I think back to the amount of hooks I used to get through with bait fishing and I wonder if perhaps we place unfair expectations on the treble hooks that come rigged on our hard lures. Hooks rust with saltwater use, end of, but how fast or slowly they rust up seems to depend on a number of different things such as the type of treble hook, cleaning or not cleaning lures in freshwater after use etc., and what I am convinced aids in the rusting process - poor quality split rings.
Any sign of damage to my single hooks for bait fishing and I would change them for a new one, but we spend fair amounts of dosh on hard lures and we want those treble hooks and split rings to last as long as possible - because replacing treble is not exactly cheap, and especially not when many lures come with three sets of them on there. When do you replace your trebles? I guess when they look really dodgy and if the lure keeps on slaying for you, but it's hardly scientific. I do tend to wash my lures in freshwater after fishing in saltwater, but whatever I do they all seem to show varying degrees of rust eventually.
I am fairly sure that the most common treble hook we tend to find on many hard lures we might use is the Owner ST46, and by virtue of them being on so many lures one has to assume that numerous lure companies are buying them in bulk at bulk prices. I guess the same with whatever split rings as well. Business is business the world over. You know as well as I do that if you were asked to pay even more than some of these lures already cost to get much better quality treble hooks and split rings, well there comes a point where you ain't going to buy the thing. Hence "cheap" hooks and split rings, which let's face it tend to work ok for the fish we lure fish for.
I do though have a couple of DUO lures here that came rigged with treble hooks which take a lot, lot longer to show any signs of rust, and I think they are Gamakatsu SP-MH trebles. I have also found that some of the black nickel VMC hooks that come on a few Rapala lures I have tried seem to rust up a little slower than the Owner ST46 ones. Whatever the case, and however good those particular Gamakatsu SP-MH trebles seem to be, over some period of time they are going to show signs of wear and tear. It is what it is - fishing in saltwater. And I have tried those specialist single hooks, but they rusted out far too quickly for my liking and I gave up on them.
So there comes a time when you might need to think about replacing some of your trebles. If I need to then it's a few less for me because I have removed the middle treble hook on virtually every single hard lure of mine that is meant to be rigged with three sets, and for the life of me I can't notice any difference with hooking fish. I also crush every single barb flat, but then if you read this blog regularly you will know that I firmly believe in a barbless lure fishing approach. What trebles do you go for? Brands such as Decoy, Owner, Gamakatsu, VMC, Vanfook etc. all make good hooks, and I feel confident using recognised brands with trebles - personally I avoid any trebles that seem abnormally cheap and/or have that kind of cheap looking, very thin wire, bronzy sort of finish especially.
Vanfook DT-58S, size 6
There is a treble hook I have just started to use that I have really high hopes for - the Vanfook DT-58S. From my limited experience, Vanfook hooks are "fookin'" awesome (sorry, pathetic) and I have put a couple of DT-58S size 6 trebles on three hard lures to see how they last (7 hooks per packet). So far so good. It's just a feeling at the moment, but to me they look like a better overall hook compared to the standard Owner ST46. Time will tell, but I am liking them plenty so far. The reason I have heard of Vanfook hooks is because I know the thoroughly nice people at Lure Heaven who bring them into the UK, and again I must give credit to those smaller companies who work to make such good gear like this available to the likes of you and I. What, they need to make a profit out of it? Strike me down, surely not!!
Vanfook DT-58S, size 6
One thing though that niggles the hell out of me is when you buy an expensive hard lure and it's got properly crap hooks on there. I am not saying that Owner ST46 trebles are the world's best, but they do fine if you stop and think about it. Wow does it bug me that you've got two proven bass slayers in the Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 and the MegaBass Zonk 120 Gataride, and both lures come with perfectly rubbish treble hooks. I don't know what the respective manufacturers claim these lures are rigged with, but if you fancy your chances of tangling with decent bass then be warned - change them - because they sure as hell aren't the regular ST46 trebles I see on most other hard lures. Yes, I hear things like the Japanese anglers use longer rods and lighter lines than we do so they don't need such strong hooks - to which my reply is a word that means a male cow's poo. Garbage is garbage, and when you see hooks snapping on fish and snags then plain and simple there is something not right about them, at least not for the sort of fishing they are designed to be used for.
I would like to wish all you Welsh people the best of luck with the game on Sunday. OK, so that is a load of male cow's poo as well, because I'm lying. May it be an awesome game of rugby like it was against the Irish, but of course I don't wish any luck upon Wales on Sunday - and especially not after the painful drubbing we got last year. I am feeling confident that England have turned from boys into men this season, and I truly feel that we will turn Wales over on Sunday afternoon. Did I ever mention that we won the World Cup in 2003? Bring it on.