizes vary widely between manufactures for the identical size hooks. True to the no mfg. standards of the fishing industry hook sizes mean almost nothing. As an example the 7/0 Gamakatsu and the 7/0 Trokar that I use are almost exactly dimensionally identical. However I also have some 4/0 510's that match up to the 7/0's hook gap to within .030,,,, which was confirmed with calipers.

Historically have used only 1 assist at the jig head. With very few missed strikes but having noticed that in a lot of jig hooked pictures of fish the bottom hooks account for many fish. Bennys explanation in a previous post describes how the direction of motion of the jig is a factor in how a fish attacks the jig. Soooooo,,,,,to convert intelligent reasoning into action I am switching to the double hook top and bottom style. Being that the majority of recent jigging occurs in 2000 ft. of water bottom rock strikes are of no concern. Jigging in water that deep is why I use colored metered line. Yes the colors fade but not to the extent of uselessness. When the captain says the BF are holding at 280 ft. précise jig placement is critical.
Having to factor in drift speed, current speed and decent rate of jig knowing exactly how much line is out becomes important information.
Walt
 
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
Walt you bring up a good point about rigging assists for specific target fish. I think this is why we need to understand the various hook properties and assist configurations. We should be prepared to switch out assist hooks as situations present themselves. And in order to be well prepared we should be carrying an appropriate selection of rigged assists. It follows that we should be comfortable using our split ring pliers as well.

Here in SoCal we basically have the opportunity to use SPJ a few different ways.
We can use it to target bottom (ground) fish where we are only allowed two hooks.
We can target pelagics like Bluefin in deep water like you mentioned. Where I believe we are allowed to use more hooks as long as there are no ground fish on the boat.
Or we can use it to fish for a mixed bag of fish in shallower water. This includes ground fish, halibut, bass and fish like bonito, barracuda and yellowtail. And we are back to two hooks.
Each of these options are really very different applications. We may use the same rods and lures but technique and rigging may vary quite a bit.

Given these variables it is probably a good idea for anyone that is serious about SPJ here to fully understand what our hook options are. I kind of think it is something that does not get enough attention...at least to begin with. I also believe that action of some jigs can be adversely effected by how and what assists hooks are employed.
I for one am glad you started this thread. It has helped me get more focused on the finer points.

Jeff
 
  • Like
Reactions: yessokk and Cubeye
Upvote 0

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
1,258
1,923
Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
Boat
11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
Re-reading this whole thread as I alway pick up something previously missed. A comment by Benwah22 in his 12/29 post on the important issue of hook penetration in the bony area of a fishes jaw really got my attention. This is not too much of an issue with the standard size of a targeted species but can be the major cause of distress with the trophy's that we occasionally hook. The older a fish the more calcified the bone structure becomes. And more difficult if not impossible good hook penetration becomes. The two largest tuna I have ever hooked were lost to a pulled hook. Upon inspection the gap of the hook was considerably wider then the factory standard dimension. A sure fire indication of a bony hook set. Have done some hook testing with only the tip of the hook, short of the barb, imbeded in a piece of wood and without fail all hooks tested including the HD 3X units all opened up and eventually pulled loose.

Bottom line ...sharp, strong hooks are an often ignored but a vital aspect of what we do, our success is dependent on replacing the
adequate with the optimal.

Walt
 
Upvote 0

Heartoak

Member
Jun 13, 2018
473
453
66
Coto
Name
Jeff
Boat
none
Walt;
Got to use sharp hooks. I have been going through the different hooks I have and some of them are harder to sharpen than others. I usually use a flat diamond file to sharpen hooks. It has served me well for many years. But I have noticed that some of these hooks with a more pronounced curve take a lot of very careful work.

I probably have 7 or 8 different types of assist hooks that I will try to test objectively this spring. Some I will use as they are and other I will re-tie. I think attention to these often overlooked items will make a big difference to my catch rate.

Jeff
 
  • Like
Reactions: yessokk
Upvote 0