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
  • With only one hook in the fish's mouth instead of 2 or 3, there are less points tearing flesh when the hook is removed. With 2 points making contact, often only one can be pulled straight out forcing the other to tear out at a slight angle.
  • Single hooks are easier to remove from a fish allowing for less time out of the water (if any) and a decreased mortality rate.
  • Single hooks provide a very solid, secure hookup. The single hook might provide a better landing rate on fish that have been hooked.
  • Single hooks are easier to manage as treble hooks are more likely to mistakenly hook clothes, skin, car seats, etc.
  • Single hooks may be more suitable in vegetated cover as they snag less often.
  • The longer shank on single hooks is more likely to "deep hook" the fish which significantly decrease it's survival rate
  • The single hook is not symmetrical thus throwing off the balance of smaller inline lures (spinners size 2 and under)--effecting the action of the lure.
  • With more points of contact, the treble hook might provide a higher hookup ratio.

 

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.

 

 

Choosing a siwash hook to replace treble hook
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.

Cutting off the treble hook
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.

The cut treble hook
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.

Installing 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.

Open eye of siwash hook
Closing the open eye of the siwash hook.

 

Closing the 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).

Finished single siwash hook 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.

Opening split ring using split ring pliers
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.

Single hook lures: Blue Fox, Panther Martin, Kastmaster, Panther Martin
Several popular lures with single hooks.

Tips

  • 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.