Treble hooks work really well on all sorts of baits. From lipless crankbaits to topwaters and from squarebills to deep divers, there’s a wide range of baits that treble hooks are ideal for. But how do you know when it’s time to change them? And how do you go about changing them? Well those are the two questions we’re going to try to help you with today.
Why Change your Trebles?
The first reason to change out treble hooks is probably the simplest, and that is when the hooks that come stock on a bait aren’t that sporty right out of the pack. This is particularly true with older lures that have light wire or dull treble hooks that either bend easily or have a hard time hooking the fish. Most baits these days though come with a decent set of hooks right out of the pack.
But if you do bend a hook, dull it or even break a hook point off then it’s a good idea to swap out your trebles. With a bent hook, you can bend it back sometimes. But the bending of a hook weakens it, and even if the hook doesn’t break during the bending it is then more likely to break on a fish. So it’s better to just go ahead and swap the hook out if it gets bent.
Lastly, it’s sometimes a good idea to swap out the trebles on a bait for a bigger size or perhaps even a different style bend altogether. This is particularly beneficial with topwaters. Going with a larger hook that has a round bend helps you hook more fish when the bass are simply swiping at a topwater and not trying to eat it.
And it’s typically a good idea to swap out round bend hooks for extra wide gap trebles on lipless crankbaits and squarebills since a bass is able to eat these baits all the way. These hooks do a better job locking into a fish in these situations compared to the round bends.
How to Change Treble Hooks
Ideally, you’ll want to use a set of split ring pliers to start this process. But if you don’t have split ring pliers, you can use needle nose pliers or even your fingernail to open up the split ring. But this isn’t recommended, as it’s an easy way to hook yourself if you’re not experienced at it. So if you figure you’ll be chaining out treble hooks on a fairly regular basis, it’s worthwhile to invest in a pair of split ring pliers for a few bucks.
You’ll want to carefully open the split ring just enough so that you can begin to move the eye of the existing treble hook that you’re taking off into the gap of the split ring. Then, while the split ring is held open by the old hook, slide the eye of the new treble hook into the split ring as well. Now carefully rotate the ring through both hook eyes at the same time and this will take the old hook off and put the new hook on simultaneously.
Repeat this process for however many treble hooks you have on the bait, and be sure the hooks aren’t too big (if you went up in size) by trying to see if you can make them hook each other. Ideally, you want the hooks to come close to touching one another but not quite reach each other. This will ensure you have as much coverage by the hooks as possible without having to worry about the hooks hanging on each other all the time.
Remember, there are several reasons to swap out your trebles. Whether they’re bent, broken or simply ill-suited of the bait, you can swap them out fairly quickly, effortlessly and safely provided you have one simple tool— a good set of split ring pliers. Split ring pliers aren’t absolutely necessary but they are strongly encouraged and a worthwhile investment.
When picking out which hooks to go with, it’s a good idea to pick the biggest hook you can without picking hooks that are so big they’ll hang one another. And the simple rule of thumb is that round bend hooks work best for baits that bass are likely to swipe at, like jerkbaits and topwaters. And then use extra wide gap trebles for baits that a bass can likely get in its mouth all the way, like squarebills and lipless crankbaits.