by Stan Fagerstrom
I didn’t think it was possible. I thought it had already been done. As a matter of fact, I’d been a little bit involved when it happened the first time.
You’d really have to have been around for awhile to know what I’m talking about---and I have. You see I really did catch my first fish on a bent safety pin with a rod my dad had made for me out of a willow tree branch way back in the 1920s.
I’ve had the wondrous opportunity to watch the development of fishing tackle of all kinds and types for what’s getting to be awful darn close to a full century. It’s probably the most basic item of them all I’m talking about here. My subject is the item you have out there at the end of your line or leader---it’s your hook.
The specific hooks I’m talking about are those developed by the Gamakatsu people in Japan. I suppose there are a lot of fishermen around now who figure Gamakatsu hooks have been around for ages. Well, they haven’t. I can say that with authority because I was involved in the testing of these wondrous new hooks before they were ever being brought into the United States in the early ‘80s.
But it wasn’t my surprise back then when I first had a chance to see just how sticky darn sharp those first Gamakatsu hooks I tested were and are. Instead, it’s what I’m hearing some of today’s top professional bass anglers saying about the latest even sharper selection of hooks that are now being made available to the world’s anglers.
I’ve spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest. That’s one of the reasons I was among the first asked to try samples of these hooks before they were brought to market. At one time decades ago I was writing fishing columns for both The Daily News in Longview, Washington and the Vancouver Columbia newspaper in Vancouver, Washington.
A man named Walt Hummel, of Woodland, Washington knew I was fishing all over the place. Walt was in the tackle selling business and he was debating whether or not he should start bringing the new Gamakatsu brand hooks to the American market. He asked if I would do some testing of them and let him know how I liked ‘em.
Once I did that testing I remember telling Walt I’d never seen anything that compared with the sharpness of these new hooks. That why I started this column as I did. I didn’t think it was possible to make a hook one doggone bit sharper than these Gamakatsu jobs I started hanging on my line as soon as I had the opportunity.
As I’ve already pointed out, it appears my thinking was wrong. I guess there’s a whole bunch of truth in that old business that “The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.” It appears some of the members of the Gamakatsu staff here in the USA have been just as surprised as I am about this latest development.
The Gamakatsu Company is and has been headquartered in Tacoma, Washington ever since their hooks hit the American market. Jeff Roberts is one of the Gamakatsu staff members I’ve worked most closely with in recent years. I go to Jeff whenever I have hook questions of one kind or another.
Why? Well, a primary reason is because Jeff works with top bass pros from one end of the country to the other. These guys have to put fish in the boat. If they don’t, they just aren’t going to make it and will be forced to seek employment elsewhere.
Roberts has been involved in intense testing of the Gamakatsu’s new “G Finesse” hook lineup for the past year. “These hooks were being used in Japan before we were able to bring them here,” Roberts says, “and we’ve been testing them all over the place.”
You’re going to recognize the name of one of the pros Roberts has spent a good bit of time with. The name of that pro is Aaron Martens. Now if you know a bass from your bellybutton when Aaron’s name is mentioned it has to grab your attention big time. If it doesn’t and you still think you’ve been following what’s happening in the field of professional bass fishing then you’re blind in one eye and don’t see so good out of the other. You must also need new batteries for your hearing aids.
Martens actually designed one of the new Gamakatsu G Finesse hooks I’m writing about. Catch my next column. I’ll tell you what this interesting guy---a pro who just might be one of the best to ever boat a bass---has to say about these latest developments among the hooks he likes best.
You might wind up as surprised as I was.
*Click here for pt. 2