Replacement Treble Hooks for Lures

I have used quite a variety of treble hooks and continue to find uses for different types. I like round-bend, fine-wired hooks because they will pull straight more easily when caught on a snag. There might be a concern that they would straighten on a big pike but the force you could exert through a bent rod is is simply nowhere near enough to bend them, it requires a good prolonged pull directly on the braid to open them out. It certainly saves on lost lures. However, because of varying availability I do have a use for O'Shaughnessy bends as well.

Comparisons of hook sizes between different types of hooks is not straightforward, in fact it is virtually impossible! I have spoken to Mustad about hook sizes, and the reply was basically that hook shapes, gapes and shank lengths are specific to the type of hook being considered and within each manufacturer's ranges there are inconsistencies, a generalisation is that a short-shanked, round-bend treble will have a wider gape than a long-shanked O'Shaughnessy-bend treble, but that is about as far as it goes. O'Shaughnessy bends do give greater strength than round-bends (in the same wire gauge). In theory a long-shanked hook will give a better hold than a short-shank because the angle between the line and the point is closer. I have no evidence that this makes any practical difference at all in real fishing.

Changing the hooks on a lure can affect that lure's performance, on crankbaits lighter trebles will allow more wobble, but more importantly will increase the buoyancy. If buoyancy or sinking-rate is critical either use a heavier gauge split ring to compensate or even add another one or two free-swinging split rings to the hook hanger. On some big jerkbaits there is a tendency for some U.S. manufacturers to fit heavy-gauge hooks simply to reduce buoyancy. If you have bought the same lure several times over a long period (as you lose them) you may notice that the hooks change from time to time, manufacturers do not spend days working out which hook will most perfectly suit their lures - they buy the cheapest!

The difference in price between the cheapest and the most expensive trebles can have an unfortunate side-effect, a reluctance to cut them when pike are hooked awkwardly. If you can't afford to cut the treble free for a fast release you are putting your pocket before the pike's welfare. Cutting a hook should be a fast and simple decision based on the best outcome for the pike. So the very expensive hooks have limited uses in the larger sizes where cutting hooks is more often necessary. Always carry spare hooks with you, again this simplifies the decision to cut the hooks free.

VMC 9625PS

VMC 9625PS treble I have used these trebles in sizes 4,2,1,1/0 and 2/0 for some time, now I confine them to one special purpose, and that is as a rust-proof replacement hook on bucktails, they would also be suitable for replacements on sea lures. Also available in 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 but they are too thick in the wire in those sizes for pike. They are quite sharp out of the box but will sharpen more and hold their sharpness well. I would prefer a round bend but these O'Shaughnessy 2X PermaSteel (that is what the PS suffix means, it's a grey vanadium-type steel)trebles have proven excellent in use.

VMC 9649BZ

VMC 9649BZ Long-shanked round-bend treble with a sensible wire gauge, and quite cheap. Available up to size 5/0, and at that size a top choice for replacements on big lures. I find myself using this hook more and more as a replacement in sizes 1 to 5/0. Quite sharp from the box with a nice small barb that will flatten easily without breaking.
Also available in a much heavier wire as the VMC 9650.

Mustad 35647BR

Mustad 35647BR

Medium-shanked fine-wired treble, they need quite a lot of sharpening from new and the barbs are large, they must be filed down, trying to press them down results inevitably in one of the barbs breaking off. The quality control leaves something to be desired, about one in twenty has a point too short to sharpen that has to be thrown away. Despite that it is a useful hook where short shank is required.

Gamakatsu B13

Gamakatsu B13 treble

This is the best treble hook I've ever used. Short shank, fine wire, very strong, sharp from the box and with a tiny barb. But all this quality comes at a price, they are very expensive, the larger sizes are over 1 each in the UK. Available up to size 2/0 which has a generous gape. This is the best hook to use for stingers on soft plastics for jig fishing.

Owner ST-36BC

Owner ST-36BC treble

Short shank, fine wire and a small barb makes a very nice hook in a black chrome finish. I've not used them much because of the price but they are strong and light, similar to the Gamakatsu, they have performed well on a SuperShad. Available up to size 3/0.

December 2009

I'm slowly swapping the hooks on all my big lures to Gamakatsus or Owners. The bronze hooks are fine if you want to spend your life sharpening them, they blunt easily and the rust, the Permasteel VMCs hold their points quite well when properly sharp while you hardly have to touch the Gamakatsus or Owners. It's an expensive option but they are cheap enough compared to lures and sharpness matters, I don't hook so many big fish that I can afford to have a blunted hook result in a 'one that got away' story.