How To Choose The Best Hook For Soft Plastic Jerkbaits [Hook Comparison]

By: Luke Simonds on September 29, 2016
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best soft plastic lure hooks

It’s soft plastics time again!

For this post, we’ll be focused on how to select the best possible hook for your soft plastic jerkbaits so that you can catch more fish with less effort.

Given the huge amount of hook options out there for soft plastic jerk baits, it is easy to get confused on which one to use.

So the purpose of this post is to shed some light into the pros and cons of the core different types of hooks that are most often used by saltwater anglers with their soft their soft plastic jerkbaits.

Here are the core categories we’ll consider in assessing the various hooks:

  • Ease – How quickly a bait can be rigged
  • Longevity – How many fish per bait can be caught
  • Utility – How well it makes a bait swim/twitch

The reason why this is an extremely important subject is because the hook has just as much to do with the effectiveness of the overall lure as the soft plastic portion does.

So without the proper hook and the proper rigging of the bait on the hook, even the best possible sized/colored soft plastic lure will likely not catch much at all (if anything).

This is due to the fact that an improper hook or rigging can cause the lure to twist uncontrollably… and that will most likely not draw any strikes from fish because they’ll get spooked after seeing something that is moving in such an unnatural manner.

best rig for soft plastic lure

The top lure is rigged so that the soft plastic bait is in a straight line making it cut through the water cleanly [Good]. The bottom lure is not rigged properly making it have a curved shape that will result in a helicoptering motion in the water [Bad].

So in this article, we’ll examine three of the most common type of hooks for soft plastics and go over the pros and cons of their unique features.

And at the end, you’ll be able to know which type of hook should be used with your favorite soft plastic baits for maximizing your results.

Plus, you’ll see a video that shows exactly how to rig soft plastic lures to ensure that it swims properly.

What Is The Best Hook For Soft Plastic Jerk Baits?

Just like the fact that there are countless options for soft plastic baits, there are countless options for hooks that can be used to rig them.

So to keep this comparison clean, we’ll first focus on the three most popular hook types based on how they hold the soft plastic baits since that controls the Ease and Longevity factors.

Here are the three hook to soft plastic bait connection types that we’ll focus on:

  1. Bent Shank (worm-style hook)
    bent shank hook rig
  2. Spear Attachment
    spear hook rig
  3. Twist-On Attachment
    owner twistlock hook rig

Then, we’ll examine the weighted hook shank vs. un-weighted hook shank to determine which one is the more useful to adequately address the Utility factor.

So at the end, we can then evaluate the various hooks on the market to see which one has the optimal features.

Soft Plastic Bait Hook Analysis

Although there are many different styles of hooks used for connecting to a soft plastic bait, almost all of them can fall under one of the following 3 categories:

Bent Shank Hook (Worm Style)

bent shank hook rig

The bent shank hooks have been around for a very long time. I used them exclusively growing up when using plastic worms for bass.

And I continued using them once I began using soft plastic jerk baits too.

Pros:

  • Tons of options for hook sizes/shapes to fit any bait
  • Easy to rig baits onto (just thread them on)

Cons:

  • The this hook profile can easily cut through bait (can’t catch as many fish per bait)
  • Bait can slide down after a few caught fish as plastic tears

Spear Attachment

spear hook rig

As more and more anglers began using soft plastics, some nice hook attachments began popping up which I quickly began to embrace.

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to rig (no threading needed)
  • Allowed for longer lasting baits (protects from bumping into structure)

Cons:

  • Many of them start losing their hold after a couple catches
  • Not as many options on hook sizes/shapes compared to bent shank

Twist-On Attachment

owner twistlock hook rig

I was introduced to the twist-on style hooks about 5 years ago and I was a bit skeptical at first because some baits are tough and getting the twist-on feature to take hold was sometimes tough.

But after seeing how great it held up once rigged, I was an instant fan.

Pros:

  • Extremely long-lasting hold (can catch more fish per bait)
  • Can control exactly where the bait will lay on the hook

Cons:

  • Can be a bit more time consuming to rig a new bait
  • Can be more expensive than other options in most cases

Hook Type Analysis Conclusion

Overall, I prefer the twist-on style hooks because the added time and money savings of not having to go through as many baits compared to the other styles.

Although they do take a bit longer to initially rig, they save in the long run with how firm a grip they generate on the bait.

Note: Plus, a newer model has a feature that significantly helps rigging speed/accuracy (shown below).

Weighted Shank vs. Non-Weighted Shank Analysis

weighted-hook-vs-non-weight

One of the latest features for soft plastic bait hooks has been the inclusion of a weight on the shank of the hook.

At first glance, I didn’t think much of it when I first started seeing them in stores.

But I finally got one in order to be able to cover a bit deeper water than what is possible with the weightless style and I was shocked at how useful it is.

First of all, it allows for more depth control than a non-weighted hook… slowing down the retrieve drops the lure further down while slightly speeding it up makes for a very shallow running lure.

But what shocked me most was how much better the lure consistently looked during the retrieve.

With non-weighted hooks, I was able to rig it for getting great action right out of the bag. But results were sporadic once a couple fish were caught since the plastic starts shifting the bait to a non-centered placement that results in the fish spooking helicopter motion.

But with the weight on the shank of the hook, the bait almost always stays upright during the retrieve even if the bait does shift around.

So I’m now a HUGE fan of the hooks with weights on the shank…. baits last longer and swim much better!

Overall Conclusion

After years of testing out multiple types of hooks for soft plastic jerk baits, I have learned that all of them can catch fish when used properly.

But some seemingly small tweaks can end up making a big overall difference so spending time testing out different hooks with your favorite soft plastics will likely be time well-spent.

Here’s my favorites for each of the three core categories discussed above:

  • Ease – Spear Attachment (it’s so quick and easy)
  • Longevity – Twist-On Attachment (significantly increases catch per bait ratio)
  • Utility – Weighted Shank (can be used for more depths and has better action in the water)

Overall, my preference goes to a twist-on attachment style hook that has a weight on the shank of the hook because I found that to help me catch the most fish with the least amount of effort…

owner twistlock hook rig

The small amount of extra time it takes to rig it is quickly overcome by the time saved in not having to re-rig as often when the bite is on.

Plus, they allow for money savings given that the baits can be used longer than with the other types of hooks.

Click here to see a detailed review of the exact weighted hook shown in this article (includes a video tutorial showing exactly how to rig these hooks as well as a discount offer to get some at a very low price).

Fish On!

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would like to see this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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RICHARD FIORENTINOLuke SimondsNick GeorgeLarry MoffattTim Gibson - Anna Maria Island Member Recent comment authors
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Richard Fiorentino
Member

Luke- Have you tried the Owner BEAST weighted twist lock hooks?

Nicholas George
Member

What knot would you use to tie leader/line to the hook? Does it matter? Didn’t know if one knot versus another would lessen the jerk action….

Larry Moffatt
Guest
Larry Moffatt

Fantastic article and advise! Coincidentally, I was making my hook comparisons yesterday. I like how well the weighted hook swims, but I like the way the hook point pops out better on the bent worm hook when both are rigged weedless with 4″ grub. Here’s my pics:comment image?dl=0

Tim Gibson
Member

I love the twist on hooks myself. I have also found that you can just buy the little wire twist part on Amazon and other places. Then you can clip them onto the front end of any hook you own and make it into a twist lock hook. Very cost effective and you can take them off and on to change them from hook to hook if you want to.

Kenneth Johnston
Member

Perfect explanation. And about cost, many of us own a boat so to be concerned about the price of a hook is pretty funny. But, we all do it. Keep the good stuff coming, you are a great resource.

Ed S
Guest
Ed S

Luke, have you tried these yet? I would like to hear your opinion on them.
https://www.facebook.com/ZManFishingProducts/videos/10154160773453051/

Robert Jureit
Member

Just to let those that are in fishing clubs or not, I was able to contact Owner in Califorina.
They allowed me to BULK order. So instead of paying almost 2 dollars for each hook, I paid only 57 cents.
The catch is, I ordered 1000 hooks, yes that;s. One thousand, hooks in bulk. But lowered the price to
57 cents. Club members can get together, and order this way. By the way it took one month for the order to
Arrive. I guess it’s a special order , so they need time, and all. 1000 come together in a box, they need to be
Separated , no big deal. I give samples to my friends to try. Hope this will help you fisherman out.

Matt Sisler
Guest
Matt Sisler

Good info but the new Zman EzKeeperz hook keeps the plastic on better and can be used on all plastic baits. They also give a better presentation

William Flynn
Ambassador

Great review, thanks Luke!