UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

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: jeff-samsel  magazine-features  gear 

/tips/2016-02-11-eric-jackson-q-a

Eric Jackson Q&A

We caught up with Jackson just prior to his Tour debut on Lake Okeechobee to learn more about his background in the outdoors and how he got started in tournament fishing. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-11-flw-podcast-111-bradley-hallman

FLW Podcast 111 - Bradley Hallman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-03-flw-podcast-110-jt-kenney-and-kyle-monti

FLW Podcast 110 - JT Kenney and Kyle Monti

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-bfl-choo-choo-division-postponed

BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »