With the increasing popularity of hollow-bodied swimbaits, many anglers are having to become familiar with weighted hooks. However, many anglers fail to realize that there are a multitude of other high-yield presentations where a weighted hook can come into play.
Many such techniques, as Elite Series pro Marty Robinson points out, have been around long before the swimbait secret slipped out of the California Delta. "I use them a lot when I'm throwing a wacky worm or a Senko-style bait," he says. "A weighted hook allows me to fish a little faster and cover more water when the fish are aggressive."
Robinson admitted that, for him, using a weighted hook when wacky rigging or throwing a soft stickbait certainly has its time and place. "Once you've located the fish, you can go back to a nonweighted hook and fish for them a little more direct," he explained. "The weighted hook really just helps you cover water when you're trying to find fish."
Robinson maintains that a careful balance between not enough and too much weight must be maintained when using a weighted hook for wacky rigging. "You don't want too much weight because it will affect the action of the worm," he pointed out. "You want to use as much weight as you can get a way with because it's going to get the bait down into the strike zone much quicker and allow you to start covering water."
One of Robinson's preferred baits to wacky rig is a trick worm. In this technique, he strongly cautioned anglers to pay careful attention to the hook's weight. "If you have too much weight it will absolutely kill the action," he stressed. "The heaviest weighted hook I'll use is 1/16 ounce. It allows you to still skip the bait under a dock and get it down pretty quick without hurting the bait's flutter."
For bigger worms, such as a Senko, Robinson will go heavier. "I'll go up to a 1/8-ounce weight for bigger baits because, for one thing, it's going to take more to get them down. Also, their action is a little less affected by the hook's weight than, say, a trick worm would be."
Robinson points out that a weighted hook transcends beyond a tactic to use when covering water. "There have been many times where I had found fish in practice out in open water using a Senko," he says. "By the time the tournament started, the wind had picked up. That's an instance where a weighted hook will often save the day."
There are a myriad of hook styles and brands on the market today, and though Robinson doesn't have a specific brand, he does prefer a specific style. "I use a screw-in hook where the weight is a little more concealed," he explained. "Usually, if I'm using a weighted hook for something other than throwing a swimbait, I'm on a finesse bite, so hiding the weight keeps the profile as small as possible."
Aside from pre-rigged weighted hooks, Robinson points out that there are also weight strips that can be applied to nearly all manner of hook shanks and wire-framed baits. "I will often use butterfly weights that I can crimp onto a spinnerbait's hook shaft to add a little weight," he says. "The butterfly weight is perfect if you want to keep the bait just under the surface when you're burning it. You can add additional weight without making the bait any bulkier."