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Big Hooks are Better

By: Mark Romanack

Premium baits like the PWC cost a little more, but they come ready to fish right out of the package with factory supplied premium hooks, hardware and finishes.

​ More than 30 years of fishing professionally has taught me a thing or two about fish hooks. A fish hook is the only thing preventing a fish from escaping, yet most anglers never give hooks a second thought. The majority of anglers simply fish whatever hook comes on a lure.

​ The dirty little secret of the fishing industry is that most manufacturers cut corners when it comes to the hooks selected for their lures. Why? Because premium quality hooks cost money, lots more money than the run of the mill hooks.


​ In general, most lures come equipped with not only low quality hooks, but hooks that are typically too small for the job. Here’s a classic example that involves the iconic Jigging Rapala glide bait. This popular winter and open water lure comes standard with a surprisingly small and nearly useless treble hook. Anglers in the know switch out the treble hook that comes standard with a replacement that’s one or even two sizes larger to increase the hook up ratio of this classic lure.

​So why does a big manufacturer like Rapala make such a rookie mistake when it comes to manufacturing these lures? Your guess is as good as mine, but once a bait goes into production it’s rare to see a manufacturer admit a mistake or make changes.

​ We shouldn’t pick on Rapala because there are dozens of other popular brands and lure models that make exactly the same mistake. The solution is simple, but it’s surprising how few anglers take the time to right this wrong.

​ At Fishing 411 TV we carry a good supply of our favorite hooks in varying sizes. Even before a lure hits the water for the first time, we have typically replaced one or more of the factory hooks with a larger and better quality hook.

This shot clearly shows the two oversize wide bend hooks that come standard on the PWC from Bill Lewis. Oversize hooks just do a better job of sticking and holding onto walleye and other fish species.


​A lot of anglers buy into the idea that many lures are better equipped to hook and land fish if the factory hook is replaced with a larger hook. The problem is, sometimes enthusiastic anglers take this theory too far.

​Our rule of thumb at Fishing 411 TV regarding re-hooking baits is simple. Most of the time the ideal hook is a model that’s one size larger than the factory supplied hook. So if a crankbait comes standard with a No. 6 hook, upgrading to a No. 4 hook is in most cases going to be the best decision.

​In rare cases, select lures can handle hooks that are two or even three times larger than the factor supplied hook. Typically these are baits with a very aggressive action that do well supporting large hooks.

​The concern here is that if the hook is too large the action of the lure can be altered in a negative way. If you are not sure what hook size is best, stick with the idea that upgrading to hooks one size larger is solid advice.


​Another interesting topic is the question of why so many crankbaits come equipped with three treble hooks? More is not necessarily better when it comes to fish hooks. Lures like crankbaits that feature three hooks often lead to fish that escape needlessly. The problem is with three hooks, the fish gains leverage that often ends with the fish tearing free and escaping.

​Anyone who has spent much time on the floor of the boat trying to get a crankbait untangled from the net knows that third hook is not only unnecessary, it’s literally a guarantee the bait will get tangled in the net.

​Most crankbaits are at their best when equipped with two, instead of three treble hooks. When Jake and I designed the Precise Walleye Crank for Bill Lewis, we were adamant that the bait should come to market with only two treble hooks. We selected two oversized No. 2 wide bend style hooks for the PWC. The feedback we are getting from other anglers is they are amazed how few fish they lose when fishing the PWC. The big hooks do an excellent job of sticking fish and the hooks are far enough apart that the fish simply can’t leverage one hook against the other to escape.


​In this world we get what we pay for. When premium lures hit the market, anglers are often quick to complain about the price. Building a quality fishing lure and equipping that lure with premium hardware and hooks costs money.

​When you’re shopping for fishing lures, keep this idea in mind. I judge fishing lures not on their price, but on how well they perform. I’ll gladly pay a little more for lures that consistency put fish in the boat. To me that’s money well spent.


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