Single Hooks for Rapalas and Lures
Rapalas and similar lures are the bait of choice for many spinning enthusiasts, they work well and have a long established track record but the problem with them is the damage and difficulties their hooks cause when being removed from a fish.
Although it's unusual for fish to take both of the trebles on a lure it does happen which can cause a high degree of damage and a prolonged spell of unhooking. Even a single treble hook can be very difficult to remove from a fish, particularly if two of its hooks have lodged inboth the upper and lower jaws.
Club rules and national bylaws demand the return of undersized fish, the release of all salmon prior to June 16th, the return of all sewin after August and the return of any coloured salmon, consequently many of the fish we hook must be returned.
A steep decline in the number of migratory fish over recent years and changes in anglers attitudes to killing fish generally has made the majority of anglers less inclined to retain their catch so it makes sense for more consideration to be given to the type of tackle we use with regard to enabling returned fish to have the very best chance of surviving. Moving away from using treble hooks can help us to achieve that goal.
Replacing trebles with single hooks
There are a few different ways to configure a lure to suit the change from single to treble hooks, here are a couple of examples -
Single hooks move more freely if fitted to the lure with a pair of split rings.
Make sure the rings you use allow the hook to pivot easily, if the cut ends of the rings meet or overlap the hook will not move freely.
Be careful to make sure the split ring the hook's fixed to is larger than the split ring attached to the lure, a smaller ring can become jammed.
If you feel the lure's movement has been compromised by the removal of the treble hook additional weight can be added using lead free beads superglued onto the hook shank - using lead wire is not permitted.
A quick-release lure
Smaller lures can be fished with a single hook which, according to many anglers, is best sited in the middle of the lure. The set up illustrated below allows the lure to slide up the line after a fish is hooked, having this property lessens the chance of the lure acting as lever to dislodge the hook from the fishor as an obstruction during unhooking. It's probably the best way to ensure a fish that's been caught with a lure is rapidly returned to the water with a minimum of delay. Naturally if you're more confident having the hook at the rear of the lure then go ahead, the same set up holds good for that configuration
To get the line to run centrally a hole has to be made in the diving vane with some heated wire
The line's threaded through the newly made hole and through a split ring attached to the lure
To ensure the hook's not pulled through the split ring on the lure rendering it useless fit yet another split ring to the hook taking care to ensure the ring on the hook's the same size or larger than that on the lure
Again, if the lure requires any additional weight to restore its original movement non toxic beads can easily be fitted to the hook or the lure itself.
The lure below has the weights tied on by a bit of line.
Once you've got used to replacing your treble hooks you'll find it much easier to fish without the incredibly snag prone trebles and that your hook-up rate will either remain the same or increase due to the tendency of singles to get lodged in the scissors.
Replacing hooks - as you've probably noticed - relies on the use of split rings, a practice that can be easily applied to Mepps' and Flying C's.
Adapting these lures will require the use of strong pliers to cut through the eye of the treble then it's a simple matter - yes, you guessed - of using the split ring. These lures work better with an "Aberdeen" style hook. Careful when adapting older Flying c's, the rubber can be fairly delicate and buying in a spare or two before starting can save you some grief.
Now you've seen a few examples why not try using lures fitted with single hooks this season and help to protect our fragile stock of wild fish. Game anglers have a long way to go before they catch up with the carp and barbel anglers who see the welfare of any fish they catch as paramount and as such carry very large landing nets and fish friendly unhooking mats - perhaps there's a lesson there for us to consider in our branch of the sport.
Photos and text - Colin Chapman