In this blog post I am going to show you how you can replace the treble hooks on your fishing lures with Gamakatsu Siwash hooks. More and more lures are coming with single siwash hooks as an option these days and more and more anglers are making the switch. Whether or not using single siwash hooks to replace treble hooks is "better" is a subject of some debate. I have heard compelling arguments backed by personal experiences on both sides. So, before I detail the process of replacing the treble hooks on your lures, let me explain why we encourage the use of single siwash hooks and present a pros and cons list.
Our primary reason for advocating the siwash hooks is to improve catch and release mortality rates. However, there are also several potential benefits for the angler as well. Let's look at a side-by-side of the pros and cons.
Single Hooks vs Treble Hooks
|Pros of Single Siwash Hooks
||Cons of Single Siwash Hooks
We feel the single siwash hooks have not significantly decreased our hookup ratio (we have not noticed any difference at all in this regard), and that our hookups on trebles are nice and solid and are less likely to lose fish we hook. While we would not say that using a single hook will catch more fish overall, we feel that single hooks don't catch less fish either. Thus, we can get all of the catch and release benefits of the single hooks without a loss of performance.
When To Use Single Hooks
Before you go and replace the hooks on all of your lures, there are a couple of things to know. First, the size of the lure is important. Inline spinners that are small or light weight will wobble with a single hook due to the offset weight as opposed to the symmetrical treble hook. As a general rule, you should stick with trebles (we recommend you bend down the barbs) on small spinners (#2 and under). Personally, I still use single hooks on #2 spinners but nothing smaller. We recommend single siwash hooks on all spinners (#3 and above) and all spinners and wobblers.
Some lures, such as crankbaits may have an action that shakes the hooks around quite a bit. Pay attention to how long the hooks hang down and if they can touch each other. Since siwash hooks have the longer shank, the appropriate sized hooks may now be able to tangle around each other--you won't catch fish like that. With crankbaits, I often use a single hook in the rear and either leave front treble as is, put on a smaller single hook, or remove the front hook entirely. This would depend on whether or not the species you are targeting is likely to strike from behind following the lure or from the side.
How to Replace Treble Hooks with Siwash Hooks
First, you will need the correct size siwash hook. You can buy Gamakatsu Siwash hooks here at Green Tackle. You want the gap width of the single hook to be about as wide as the treble hook's point-to-point width as shown in the photo below.
Sizing: The siwash hook has same gap width
as the point-to-point of the treble.
Depending on the type of lure you have, you may need a pair of strong wire cutters (your local hardware store will have these for under $10) to cut off the old treble hook. If your lure uses a split ring to attach the hook, you simply remove the hook from the split ring.
Use a pair of strong wire cutters
to remove the treble hook.
In order to get the hook off without damaging or bending your lure, you may need to snip it in two place to create a large enough opening.
Snip the hook twice to get an opening.
Attach the single siwash hook to the lure through the opening of the eye of the siwash hook.
Attaching the siwash hook.
Use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the eye of the siwash hook closed. A firm squeeze just until the eye makes contact with the shaft is all you need.
Closing the open eye of the siwash hook.
The closed eye of the siwash hook.
Below you can see the finished lure. (Note: Contrary to the photo below, I would not recommend leaving the shank tubing on a single hook as it doesn't quite stay in place and may effect how the hook hangs behind the lure).
The finished spinner with single siwash hook.
As mentioned above, many lures have the treble hooks attached using a split ring. At times these split rings can be a real challenge to get open. A good pair of split ring pliers is a great investment if you are replacing hooks frequently. The photo below shows a pair of split ring pliers from Texas Tackle--our favorite--opening a split ring on a Kastmaster lure.
Using split ring pliers from Texas Tackle.
Below are a few popular lures with single siwash hooks instead of treble hooks. From left to right they are: Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner, Panther Martin "Big Belly" Salmon Spinner, Acme Kastmaster, Panther Martin Spinner, Mepps Aglia Spinner.
Several popular lures with single hooks.
- Use a pair of nitrile gloves to avoid getting your scent on the lure.
- Invest in a pair of high quality split ring pliers if you intend to replace hooks often.
- Keep your hooks very sharp. Keep a small file in your tackle box.
- Bend down the barb of your hooks once you have experience landing fish.
- If you find yourself deep hooking fish, try a shorter shank single hook.