I am going to make a wild assumption here that if you lure fish for bass then you own at least a couple of hard lures (liar!) - and I would then suggest that if you are anything like me, you in fact own a “few” hard lures and you could talk yourself into buying nice shiny new stuff on a fairly regular basis. Anyway, now that we have all admitted to our addiction, I guess that however well you might look after your hard lures and wash them in freshwater after fishing with them - which I tend to do - over time the trebles and split rings which often seem to often be of questionable quality will need replacing……………….
Like you I am sure I have tried a bunch of different replacement treble hooks over the years, and on some of my hard lures I will swap the rear treble for a specialist lure single hook - there’s a part of me that thinks a single instead of a treble hook has to be a good idea when I am going to be releasing the bass I might catch, but then the other part of me can’t help but think that by virtue of what I love doing I end up sticking hooks in fish anyway so the treble versus single hook debate is never going to be an argument with a definitive answer as such. I personally believe that fishing with barbless hooks is the best thing to be doing if the welfare of your fish is important.
Anyway, a treble hook that I have really liked for a while now is the Vanfook DT-58S which you can find in the UK right here - Vanfook hooks are seriously sharp! I have got on well with the Seaspin Gamu SW size 1/0 single hook as well, but I am not sure what’s going on now with Seaspin availability in the UK. There are of course loads of other hooks out there, and I have used any number of different ones, but those two above are what I have ended up liking the most so far.
But what’s the one problem with nearly all treble and single hooks for an angler like me who is going to fish only with barbless hooks for my lure fishing? I have to crush the barbs down, and whilst it’s hardly that much of a pain to do so, I sure would prefer it if there were a lot more “already barbless” options out there. I also notice that when you crush a barb down, it seems to me that you are creating a place for rust to start forming.
So from time to time I look around for barbless options, and I recently got hold of some rather nice looking barbless VMC hooks to have a go with - and I really like the look of them. I tend to like VMC hooks anyway, and they make a bunch of different lure style hooks that I think are really good (more to come). This particular VMC 7554B BN (Black Nickel finish) 2X-Strong Inline Barbless Treble just looks right to me - there is of course a barbed version of this very good looking treble hook as well, but it’s of no interest to me when this barbless version exists.
The VMC single hooks I have here for a tryout are the VMC 7238 BN Inline Single Barbless (barbed version also available), and the biggest they do in this model is a size 1/0 which seems perfect to me when replacing say size 4 or 6 trebles. I don’t know how these hooks might last, but whenever I have tried any VMC Black Nickel finish (VMC use the code BN for this finish) hooks in the past they have lasted well. I am interested how not needing to crush any barbs might help these hooks last longer as well.
I like that big eye on the VMC 7238 BN Inline Single Barbless and it feels plenty strong enough for the bass I might catch, and the VMC 7554B BN 2X-Strong Inline Barbless Treble feels like you could hang your house off it but without being over the top tropical sort of strong and heavy which we simply don’t need. I have put these particular VMC hooks that I have here on some of my hard lures and I will use them as normal, wash them as normal, keep an eye on them, and then report back in due course.
The problem here is that I can’t find a UK stockist of these particular VMC hooks, or if there is, I haven’t been able to find one online. I know the people who now have the VMC distribution agreement for the UK so if you want to see these hooks it might be worth hassling the tackle shop you use to speak to them. As I said, I know these people but I do not work for them so we can get the usual UK style cynicism out of the way - the UK bods doing VMC here in the UK now are called Normark UK Sales & Marketing and they can be contacted on 0844 4068939 if that is of help to any of you here. These are the same people who are properly doing my out and out favourite line brand here in the UK, the mighty Sufix (yippee!). You all have a good weekend and may winter start sodding off as quickly as possible please.