Some product reviews are a lot easier to do than others. Take for example a new lure design. Does it get more bites than the other lures I’ve fished? If so it’s easy enough to write a positive review. If not, it’s even easier to let the company know they may want to go back to the drawing board. Other products, like fishing hooks, are harder to review. I’d liken the process to walking up to the tool section at Home Depot, pulling a random hammer off the wall and asking a carpenter to review it. What can you say about a hammer at first glance? The styling and design are the same as all the other hammers I’ve previously used and it seems sturdy enough drive a nail into a board. Not a very informative review.
When it comes to hammers or swimbait hooks, I think the product’s true value lies in its longevity. While hammers last a lot longer than hooks, you’d be surprised at just how many days of fishing I get out of the average swimbait hook. In fact, once I tie a weedless swimbait hook onto the end of my line it will stay tied there until I either lose it (which is extremely rare) or until it gets so rusty that the point is dull and I worry about needing a tetanus shot booster before I attempt unhooking my next fish. For as much time as I spend fishing calico bass with weedless swimbaits I might only go through two or three hooks all year. As a result, when asked to review the new Gamakatsu Spring Lock Monster Hooks, I let my editor know that it would likely take a couple months’ worth of fishing for me to decide how I felt about the hooks.
As you can tell by this photo, the Gamakatsu Spring Lock Monster Hook looks like most of the other weedless hooks on the market. What you can’t tell from the photo is that the weight on the hook is narrower and taller than that of the other brands and it seemed to make the bait run more upright when being retrieved at very high speeds. I also noticed that the hook point, which is Gamakatsu’s usual needle sharp, seemed to penetrate deeper than some of the other hooks I’ve fished. It’s kind of hard to see in this picture but the hook not only went through the lip of the bass but continued up and lodged in the roof of the mouth as well.
The one thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was the hook’s spring. At first it seemed awkward to install because of the way the centering pin angles off the main spring. After a couple of false starts, I figured out that it went in a lot easier if I pinched the nose of the bait tightly between my fingers of my right hand while firmly pressing in and turning the spring with my left hand. After the initial few turns the spring went in easily the rest of the way. The spring was also easy to adjust when realigning the bait after catching a fish and held up as well as any of the other springs I’ve fished.
The hooks come in three sizes; 9/0, 10/0 and 12/0 and two weights; 3/8 and 1/2 ounce. If you’re fishing calico bass, I recommend going with the 1/2-ounce model because it helps keep the bait down a little better than the lighter one. As far as hook sizes go, the 9/0 matched really well with the MC Swimbaits 5-inch weedless and also worked with the 7-inch weedless. If you only fish the 7-inch bait I recommend going with the 10/0 hook because it fits the bait perfectly. The 12/0 hook is really big but fits well with the oversized swimbaits like MC Swimbait’s 9-inch weedless.
Finally, in regards to the hook’s longevity, After using it for a dozen trips spread over more than a month, the finish has held up well enough that the hook still looks new and continues to be very sharp. Overall this is a good hook made by a reputable company that does what a weedless hook is supposed to. It also excels in sharpness and penetration compared to other brands I’ve fished and holds up well in the saltwater environment. Definitely a hammer I’d recommend giving a try.