Greg “Doc Lures” Vinall
ALF Podcast Host & Mad Scientist.
As a lure maker, Greg has spent a fair bit of time pondering and researching the various design aspects of fishing hooks. How much is there to really know about a simple piece of bent wire with a point at one end and an eye at the other? Well, it turns out that there’s actually a fair bit more to hook design than first meets the eye!
Greg’s Thoughts On Hooks For Fishing Lures
- The bend shape of a hook tends to determine the percentage of strikes that convert into hookups. Round-bend hooks align the point parallel with the shank of the hook and have a higher conversion rate than extra wide gape (EWG) hooks. But EWG hooks are less likely to come out of a fish and are harder to straighten than round bend hooks.
- Long, fine, conical hook points penetrate easily into fish mouths, but they blunt very easily when they strike hard structure. Short, strongly tapered points are more durable but also take more force to drive in, which can cost fish at times.
- Hooks with large barbs tend to take a bit more force to penetrate into a fish, are less likely to come out during the fight but removing them also does a bit more damage to fish! Smaller barbs penetrate more easily but also come out more easily. Greg likes barbless hooks, or ones on which the barb has been partially flattened using pliers.
- Long shank hooks are more likely to get interlinked when they’re on the front and rear of a lure and have more impact on lure action then short shanked hooks, but they can help if the fish are nipping at the tail of the lure. Short shanked hooks tend to be more balanced on a lure and are less prone to fouling with each other.
- Fine wire hooks are lighter and less likely to upset lure action than thicker heavier wire. Quality hooks use wire that is very strong for its diameter. Heavy hooks can upset the action of delicately balanced lures.
- The finish plays a big role in corrosion resistance. Bronzed hooks are ok for freshwater but don’t last long in the salt. Tinned hooks are economical and corrosion resistant. Black or chrome nickel hooks have the best corrosion resistance and their shiny smooth surface aids hook penetration.
- Treble hooks have plenty of points but are also the easiest hooks for fish to dislodge. They typically maximise the hook sets and snag ups.
- Inline single hooks align properly with the lure when fitted with a single split ring. They allow the angler to use a larger, stronger hook without overpowering the action of the lure. They are extremely difficult for fish to dislodge.
- Double hooks are lighter than trebles through having one less point and because no split ring is required to connect them to the lure. They are super fast to switch out, can be oriented to make them more snag and weed resistant, have good hook set rates, are quieter and stronger than trebles. Yet they are under used!
Awesome Pod Doc, and at such short notice too.
I reckon there’s enough left over for Part 2 which could cover jigheads in all their forms ranging regular, hidden and weedless to specialists like snakes, footballs, revs and neds. Plus some speciality hooks like quads and “suresets”, and even curiosities like trebles which incorporate a spinning blade, etc.
Part 3 could then wrap it up by covering terminal tackle from snaps/connectors, swivels and rings to assist hooks and jig hooks.
Would also be good to hear from others about what they use and why.
I’m absolutely sold on Doubles.
For the majority of applications they’re my goto replacement when looking to either lighten the hardware on a surface lure, or perhaps to fine tune a suspender. Also great when needing to beef up the hardware but not wanting to alter the balance or action.
If you can find them, heavy-duty Doubles also work well on big barra and cod lures since a double seems less prone to hooking both upper and lower jaw and so risk being pulled apart. Downside is that there are less ‘accidental’ hook-ups from a side swiped lure.
They also work well as the rear hook on large bluewater lures, however potentially they can cause more damage than an inline single, but less than a well hooked treble.
Doubles with hook points up work a treat on a metal blade to help make it more weedless. However on some blades it’s not easy so fit a Double directly to the body due to them not threading through the small hole intended for the fine wire split-ring normally used to attach the treble or assist hooks.
When rigging a Double I tend to orient the middle and rear hooks according to circumstance; for example, points up are more snag resistant and points down for surface lures.
Hint: buy a cheap set of electronic jewellers scales and weigh rings & hooks before and after. It’s particularly illuminating when upgrading standard trebles to 4X or 6X. No wonder the action of many lures is diminished after upsizing the hooks & rings!
Hey Greg, sorry to hear about the lack of support. I did not know about your request for night fishing with lures tips, but, I can certainly submit my experience now. That is the exact opposite to the norm. My vessel is very well illuminated and plenty of light shines on the water. This is when I am on spotlock or offshore at anchor. Large amount of bait fish and squid are attracted to the boat and the predator species not far behind. Works very well for me and easy to see what your doing and watch your braid.
Loved the hook education and I often fit doubles particularly on the front set on hardbody styles.
Thanks Steve, yes, that could definitely work for the right species. After all, fishing under jetty lights is a well known way to pick up plenty of fish. I guess it depends on your target species and locations!