UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Guide to treble hooks

There is no one-size-fits-all treble hook. As such, choosing a the right treble for the job can put more fish in the boat. Above, FLW Tour pro Chad Morgenthaler inspects his treble hook inventory.

(Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the 2013 October issue of Bass Fishing magazine. To read more compelling articles from Bass Fishing magazine each month, become an FLW subscriber member. If you'd like to sign up for a digital subscription to access articles online, click here). As a general rule, the treble hooks on the lures of most tournament pros aren't original equipment. Less-expensive stock trebles are usually replaced with ultra-sharp premium hooks of the angler's choice. It goes beyond quality, though. Some high-end crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwater lures are equipped with tournament-ready hooks, but pros commonly want a different shank length, bend, wire diameter, size or color of treble than the lure-maker chooses to use. And eventually all treble hooks need to be replaced due to rust, damage, dullness or other factors resulting from wear and tear. Hook manufacturers use various processes for sharpening hook points and different point designs, and everyone measures sharpness differently. We won't dive into the sharpness debate, but instead will break down hook design characteristics and sizing ideas to consider how such distinctions affect the action of lures and an angler's capacity to hook fish and keep them hooked. Treble style features Short shank - The shortened distance from the eye to the bend help trebles stay snug to a lureShort shank - The shortened distance from the eye to the bend helps trebles stay snug to a lure's body and keeps hooks from catching each other on shorter lures. This style is also less apt to snag cover. Standard shank - The longer standard shank length allows for better hookup rates in open water.Standard shank - The longer standard shank length allows for better hookup rates in open water, especially with longer-bodied lures, which naturally separate the trebles. Round bend - As the name suggests, the bend is evenly rounded between the shank and the shaft.Round bend - As the name suggests, the bend is evenly rounded between the shank and the shaft. The point goes straight up, which is helpful for hooking more fish even when they only slash at baits. Extra-wide gap - The hookExtra-wide gap - The hook's gap, where it normally is measured for sizing, is from the shank to the point. An "extra-wide gap" is actually extra wide farther down in the bend, creating an inward point angle. The point aiming toward the hook eye offers added holding power to keep large, hard-fighting fish hooked. Standard wire - The standard treble wire can be lighter than that of a single hook used for the same size of fish because pressure from a fishStandard wire - The standard treble wire can be lighter than that of a single hook used for the same size of fish because pressure from a fish's weight typically gets distributed to more than one bend. The lighter wire allows for better penetration, and its light weight doesn't dampen lure action. 2X or heavy wire - Heavier gauge hooks are stronger and are most commonly used when lures get matched with big baits with less delicate actions.2X or heavy wire - Heavier gauge hooks are stronger and are most commonly used when lures get matched with big baits with less delicate actions - such as magnum deep-diving crankbaits. They're also a popular choice for fishing with low-stretch braid or heavy fluorocarbon. The right treble for the job There is no one-size-fits-all treble hook, nor does one particular hook belong on a particular hard lure for all fishing scenarios. Like matching hooks to favorite soft plastics, choosing the right treble for the job at hand can put more fish in the boat. Things to consider when choosing hooks with the design features mentioned: Lure size - Nothing is more frustrating than casting a topwater plug into a scrum of schooling fish, only to have the treble hooks tangle each other or the line, ruining the cast. Match hook size to lure size carefully so the hooks won't catch on each other. If the front hook is catching on the line, consider downsizing one size. Depending on cover and a lure's front or middle hook placement, sometimes an upsized tail hook can be added without altering the action. Action - For Walmart FLW Tour pro Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., the short answer to the question of choosing treble hook size is, "the biggest hooks I can get away with without killing the action." Often that's a size or two larger than the hooks packaged with the lure. That said, sometimes hook size can be used to dial in an "in-between" action or a particular action for the conditions. For instance, when Morgenthaler rigs a Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait for spring fishing, he uses No. 6 hooks in the front and the middle and a slightly larger No. 4 treble in the back. However, for summer fishing he switches to all No. 6 trebles because it allows the lure to "flow" more when he works it. Similarly, a popper rigged with upsized hooks might float a little "lower" in the water, resulting in more water resistance when it's twitched. And big heavy trebles can deaden the action of a crankbait, which might be good or bad depending on the situation. Cover - Morgenthaler favors the light wire and design of Daiichi round-bend trebles for hooking slashing fish and the design of wide-gap Mustad Triple Grips for staying out of cover and for keeping hard-fighting fish hooked. Many of his hook combinations include those two models. He uses round-bend hooks for all jerkbait applications because jerkbaits mostly travel through open water and often get slashed at by fish. When encountering thick brush, such as with a crankbait, sometimes it's necessary to downsize the front hook - or both hooks - to avoid snagging the brush, especially if using a short-billed crankbait or a model that runs very "flat," with the lure body horizontal, as opposed to tail-up. The same applies when cranking mucky areas with shallow lures that might "scoop up" silt and leaf litter. For three-hook topwaters, such as a Heddon Spook or a Reaction Innovations Vixen, Morgenthaler uses No. 4 round bends on the front and the back and a No. 2 Triple Grip hook in the middle. For bigger diving crankbaits he puts a Triple Grip in the front - because that hook is less likely to snag when it bumps cover - and rigs a round-bend hook on the back. To give size perspective for a medium-sized bait, he uses a No. 2 Triple Grip on the front and a No. 4 Daiichi round bend on the back of a Strike King Pro-Model Series 5. Line size - Line size influences treble hook selection, primarily with regard to shank size. "Most of the trebles that fishermen use are too thick," Morgenthaler says. "They use soft rods and light line and don't get good penetration with thick hooks." Choosing to go larger in size or heavier in thickness can alter a lure's balance and action, but by opting for light-wire hooks, an angler might be able to get away with a larger gap size than the manufacturer employed and still keep the lure in balance. Specialty Trebles - unique hooks with special applications VMC Dressed SureSet Treble VMC Dressed SureSet Treble - This version comes feather-dressed for added attraction.Beginning with the ICAST award-winning SureSet design, which includes one extended extra-wide-gap hook for added grabbing power (great for many crankbait applications), this version comes feather-dressed - such as on the back treble of a Rapala X-Rap - for added attraction. Sizes: Nos. 2, 4 and 6 Colors: six color combos of red or white feathers with either a black nickel or tin red hook Price: $4.79 for two Contact: rapala.com Decoy Quad Hooks Daiichi Bleeding Bait - Daiichi led the way with red hooks because of research indicating that fish attacked wounded prey first and react to a stressed fishOK, it's not technically a treble if it has four points, but a Decoy X-S21 Quad Hook definitely fits the same niche as a treble, simply adding an extra point for the fish to find when they attack a lure. It's a popular addition to many big-bodied swimbaits because when one point is buried in the lure, there are still three exposed. Sizes: 1/0 and Nos. 1 and 2 Color: matte black Price: $11.69 for packs of four to six, depending on size Contact: Decoy does not have a U.S. website, but its hooks are available at several popular online tackle shops and sites specializing in Asian tackle brands. Daiichi Bleeding Bait Decoy quad hooks - The quad hook is a popular addition to many big-bodied swimbaits because when one point is buried in the lure, there are still three exposed.Daiichi led the way with red hooks because of research indicating that fish attacked wounded prey first and react to a stressed fish's red gill flash. Pros also like red on a bait because it gives fish a narrower target, and the hook obviously is a good place for the fish to target. Sizes: 4/0 to No. 10 Color: red Price: $3.50 for packs of three to five, depending on size Contact: ttiblakemore.com BasStar SpinTech Rotating Treble Hook BasStar SinTech rotating treble hook - These hooks spin freely on a shaft to deny fish leverage to twist off a hook.BasStar SpinTech Trebles spin freely on a shaft to deny fish leverage to twist off a hook. When a fish shifts its momentum, these hooks reposition themselves accordingly so the fish stay hooked. Sizes: 3/0 to 1/0 and Nos. 1 to 6 Color: black chrome Price: $7.99 for four Contact: basstarbaits.com

Tags: magazine-features  gear 


2014 Buyer’s Guide: Soft plastics

No category of lure is as flexible as soft-plastic lures – both in action and in use. Not only do soft plastics move freely, even when deadsticked, but the range of their use is limited only by the angler’s imagination. READ MORE »


2-D sonar strategies

There was a time when experience almost always trumped equipment when it came to finding fish. If you wanted to be a better fisherman, you got out there on the water and paid your dues. You learned the spots that produced at certain times of the year, and culled the 90 percent of the water that was almost always void of bass. The last decade or so of fish-finding technology has changed the paradigm, however. Now anglers can buy a Lowrance HDS unit, cruise likely looking spots on any lake and literally see bass. READ MORE »


Swim-jigging winter grass lines

You can rip rattle baits through winter grass beds like everyone else, or you can offer bass something different: a swim jig. Veteran bass pro Ron Shuffield says a swim jig is one of his preferred cool-weather lures when bass set up camp on grass-line edges. It’s a lure that can be worked quickly, or dragged more slowly when conditions warrant a change-up. READ MORE »


Hog hunters

A five-fish limit is the first measure of success and job one in a tournament. But it’s how you see that quintet shaping up that sets the tone for your performance. Is it an open audition where anything that measures will do, or do you want five stars that’ll rock any stage? READ MORE »


Never (hardly) ever lose a fish

How many good fish do you lose in a season of fishing, whether it’s in a tournament or just when you’re fishing for the fun of it? If it’s more than you can count on your fingers, perhaps it’s time for some constructive self-criticism. Are the fish at fault, or are you? In case it’s the latter, we offer the following advice, observations and tips from some top pros regarding how to put the odds of landing a fish successfully more in your favor. READ MORE »


X Marks the spot

Two things stand out about winter bass fishing: The fish get a little bit pickier about where they want to be, and anglers don’t want to spend as much time running a bass boat around a frigid lake trying to find them. READ MORE »


Q&A with Andy Morgan

I wouldn’t say it was a perfect season, but it sure worked out. I mean, it was a good year, but not a great year. I was surprised to even have a shot to win after Beaver Lake (he finished 68th). Honestly, it was never even on my mind until someone mentioned right before Chickamauga that I had a shot at winning it. READ MORE »


Last-minute holiday gift guide

Naughty? Nice? Who cares – Christmas isn’t far away, and any bad behavior can be overlooked for a while as we celebrate the season with presents for those nearest and dearest. As is our custom, we’ve appointed ourselves Santa’s helpers and came up with a few gift ideas. We’ve also selected goodies that cover a range of price options. Regardless of their cost, the following gear, gadgets and clothing would make any angler beam with joy. READ MORE »


Boat Care 101: Simple do-it-yourself carpet cleaning

If there is one thing I hate worse than seeing a nice bass boat with a filthy finish, it’s seeing one with dirty carpet. I like to keep my stuff clean, but not just because it looks good. A bass boat is a huge investment, and the more you can do to protect that investment the better the returns if you ever decide to sell or trade it. READ MORE »


The Chilly Truth

Not surprisingly, bass fishing has its own set of myths: Bass don’t eat topwaters when it’s sunny, big fish only eat big lures and so on. Winter fishing seems to take myths to a whole new level. Maybe the long hours in freezing cold numbs the mind as much as it does the hands, but one could write an article about how many myths there are regarding this chilly time of year – and whether or not they’re true. READ MORE »


Ask the Experts

If I use heavy-gauge hooks for flipping grass with braided line, why not use the same gauge hooks for fishing all soft plastics? READ MORE »


Sound effects

Though some anglers contend that rattling baits don’t necessarily attract strikes, and might even deter them, the preponderance of evidence favors the rattle crowd. Virtually every hard lure made nowadays – crankbaits, jerkbaits, stick baits and so forth – can be had in rattling and silent versions. READ MORE »


Dock cranking

Well-honed casting skills are required to send a crankbait deep into the reaches of a dock. It can’t be skipped on the surface easily, but even an average caster can make a crankbait go where dock bass are likely to be if he employs a trick that Walmart FLW Tour pros Bryan Thrift and Wesley Strader call “driving,” or “steering.” READ MORE »


First Look

The following products were originally featured in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine. READ MORE »


Drawdown tactics

As summer winds down, however, things can change quickly on a drawdown lake – a reservoir where lake managers reduce the water level in late summer and early fall. Come practice for the EverStart showdown, Dan Morehead’s fish were nowhere to be found. In fact, despite the amazing pre-practice, Morehead didn’t catch a fish during the first day and a half of practice. The dropping lake and progressing season had caused everything to change. READ MORE »


All the right turns

Tournament fishing isn’t just about catching fish. It’s about making sound decisions based on experience and applying the proper strategies to make good things happen when they count the most. Of course, sometimes it’s just about trusting your instincts. READ MORE »


Deep-diving details

Anyone who follows big-league bass fishing knows pro David Fritts is legendary for his ability to sniff out and catch bass on a crankbait. True, Fritts is handy with other styles of lures. But he is the iceman with a crankbait, particularly when the bass relate to cover or structure in deep water. READ MORE »


The right trailer for the task

A jig trailer seems simple enough: a piece of molded soft plastic that dangles from a jig’s hook to add bulk, enhance action, temper the fall and suggest a crawfish or other food item. Those basic functions, though, are somewhat divergent and sometimes work against each other. READ MORE »


Lures for the thick of it

While there is more than one way to get to a fat bass that is buried up in the jungle, few methods are more effective than flipping or punching. Both are short-range techniques built around a hard-core fishing system that includes thick line and a stout rod, and any number of lures and rigs designed to slip in and out of thick cover with the skill of a grass snake. READ MORE »


Advanced Rod Repair: Replace a broken guide

Eventually, your rod collection will grow to the point where it’s cost-effective for you to acquire the tools and learn the skills to make slightly advanced repairs, such as replacing a broken line guide. The task does require some special equipment, but if it keeps your favorite rod in the game without having to wait a couple of weeks for a local shop to fix it, the cost is worth the investment. And a few tools still cost less than replacing one of today’s specialized high-end rods. You might also consider going together with a fishing buddy to split the cost. READ MORE »