Nothing like a bunch of fish hits that don’t connect to tell you something’s wrong with your hook sizes

I am really liking single hooks on the rear of most of my hard lures, but when I was over in Ireland the other day I quickly realised that I had done something wrong as regards rigging a particular lure - how do I know this? Because I got hit six times without hooking up, then changed the rear hook, chucked out again, and hooked the first bass that hit me again. I will explain……….

IMA Calm 110 rigged with that small size 4 single on the rear

IMA Calm 110 rigged with that small size 4 single on the rear

When you have no choice but to sit around on your arse for a few weeks, not only does your mind play wicked tricks on you about the actual reason for having to sit still in the first place, but with it being winter as well, of course all manner of fishing related stuff was churning round and round my brain! I was increasingly conscious that I have a few hard lures squirrelled away here that I simply haven’t given proper water time to, and via my increasing confidence in lures like a (soft plastic) senko that does very little that we can see in the water, I came across the little IMA Calm 110 (110mm, 11g) that for whatever daft reason I hadn’t ever actually fished with. I most likely bought it because it looked nice, and then because I am a bit of a tit like that I went and forgot all about it. So I drag it out of some obscure box and find that the two little trebles on the lure are all rusted up and need changing. On the front goes a barbless treble hook and on the rear I put a small size 4 Cox and Rawle barbless single lure hook that I happened to have. Seemed to make sense to put a small single hook like that on what is a pretty small hard lure.

Anyway, Steve and I happen to be on some out of the way mark over in Ireland the other day and we are battering a bunch of bass on the IMA Salt Skimmers. Now don’t get me wrong, I love catching a bunch of fish, and especially off the top, but if there is one thing I do like doing is using those times when there’s a lot of fish around to either experiment, or otherwise try and catch on some lures that I have never caught on before. Come on, admit it, however much you might like the look of whatever lure, you never feel truly confident in it until you’ve caught on it - at least I don’t anyway.

I happened to have the little IMA Calm 110 with me, so on it goes. I can’t believe how well it flies for starters, and I couldn’t really think of a better way to fish it over such shallow ground other than to very simply straight-retrieve it at a medium sort of speed - which depending on how excitable you are could be anything. Straight away I get hit by a bass, but it doesn’t hook up. I counted three times on the first retrieve that I was hit, and then three times on the next, and it’s frustrating me - over the moon that bass want to hit the lure, but of course I want to hook up. I reckon Steve can actually hear the cogs in my brain churning over now……….

I look around, and yes, Steve’s got a pair of those green and black IMA pliers strapped to his waist, the ones with the split ring bit on the end. I always keep a pair of these pliers at home because I think they are excellent for crushing barbs and changing split rings, but luckily Steve actually had a pair with him. I borrow the pliers and set about taking off that small size 4 single hook and changing it for a larger Seaspin Gamu SW size 1 single hook that I took off another hard lure of mine. On it goes, I give the pliers back to Steve, and I launch the little Calm 110 out there again.


And hook a bass almost straight away, only this time it stays connected and I land it, and after a couple of fish I change the lure because I want to try and catch on something else. I can’t find any other variable to that incident other than I had gone and mistakenly rigged up the little IMA Calm 110 with a rear single hook that was simply too small. Whilst it is of course possible to catch bass on very small hooks, I imagine that when a hard lure like that is moving through the water, the small rear single simply isn’t able to hook them up - ok, so I could have persisted with the small size 4 single, but six hits and no connections told me what I needed to know, and then the change to the larger size 1 single confirmed it. Interesting though that the bass didn’t hook up on the front treble……...