I’ve had a chance to play with a new line of hooks from a new company called Zoneloc Hooks. The Zoneloc name refers to the special characteristic offset curve in the outside of the main bend in the hook to keep fish in the “holding zone” on the hook so they can’t work back up towards the point and gain leverage on an angler, or tear loose on the backside of a standard barb.
I’ve been fishing the Zoneloc Wide Gap Magnum Worm Hook in 4/0, 5/0 and 6/0 sizes in a variety of applications including casting Texas rigged worms, flipping Texas-rigged beavers and creatures and twitching soft jerkbaits around shallow cover.
The hooks feature chemically sharpened points on extra-strong steel for surgical sharpness with extreme holding power in heavy cover. The hook points have held up really well. They were not quick to rollover while fishing around hard cover. I even hooked and landed many bass on the same hook over the course of several trips.
The real feature of these hooks is an extra notched bend on the short side of the hook that forces bass to get into the bend quicker and keeps them locked in that zone so they can’t work back up the hook and find a way to get unhooked.
I caught the majority of the bass that bit my plastics, and every one of the bass I got a good hookset on, stayed pinned up on these hooks. I was most impressed with the hooks ability to hold bass as stated. The shorter length on the point side and extra bend penetrated easily and efficiently on the bass, and I got some really solid hookups in the really hard part of a few bass’ mouths.
The gap is good on these hooks. I had good hookups on bulky creature baits, solid thick soft jerkbaits and equally well with thin worms casted on light line. The hook does have a bit of flex, but it held well on heavier lines with tremendous pressure as I tried to wrench on the bass extra hard to see if I could bend one out or pull the bass off. Even horsing them, I didn’t lose any fish after a good hookset. I missed a few fish on the hooksets, and lost one or two small bass that I don’t feel I was able to drive into because of their small size and moving on the hookset.
The makers of the Zoneloc hooks wanted to make their barbs duller but the process very labor intensive which would drive prices up. They don’t want to do that, but they do think that super sharp barbs are flesh cutting problems and more fish get off because they are able to slice flesh easily and open up a bigger hole.
That’s the nature of barbs. They basically scar the steel and bend out the barb which results in a sharp piece of metal sticking out. If you could somehow dull that where it would penetrate easily but then not have that cutting surface, you would really be able to keep fish pinned. But the alternative to that was to add that Zoneloc bend and make the hook point side shorter to get the fish into the safe zone quicker on the hook and keep them there so they can't get back up near the barb during the fight.
That unique bend is what makes the Zoneloc Wide Gap Magnum Worm Hooks worth consideration by anglers in my opinion.
The Zoneloc website is launching in a few weeks, and they will have more sizes, options and explanations of how their system works. You can already get the hooks here at Bass Pro Shops and a few other retail outlets with more coming in the next few weeks.
I think these hooks are priced well, offer a unique advantage and are worth checking out by serious fishermen.