by Stan Fagerstrom
There's no mystery about it. These days some of the top bass pros in the business go out there loaded for bear.
I'm not talking about packing 45 caliber hand guns or an extra rifle or a shotgun or two in their rod lockers. What I have in mind are the rods, reels, lines and the hooks some of them are employing when they're up against big fish and really heavy cover.
If you've done much fishing around Florida or parts of Texas and California you know what I'm talking about. You might be faced with flipping through heavy aquatic growth so thick it looks like it could float a brick.
If that's not what you're eyeballing, you might be up against a weedy mat that requires an ounce or more o weight just to punch the plastic bait you have on down through it.A hook you can count on is essential if you hang a good one where the cover is heavy. Gamakatsu's new Super Heavy Cover hook is especially designed for this kind of angling problem.
The tremendous strength built into the relatively new small diameter braided lines really got the ball rolling in this regard. But that hasn't been the end of it.
Once those braids came along bassin' guys and gals had something they could really work with where the cover got thick. But they had to have other stuff they could use to get the job done.
Many moons ago I did a product piece about the Heavy Cover Hooks my friends at Gamakatsu had come up with. As well received as those hooks have been, there were still pros who wanted something even stronger---hooks that had no bend or flex and that had an even bigger bite of their own when a big bellied beauty tried to make off with it.
Well, my friends, today they have it. I've been associated one way or another with Gamakatsu fishing hooks even before they made it to market here in USA. I was in on the testing of some of the first early day Gamakatsu prototypes.
I learned something in the process. One of the things I learned, and I've since personally experienced more of it, is that the top dogs at Gamakatsu have both ears wide open and eager to hear to hear what those of us who are buggy about bassin' are saying.
"We're aware of the mindset of the tournament pros," says Jeff Roberts, an assistant sales manager out of Gamakatsu's Tacoma, Washington office. "They aren't interested in fighting a good fish that's in heavy cover. What they want to do is get that fish up and out and into their and boat and the sooner the better."
If you've got a rod with sufficient guts and a reel holding 65 to 85-pound braid you need a really stout hook especially designed to go with it. Put these three ingredients together and you could turn a shark sideways at hook setting time.
"Our new Super Heavy Cover Hook," Roberts says, "is designed along the same lines as the Heavy Cover Hook we introduced a few years ago. Our pros have done lots of testing with it, especially over the past year. Among other things you're not going to find any flex or bend in this new one."Here's a close up of Gamakatsu's new Super Heavy Cover Hook. You'll find there's no flex or give in it. Those bass down there under the heavy cover will find out the same thing!
You'd recognize the names of some of the pros involved in the testing and the creation of these new hooks. They include sharpshooters like John Crews, Aaron Martens and Fred Roumbanis. Winning bass pro Aaron Martens, shown here with a pair of nice largemouth, was just one of the pros in on the testing of the new Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Hook.
"We also got a lot of important feedback from Stacey King," Roberts says. King, a pro from Missouri, has been deeply involved in the testing of previous Gamakatsu products that have wound up making such a favorable impact on the bass fishing market.
Get a chance to examine one of the new Super Heavy Cover Hooks and you'll find it also has a slightly bigger barb than its predecessor. "That was another of the features the pros told us they wanted," Roberts says.
The wire keeper just below the eye is the same as it is on the Heavy Cover Hook, but its attachment to the hook has been reinforced and is stronger as a result.
Ever had your braided line work down into the teensy gap at the eye of a hook and wind up losing a lure as a result? I have. You won't have any problems like that with the company's new Super Heavy Cover hook.
I say you won't because the eyes of these new hooks are welded. You can tie one on with the braid of your choice and it's there to stay.
These new hooks are presently available. They are being made in three different sizes. Those sizes are 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.One of the keys to successful bass fishing is matching your gear to the problems you're up against. Will you be fishing heavy cover? Get a strong rod and rig it with a reel loaded with 65-pound or stronger test braided line. Tie on one of Gamakatsu's new Super Heavy Cover hooks and you're in business.
There you have it. If that pot bellied heavyweight that calls a nearly solid carpet of cover home could read this it would likely be a tad worried. And if it isn't it should be. It's gonna be too darn late when some well equipped pro slams one of these Super Heavy Cover Hooks into its mug.
If and when that happens odds are a couple of heartbeats later that bass is gonna find itself airborne and on its way into the pro's boat!