Switching Out Trebles - The Fisherman

Switching Out Trebles

Changing out trebles for single hooks can benefit both the fish and angler.

Regardless of whether you’re a surf rat, or patrol the canyons on a sport fishing boat, switching out treble hooks has many advantages.


trip to the emergency room
Messing with trebles can result in a trip to the emergency room. Photo by Kirk Fay.

Treble hooks work! They work so well they often hook anglers and account for most reported fishing accidents. Anglers unhooking fish and having the second treble snag them, or being hooked by an errant cast are the two most reported incidents of anglers being hooked. Replacing those trebles with inline single hooks dramatically decreases the odds of these and other accidents. And more importantly, they are better for the fish. Unhooking and releasing is much easier and quicker, and many times the extra hooks will cut into the fish, causing unnecessary injuries. If your desired lure only comes with treble hooks it is an easy process to switch them out.


hook size to lure
Matching the hook size to lure is crucial. Notice these Owner 5/0 hooks are in opposing directions. Cuda Offshore Split Ring Pliers simplify the process.

You need the right tool for the job. Split ring pliers are a must. There are many sizes and types. It’s good to have at least two sizes, one for smaller split rings, and a larger pair for big rings. Cuda’s Offshore Pliers are optimal for the larger rings. You want the ring (spring) to open, but when you’re done it should fully close and lay flat. The wrong size pliers will compromise the ring and leave it slightly open, which is asking for trouble and tangles. Smaller pliers for smaller rings will prevent this from occurring. Don’t try to save time by taking off a hook and adding one simultaneously. This will pry the ring open more and result in it not closing properly. If you have the correct size pliers the process is simple, and there is no need to try to take short cuts. When removing the treble hooks, keep the lure away from your body, and be mindful of the dangling hook. You can wrap the trebles in painters’ tape to ensure no snags or scratches occur.

Terminal Tackle

Use pliers to take off hook
No short cuts. Use pliers to take off hook and put a new one on separately to ensure you don’t deform the split ring.

Inline hooks are a must. They should be set opposing one another. Belly hook down, tail hook up (see picture). This ensures the lure swims as designed and increases hook ups. If both hooks face the same direction, they may both miss when a strike occurs. Owner split rings and inline hooks are the industry standard. Their 3x hooks are easy to work with and are very strong. They will most likely out last the lure. Make sure you select the proper size and strength hooks. I use the strongest hooks on everything. The added weight will bring you closer to the original specs of the lure. You never know what you will hook, so why not have the best opportunity to land it? I have heard through the grapevine that Owner will offer an improved stronger 4x option this fall.


different sized hooks
Three different sized hooks for different sized lures.

Open the split ring with the proper size pliers. Position the hook eye in the opening. Once the hook eye is in the opening you can remove the pliers and start to work it in a circle until it comes off (like removing a key from a key ring). Open the ring again with the pliers and reverse the process to add the new hook. Be sure to remember proper opposing hook alignment (belly down tail up).



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