Colored hooks and specialty sinkers remain trend setters in terminal tackle for 2006.
Hook manufacturers also have begun addressing the need for hooks to stay in place when rigged with soft plastics by incorporating special bends and gripping barbs. You'll also see expanded uses for lead-free materials like tungsten that maintain the integrity of the traditional sinker yet are legal in those states where lead has been banned.
Here are some of the terminal items you'll see in the aisles of tackle shops this year:
1. BULLET WEIGHTS (www.bulletweights.com; 308-382-7436) — The patent for the screw-in weights formerly known as "Florida Rigs" is now owned by Bullet Weights. Designed for pegging sinkers to soft plastic lures, the lead sinker has a stainless steel "corkscrew" device that anchors into the head of a plastic bait. The fishing line threads through the center of the sinker so that it can be attached to the hook. The screw-in sinkers are offered in natural or black colors and sizes ranging from 1/16 to 1 ounce.
Also, new colors added to the company's standard lead sinkers are watermelon pepper, transparent red and transparent purple, and they're offered in nine weight sizes. The new colors have a transparent sheen that gives them more flash.
2. DOC WATERS (www.docwaterslures.com; 866-362-5873) — Here's an interesting concept: a standard wide gap hook with an extended shank that has two small barbs under the eye. The end result is the Shark Shank Hook that has better bite and helps keep soft plastics rigged properly. By extending the shank, the hook point moves farther back on the lure and gives you the option of using a 2/0 instead of a 3/0. Sizes range from 1/0 to 4/0, and more recently, a "Fat Wire" design is offered in sizes 2/0 and 4/0.
Also, the Swivel Hook has been redesigned utilizing the Shark Shank Hook and a Spro, 130-pound stainless steel swivel.
3. EAGLE CLAW (www.eagleclaw.com; 720-941-8700) — Given the popularity of red hooks, why not offer other colors? That was the thinking at Eagle Claw, where chartreuse and Krawfish have been added to the Lazer Sharp hook lineup in some worm and treble sizes.
Also, a Megaworm EWG (Extra-Wide Gap) red worm hook designed for fishing with heavy monofilament or braided line is now in the lineup with sizes 2/0 to 5/0. It has a Z-bend for better bait retention, heavier wire and a slightly longer eye leg.
4. FALCON (www.falconlures.com; 800-488-9679) — Weedless Finesse Tube Jigheads for fishing around heavy cover have spring-like wireguards over the hook point to protect it from snagging. The tapered, leadhead jigs are built with 4/0 hooks and come in sizes from 1/8 to 1/2 ounce.
Also, the weighted Bait Jerker Hook lineup has been expanded to include red hooks in sizes 1/16 and 1/32 with both Gamakatsu EWG and Superline hooks.
5. GAMAKATSU (www.gamak atsu.com; 253-922-8373) — If you've fumbled with treble hooks while trying to squeeze them onto split rings, the Magic Eye Treble could solve the problem. It has a special tapered flat portion on the eye that makes it easier to open a split ring and slide onto the lure. The Magic Eye is a 2X strong, round bend design, offered in black or red finish. Sizes range from 1/0 to 5/0.
6. GAMBLER (www.gambler-bang.com; 954-969-1772) — The Florida Rig has an all-new design that eliminates the corkscrew apparatus on the end of the sinker. Florida Rig Weights now come packaged with a threading tool that pulls line through the center, so the tight fitting core fits snugly against the line and resists movement. Sizes range from 1/8 to 1/2 ounce.
7. LINDY LITTLE JOE (www.lindyfishingtackle.com; 218-829-1714) — The concept behind the
No-Snagg Sinker, a cylindric, banana-shaped weight with an eyelet that hangs on the line and works as a snagless bottom feeler, has been incorporated into a new in-line sinker. The "No-Snagg Cent'r Slip Sinker" has the same body shape except it threads onto the line through its center to offer a vegetation resistant weight. It comes in four sizes from 1/4 to 1 ounce and in orange/chartreuse or black/blue color combinations.
8. MUSTAD (www.mustad.no; 315-253-2793) — The lineup of red hooks keeps growing with new additions in aberdeen, aberdeen jig, spinnerbait, Mega-Bite Wide Gap and Octopus Beak/Fine Wire configurations.
The Octopus/Beak Fine Wire, used by some anglers for finesse wacky rigging, is a new addition. It's available in 2/0 to size 4.
9. OWNER (www.ownerhooks.com: 714-668-9011) — Rustop is an adhesive-backed strip that wraps around the shank of a hook and serves as a sacrificial anode that attracts corrosion and keeps it off the hook point. The strips are 2 inches wide and come in 4-inch and 24-inch lengths so that you can cut them to fit any application. Also, "J"-Light red worm hooks are made of lighter wire for easier hook-sets with light line. They have a corrosion-resistant red finish for more appeal and a wide gap with Z-bend shoulder for securing soft plastics better. Sizes range from No. 4 to 4/0.
Other new offerings include Tournament Trailers that are dressed with red Stinger Treble Hooks in sizes No. 6 or No. 4. Feathered color choices are either white/white flash or nightmare black.
10. SPRO (www.spro.com; 770-919-1722) — New swivels have been added to the company's lineup of terminal goodies. They include multiple sizes in Power Swivels, Power Swivels with Coast Lock, Heavy Swivels, and black Ball Bearing Swivels with two welded rings.
11. TRU-TUNGSTEN (www.fishharder.net: 724-349-2260) — With pro Michael Iaconelli's input, the company has created Ball Buster Jig Heads that feature a unique "M" bend to secure soft plastics to the head. The stand-up head is concave, helping to keep plastics snug against the head, and the hook has a wide gap weedless design. They're offered in three sizes up to 1/4 ounce. Similar features are found on the Brush Piercing Bullet Jig Head designed for fishing heavy cover. It is available in the same sizes.
Force Beads for Carolina and Texas rigging are made of a natural compound material that produces a loud sound. Each bead is coated for durability and is available in several colors and sizes 6mm and 8mm.
Also, the Tru-Tungsten Rig is an easy-to-use worm rig that consists of a Bleeding Bait wide gap hook, colored sinker and wire line. It's available in eight colors and three sizes from 3/4 to 1 1/2 ounces.
Other new items include Worm Rattles that have a polypropylene cartridge and two tungsten beads, and the Resonator, a jig rattle system that uses a reinforced case around noisy tungsten beads. The compact Resonator is removable and may be used on any jig.
12. TRU-TURN (www.tticompanies.com; 334-567-2011) — Standout Hooks for drop shotting are now available in larger sizes. A 1/0 and 2/0 Red-ALERT hook is available for fishing larger soft plastics for bass. The Standout features a non-traditional, line-tie rigging system that keeps the hook/bait horizontal on the line.
13. ULTIMATE TECHNOLOGY (www.ultimateluresaver.com; 866-LURE-SAV) — The "Luresaver" split ring has been renamed "SmartLink" and is now offered in 50- to 70-pound sizes. The titanium, oval shaped split ring is designed to open so a snagged lure can be retrieved but it won't release while playing a fish.
14. VMC (www.vmchooks.com; 651-636-9649) — The line of treble hooks introduced under the "Scorpion" name last year has been renamed "SureSet" and expanded to include new sizes. The nontraditional treble hooks feature wider gaps with one shank longer than the other two, which is said to provide better hook-ups. A Size 8 has been added to the standard lineup while 2, 4 and 6 are now offered in a 4X version for large fish. Also, a 6X is available in four sizes.
SureSet Teasers have premium natural feathers and Mylar flashing material to add more life to the rear of hard baits. Teasers are tied to a Tin Red hook.
For soft plastics fishermen, Fastgrip Straight Shank Round Bend Worm Hooks feature two barbs on the shank to help secure soft plastic lures and multiple barbs on the tip for more penetration power. They are available in black or red and in sizes from 1/0 to 5/0. Also, Wide Gap Worm Hooks now have an extra long locking bend and include a barb on the bend to help secure soft plastic lures. They come in black and red and in sizes from 1/0 to 5/0.
The new Open Eye O'Shaugnessy is designed to slide over other hooks and for use as a trailer, yet it can be closed so that it won't slip off. It comes in sizes 6/0, 7/0 and 8/0.
15. YUM (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) — A new hybrid of lead-free weights, Yum Tungsten Hybrids are porous and can absorb scent; The bullet-shaped sinkers are made of Tungsten and plastic; hence, they provide the hardness for extra feel that anglers prefer, yet the outer shell retains scent to make lures more appealing to fish. They're available in sizes from 1/16 to 1/2 ounce.