It would be so much easier if all hard lures for bass fishing were purposely designed for single barbless hooks if you ask me, but this is not going to happen of course. Fishing revolves around sticking hooks in fish for our enjoyment and I am pretty sure that the debate on barbed versus barbless and treble versus single hooks will rumble on forever. You know my opinion on barbed hooks for lure fishing, but I can’t make you crush all your barbs and you are entirely free to fish how you want to. Barbs aside though, I have blogged before about how much I dislike treble hooks (here for example), and as such I have been playing around with single hooks on some of my hard lures for a while now.
And I think I have come up with a solution that works for me. My dislike of trebles is not so much based on anything desperately ethical as such, rather I don’t think they are giving us such a good hookhold as a well positioned single hook can. That is the main reason I want to use them on my hard lures, but over time I have come to the conclusion that a single hook on the front of a hard lure isn’t working properly - check out the photo above. Too many times now I have wound a hard lure in to find that the single hook is hooked up kinda like you can see - not always mind you, but my view is that I don’t want to take the chance if a big bass tries to eat the front of my lure and then can’t get hooked up because the front single has gone and got stuck. It annoys me, I don’t know of a way around it, but I do know that it doesn’t happen when I have a treble hook on the front of a hard lure.
So I am putting specialist single lure hooks on the rear of many of my hard lures, and aside from the Feed Shallow which I can’t get to swim properly with anything other than trebles on there, all the other lures seem to be swimming just fine, and a bunch of them have caught me bass as well. I have tried a few different makes of single lure hooks, including Seaspin, Van Fook, Owner Cultiva and OMTD, and via the models I have tried it seems that not all of them are equal with regards to rusting/looking knackered. Money no object and I would go for the Owner Cultiva Plugger Single (check here, as per above), but they are not remotely cheap - serious quality though, and in the spirit of confusing the hell out of us like reel companies do with the reel sizing codes, it’s the size 2/0 of this particular model that I reckon replaces a size 4 treble hook for example.
I have settled though on the rather excellent Seaspin Gamu SW single hooks, and whilst any decent hooks aren’t going to be cheap, these I reckon are pretty good value for money, and the way I do things does help out with the cost (I will explain a bit later). These Seaspin Gamu SW single hooks are nice and strong and they are lasting well in terms of rust/looking knackered. I accept that my crushing the barbs on them that I am creating a potential rust point, but that’s the way it’s got to be until try out some barbless single lure hooks. They come with split rings already on them which I like, and I am using the Seaspin Gamu SW size 1/0 to replace size 4 trebles, and then their size 1 single to replace size 6 trebles. Search around on Google and you will find them easily enough.
Bearing in mind that virtually all my hard lures are under 150mm long, the first thing I do now when I get a new hard lure that has three treble hooks on there is to crush all the barbs on all the hooks, remove the middle and rear treble, and then store those two brand new treble hooks somewhere logical to be used as replacements for knackered trebles in the future. So from a new lure like say my beloved IMA Komomo SF-125 I have put two brand new treble hooks aside - and because this lure happens to come rigged with size 4 trebles, I then clip a size 1/0 Seaspin Gamu SW single hook on the rear end. A lad in Ireland advised me a couple of years ago that it might be worth sticking on a little bit of lead strip right behind where the middle treble would be (Storm SuspenStrips, I bought them off Ebay) to help balance things out - and sometimes I will also add a couple of split rings as well, as per the photo above. Is this extra weight needed? Not 100% sure, but my lures are swimming just fine. I bought a bunch of pretty cheap 6mm split rings on Ebay again, but to be honest I tend not to bother anymore with those extra split rings. Call it a phase!
OK, so it’s a bit of extra cost to put single hooks on new lures, but on a new lure with three trebles I end up with a couple of spares, and on a small hard lure like the long-casting IMA Hound 100F Sonic above, I remove the front treble and just put the one size 1 Seaspin Gamu SW single hook on the rear. On older lures when you need to start replacing trebles because they are knackered, then replacing with singles doesn’t work out any more expensive than replacing with good quality trebles. I can only tell you what I am doing here and it’s none of my business how you choose to do the hook thing on your hard lures, but I’m liking the use of one specialist single hook on a bass lure, and I have settled on a make of hook that I reckon is a good mix of quality and price. I am not using singles exclusively and I’d like lots more time with them, but this is where I’m at right now.