UPCOMING EVENT: 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: jeff-samsel  magazine-features  gear 

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-19-waunakee-hs-wins-wi-title

Waunakee HS Wins WI Title

The Waunakee High School duo of Colin Steck and Nathan Lorenz brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Wisconsin State Championship on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes. The win earned the team trophies, the title of state champions and advanced the team to the High School Fishing Central Conference championship on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on September 23-24. READ MORE »