Do Single Hooks Affect a Lure's Action?
There are probably a lot of lure anglers that want to know if replacing the treble hooks that come as standard on the majority of hardbaits with single hooks will affect the lure's action. The simple answer is yes but, and there always seems to be a 'but', how much and to the lure's detriment or not?
That last part of the question might be a bit surprising and I will deal with it later; but in the meantime whilst the majority of lures have no discernible difference in their action at all, there are definitely lures that will not swim at all well with single hooks, for instance the Tackle House Feed Shallow 105 retrieves like a small piece of driftwood when rigged with single hooks. Another is the Payo Shohoku - a great lure with an incredible action provided that you keep the original trebles on it.
For those of you that want some good reasons for switching to singles you can read a previous blog here.
I'm not the kind of guy that is satisfied with standard issue stuff or is like a sheep and has a 'follow the crowd' mentality. I like to think out of the box and apply alternatives to run of the mill situations. Okay I could keep the original trebles on my lures and be a happy camper - but that's not me and anyway where's the fun in that. It's only when you start to think differently that new horizons open up and better ways of doing things are found. Where would us lure guys be if others before us hadn't thought differently and experimented with new ideas?
So getting back to the point: After having to fish with the Shallow Feed 105 and its trebles and not enjoying being a sheep nor the thought that I was stuck with things the way they were, I decided to put some thought to the matter. It seems that the Feed Shallow 105 is dependent on the drag and weight that the trebles provide to give the lure its action.
So I dug out a couple of trebles that were one size larger than the originals (which are a #3) and set to work. I first took a pair of pliers and carefully bent one of the prongs so that it would hang straight when attached to the lure and then cut off the two other prongs and ground them down carefully using a small grinder. I then coated the cut parts of the hook with epoxy glue to prevent premature corrosion. I weighed both lures, as the point of the exercise was to give back the lure the weight (and hopefully the drag) that the single hooks couldn't provide and with the modified trebles the lure had gained 0.5 of a gram - so far so good.
Tackle House Feed Shallow 105 with Modified Hooks
So how does the modified Feed Shallow 105 swim? Pretty good! I took two of them to our kibbutz swimming pool to test them. One had the original #3 trebles and the other the modified #2 trebles that you can see in the photo above.
The original one had, as expected, a good steady side-to-side head-rolling action whilst the modified one with the cut trebles also had the same side-to-side head-rolling action but was not as steady as its counterpart (probably due to the lack of drag that only one of three prongs provide). This you might think would be a negative feature. Not at all - on a slightly faster retrieve the modified lure started to swim randomly erratic when it would suddenly dart to the left or to the right still whilst continuing with its trademark head-roll. I immediately saw a frightened baitfish not knowing which way to turn in its frantic effort to evade being eaten. This was a real eye-opener and I was excited to get out onto the reefs to try it anew.
Okay so the downside is that in rougher conditions it might become unstable and not swim as it should but when I did take it to the reefs, on a morning when there was a decent swell running, I didn't notice any problems at all. I didn't catch anything on it but then I didn't catch anything on the other lures I tried either - our part of the Mediterranean Sea is quite over-fished so blanks are unfortunately quite a common occurrence.
Ima/Duo Nabarone Slim with Single Hooks
Out of interest I tried a similar experiment with two Ima/Duo Naborone Slims that I recently bought. Again the one with the original trebles had a great action and was very steady in the water even on a fast retrieve but the single hooked one had a far more impressive action. At a slow to medium speed retrieve it was very similar to the trebled hooked one but up the speed a little and the lure starts to have this characteristic similar to the modified Feed Shallow 105 in that it would randomly dart either to the left or to the right whilst still keeping its normal action. It would even jump a few millimeters out of the water every so often if the retrieve speed was increased a bit more. So realistic of a fleeing baitfish that it impressed me that much that I even wrote to Ima about my observations - and got a nice reply saying that my email would be forwarded to their testing team - who said "Don't rock the boat."?
So, do single hooks affect hardbaits? Sometimes yes - and for the better!