By Stan Fagerstrom
Product Review Editor
*Click here for pt. 1
Sometimes, as I’ve said a time or two before, the answers in this business of bass fishing are just plain awful darn hard to come by.
If you’ve done much of it yourself, I’d be willing to bet you’ve already arrived at that conclusion. Just when you think you’ve got ‘em pinned down to this or that those scaly boogers will turn right around and knock all your hard earned practices clear out of the piscatorial ballpark.
Be that as it may, every now and then over the years someone comes along in the professional bass fishing ranks who manages to defy many of the bass boating problems the rest of us so consistently deal with. Having only missed attending a couple of Bassmasters Classics twice out of the first 30 times they were held put me where I could closely watch what I’m talking about happen.
In my previous column I shared some details about the new line of “G Finesse” hooks the Gamakatsu folks are now making available. I also mentioned that much of the testing of these unbelievably sharp new hooks was done by a friend who is an executive with Gamakatsu and a bassin’ pro who has bewildered others with his oftentimes unusual and creative methods of putting fish in the boat.
Aaron Martens is the bass pro I’m talking about. Last year he walked away with “Angler of the Year” title for the pro ranks. Check most of the recent Bassmasters Classics statistics and you’ll find his name right up there close to the top---often, as a matter of fact, within the top five finishers.
And that’s just for starters. Go on the Internet and check out the Bass Fan. Right there on the home page you’ll find a list of current pro angler rankings. You’ll also find the friendly mug of Aaron Martens looking back at you from the top of the heap.
I mention these details about Aaron for more than one reason. One is the role he has had in helping the folks at Gamakatsu in the testing and perfection of their new line of “G Finesse” hooks. A second and even more important point is what Martens has to say where just one of these hooks is concerned.
Few others in the hook building business have spent more time with Aaron Martens than my friend Jeff Roberts, one of Gamakatsu’s execs from the company’s headquarters in Tacoma, Washington. Much of what I know about Aaron I’ve learned from Jeff.
You get to know somebody pretty good if you work closely with them for the past eight years and that’s what Jeff and Aaron have done. “Aaron,” Jeff says, “can be a hard guy to please. If he finds anything about a product that he thinks he’s wrong he’s gonna tell you about it.”
But it is what Aaron has to say about what is right with the new “G Finesse” drop shot hook that he himself designed that really got Jeff’s attention. Mine too.
“Aaron tells me,” Jeff says, “that he’s getting our new drop shot hook solidly hooked into about 30 per cent more of the fish that hit his drop shot lure than he has in the past when he was using a different hook.”
Now that kind of comment, my friends, when it comes from a pro with the credentials of a guy like Aaron Martens has to get your attention. As I’ve mentioned, Martens and Jeff Roberts were testing and working with the new Gamakatsu “G Finesse” hook line long before these products were ever brought to market.
Martens was especially involved with the creation of the new drop shot hook I’ve mentioned. Speaking about it as he has since his extensive testing of this new product indicates he’s been successful in blending a successful drop shot hook design that takes full advantage of the greater penetrating power these new hooks have.
You’ll recall that in my previous column I told about having been involved in the testing of the original Gamakatsu hooks before they ever hit the United States market well before the turn of the century. I didn’t see how in the world anybody anywhere was going to ever come up with a hook point as sticky sharp as those new ones were.
I chuckle when I recall what Jeff Roberts has told me about his sentiments where the sharpness of the brand new Gamakatsu “G Finesse” line is concerned. “Stan,” Jeff says, “how they’ve managed to do it is beyond me. Sometimes now when I’m showing samples of the new hooks to a group of anglers I find myself reluctant to pass them around without being very careful in how I go about it. It’s just too easy to get ‘hooked’ yourself with a little careless handling.”
Jeff went on to point out that with the casting equipment available to anglers today it’s entirely possible to throw a lure out there even 100 feet or so. Getting a solid hook up with that much line between you and the fish you’re after might have posed problems in the past. Those who have been in on the testing of the “G Finesse” line say it isn’t any longer.
Gamakatsu officials also tell me they been really pleased with the acceptance these new hooks have had since they began appearing on the dealer shelves here in the United States over the past year. Based on my own experience with the track record of these fine products I don’t find that the least bit surprising.
More styles of certain of these new hooks are on the way. I’m eager to show ‘em to the bass in a couple of my own favorite spots where I doubt those often frustrating buggers have chomped down on ‘em yet.
I’m just itchin’ to see what happens when they do!