Hook Setup: Isn’t 2/0 hook too small?

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I have some people with a question about the hook size. I’d like to answer it with this post.

Currently I use Shout 3/0 and 5/0 in power assist. Do you think the 1/0 and 2/0 Decoy Pikes will be strong enough if I happen to hook my dream 20kilo plus Western Australia Dhufish?

I do understand the concern. Most people are surprised to see the slow pitch setup as they are so tiny and thin. But there are reasons.

First, as I posted before, here’s the video of a man catching a 35kg Amberjack with 2/0 size hook. This is Captain Higashimura, one of the top slow pitch anglers in Japan. It takes skills, and a lot of luck too I’m sure, to land a big fish with light tackle, but it proves that it is possible.

Rod Evergreen Poseidon Slow Jerker 603-4
Reel Shimano Ocea Jigger 2000NR-HG
Line Berkley Fireline Tracer Braid PE2.0 (30lb)
Seaguar FC #8
Jig Deepliner Freq 300g

He used normal Pike 2/0 hooks. 3 of 4 hooks he had on the jig were broken and 1 remaining hook was extended when he landed the 35kg fish.

Hook Setup

This is the hook setup on a Rector. Double hooks on the head and on the tail of the jig. Notice that the tail assist line is a little longer than the head too.

HEAD hook is what catches the fish when the fish bites on the uplifting motion. Head assist is easy to get tangled with the leader. That is why we use fluoro cored PE for the head assist line.

TAIL hook is what catches the fish when the fish bites on the falling motion. Fish always like to bite on the front of the motion, which is more fatal. Tail assist line is plain PE with no core because it’s easier to be swallowed.
Tail assist helps the jig swim steadily, like the tail of a kite. The longer assist line is easier to be swallowed too. These are the reasons why it’s good to have longer assist line on the tail. But the head hook and the tail hook should not overlap.

DOUBLE hook because ideally one hooks from inside the fish lip and the other hook from outside. If you have them hooked like this, the more fish tries to get away, the more deeply the hooks penetrate from both sides.
Even if not hooked like that, the total 4 hooks work together in a way to “hug” the fish. Dividing all the shocks with 4 hooks helps each hooks stay intact.

Set up purposefully

So, this is the hook system that Sato Sensei came up with.
Slow pitch utilizes the natural swimming and falling actions of the jig. Because with the center balanced jig, that is when the jig is in horizontal position, and that is when the fish makes the bite mostly. Slow pitch wants to maximize those moments.

So you don’t want to interfere the jig movements. Water resistance is what interferes it, therefore;

  • Use thin line (Usually PE1.2, PE1.5, or PE2.0)
  • Use thin leader (Usually 30lb to 50lb)
  • Use shorter leader (Usually 3m to 5m)
  • Use smaller hooks (Usually 1/0, 2/0, or 3/0)

These are NOT the rules you have to follow. These are just the physics we play vertical games on.

If you go heavier in your system, you will have a better chance to catch bigger fish, but at the same time you will get less contacts.

There are times in the day when the fish is active and when they are not. What I recommend is to have at least 2 tackles. PE1.5 setup and PE2.0 setup, and use them alternately, according to your tactics. Use 2/0 size normally. When you find the fish is not active and want some contacts, switch to 1/0 hook.

It would also be nice if you have 1 more reel with a heavy set, maybe PE3.0 and 50lb leader. Don’t hesitate to take time to switch your reels when you want to go for a big one. When you do, I would use Pike 3/0 Type-R, heavier hook than the normal Pike.

This way, you can “target” for a big score, not just “happen” to hook one. Of course you are not always right. If you can’t catch with the setting you chose, you just need to give it up. You can’t catch a fish that your setup means to target. That’s the game.
On the other hand, there are a lot of times that I’m with a heavy set and catching no fish, while others are happily catching small amberjacks. I have to be patient. I’m waiting for a big wise amberjack behind those babies, and I need to commit myself on that.

Anyway, I don’t recommend any hook bigger than 3/0 for slow pitch. If you ever have an experience of breaking the hooks, that’s when you can think it over and try to see what you can change. Not just about the hook size, maybe it’s maintenance of the hooks, or maybe it’s the way you fight with the fish. Going for heavier and bigger tackle seems like a simple solution. But know that there is a lot of finesse you are losing by doing that.

Recommended Hooks

A.S.S. Sato’s Double Assist Hook

55s30p40w 2It’s pre-made, ready-to-go double assist hook just like Sato Sensei designed it. Angler’s Support Service makes this with connecting their fluoro cored PE assist line and Pike 2/0 hook with a PR knot. PR knot is best because there’s no overlapping of PE line so it does not damage itself under pressure.
It should be a piece of cake for fly anglers to tie like this, but it’s just too much trouble for clumsy hands like me. I would just buy them.

Go shopping →

DECOY Pike Type-R Hook

pikerI personally love this hook. Pike is the most popular hook for slow pitch jiggers in Japan. Type-R is a thicker stronger model. It’s also got a hole in the eye, making it easy to tie a strong knot.
Normal Pike hooks up better because it’s lighter and easier to be swallow. But It doesn’t have an eye hole…

Go shopping →

A.S.S. Anaaki Hook

anaakihookThis is the standard jigging hook from Angler’s Support Service. It’s got a hole in the eye and the hole does not have any edges to damage the assist line. Also the hook is bent in a way Sato Sensei bents his hooks. The hook point is pointing directly to the eye. Good to penetrate and hard to get snagged.

We sell in 50 pieces. If you look for affordable and assemblable hooks, these are the ones.

Go shopping →

See more hooks and assembling

Assembling Double Assist Hooks →

I hope you find this article informative and helpful to you!

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  1. Daniel
    Daniel03-13-2014

    the normal decoy pike hooks have good tensile strength however I still shy away from them as they are way too thin. even small puffers and parrot fishes break them very easily.

    I like the owner cultiva tuff wire jigger light hooks best!

    • Totos
      Totos03-14-2014

      Hi Daniel.
      Cultiva Jigger Light is indeed a good hook. I hope they will make double hook set with fluoro cored PE soon.

  2. Dan
    Dan03-13-2014

    Hi Totos,
    What is the name of the ASS 2/0 pike hook with no hole?
    I use those but I have found on 10kg kings in 100m that one might snap and the 2nd one might open up. This is strange because it means that some hooks seem harder than others even though they are the same brand. Maybe or maybe not – it could be because the pressure of the fish is on a different part of the hook at a later part of the fight after the hook snaps? I don’t know… What do you think? Is the 2nd hook stretched to breaking point maybe and I’m just lucky more than once?

    • Totos
      Totos03-14-2014

      Hi Dan.
      Angler’s Support Service makes the slow pitch double hook with normal Pike.
      Hooks receive sudden direct impacts from the fish. When several hooks are hooked in different places, each hooks are impacted differently. There are different leverages from different directions.
      As long as you have one hook point, there’s a chance that you can catch it!

  3. Mark
    Mark03-13-2014

    Pike type R I love these hooks and I don’t use anything else. I have caught some big fish with these hooks and never had a problem plus they stay sharp as.

    • Totos
      Totos03-14-2014

      Hi Mark.
      Thank you for your feedback. I agree.
      With my clumsy hands I don’t trust, unless there is other pre-made slow pitch double hooks available on the market, assembling Pike Type-R is the best bet for me too.

  4. shushi
    shushi12-04-2015

    Hello toto
    I plan to buy ass sato asist hook what is the best for reactor 210 head?
    I mean the length of floro leader
    35mm or 40mm?

    • Totos
      Totos12-04-2015

      Hi Shushi.
      Probably best to have 35mm on the head, 40mm on the tail.

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