Replacing Treble Hooks on Fishing Lures

Every angler has their favorite hard lure to use when fishing for trophy fish. But the more you use a lure, or the more often you sharpen a hook, the …

Every angler has their favorite hard lure to use when fishing for trophy fish. But the more you use a lure, or the more often you sharpen a hook, the more chances you run into for that lure and its hooks becoming rusted or broken.

Luckily, there is no reason to throw away your favorite lure when the hooks become damaged. You can replace those hooks with new treble hooks or even switch it up to inline single hooks if you prefer.

Let’s take a closer look at how to select replacement hooks, and how to get them attached. We’ll also compare the pros and cons of replacing treble hooks with inline single hooks on your favorite lure.

Replacing Rusted or Broken Trebles

Three-pointed treble hooks are extremely common on hard lures, but over time these hooks can become broken, rusted, or bent. This can be due to rough handling in the tackle box, or when using the wrong sized lure with a larger species of fish.

If you fish in saltwater, rust can happen very quickly as well. It’s one of the biggest downsides to fishing in saltwater conditions, and is often why many saltwater anglers go through tackle much quicker than freshwater focused anglers. 

When your treble hooks become damaged, instead of going out and buying an entirely new lure you can choose to replace the hooks individually. The process is rather simple, and only a few basic tools are needed.

What you Need

  • A good pair of split Ring pliers
  • Extra split rings
  • Needle nose pliers
  • New treble hooks

Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Use the needle nose pliers to get a good strong grip on the hook. You want to ensure the grip is tight since you will be moving the hooks and lures around, and putting pressure on other areas of the setup. The last thing you want is for the hook to slip and catch into your skin.

Step 2

Use the split ring pliers to open the ring that is currently holding the damaged or rusted fishing hook onto the lure. Most split ring pliers will be able to open and crimp split rings so you can use the same tool for two different tasks. 

Step 3

Once the original split ring has been opened, remove the fishing hook from the lure and place it aside. You will also be removing the old split rings as well. At this point, you want to grab a new split ring and place it on the front hook eyelet that is attached to the lure.

Step 4

Select one of your new treble hooks and place it on the open split ring that is hanging from the front hook area of the lure. Ensure the fishing hook is the same size and weight as the hook you removed, otherwise you may run into balance issues.
Crimp the split ring closed and ensure it is tight and straight without any bends or gaps where it was closed. From this point, you will repeat the steps to add multiple hooks to the lure as you move to the rear hook position.

Choosing Replacement Trebles

Two common materials used for very good hooks are stainless steel and high-carbon steel, but some manufacturers use a custom mix of metals.

When replacing a treble hook with another treble hook, your biggest concern should be the balance of the overall lure. The treble hooks are perfectly sized and weighed by the manufacturer to provide a fishing lure that is well balanced and glides through the water with ease.

When you replace treble hooks, if you use a larger size or heavier gauge of wire in the new fishing hooks, the balance can be disrupted. The lure might not glide through the water, could go nose down, or might create too much noise that scares fish away instead of attracting them.

In addition, consider the density of the wire when you replace treble hooks. Some fishing hooks may be the same size, but could be made with a denser wire. In some rare cases, the front hook might weigh less than the tail hook since the manufacturer is trying to get a unique and natural balance of the lure in the water.

Two common materials used for very good hooks are stainless steel and high-carbon steel, but some manufacturers will use a custom mix of metals in their hook creation. Each material type can have slightly different densities and weights overall so be mindful of this when selecting replacement hooks.

Replacing Trebles Hooks with Single Hooks

Why do it? Advantages of Single Hooks over Trebles

It’s not uncommon to hear from anglers that have decided to remove perfectly good treble hooks from their favorite fishing lures and replace the treble hooks with single hooks. But why are single hooks on hard lures becoming a more accepted practice when you want to catch more fish?

Longevity can play a big role. Three-point hooks will often touch the body of the lure when being pulled through the water, leading to damage to the lure or the paint coverage. A single hook is pointed off to the side, so even when moving erratically through the water, the pointed tips won’t be damaging your lure body.

Another reason to replace two trebles is to get a good hook set. While a treble hook offers three hook points on multiple hooks to catch fish, they can be difficult for smaller or softer mouth fish to grab. Single inline hooks are much less intimidating and easier for soft mouth fish such as salmon, snook, redfish, and trout to grab.

Most anglers also love the fact that single hooks get hung up in weeds much less than treble hooks with multiple hook points do. While there are still snagging issues with single inline hooks when targeting redfish holding in thick cover, it won’t be nearly as often.

In fact, when fishing in the fall months, leaves in the water will rarely be gathered on inline single hooks but seem to be hooking on every point of a treble hook.

And finally, less noise. While some noise is wanted for some fish species, treble hooks can be obnoxiously loud in the water and will scare timid fish away. Single hooks are much quieter on topwater lures and create less vibrations when suspending lures which makes them perfect when fishing for suspicious or heavily pressured fish.

Choosing Single Hooks to Use for Treble Hook Replacement

Replacing a three-point hook with an inline single hook is done in the same way as replacing a treble with another treble.

Similar to selecting a replacement treble hook, when looking for the right single hook the weight is your biggest concern. Inline single hooks with large eyelet holes are specifically made for placing on hard baits, so you can easily identify these hooks in your local tackle shop.

Due to this larger eyelet, wider gap, and somewhat thicker gauge wire, the single hooks may end up being heavier than they look. As a general rule, this works out well since it won’t be difficult to find two single hooks that weigh the same as two three-point hooks.

Always be sure the weight of the two hooks is identical as well. Even a small measure of weight off on the inline single hook can make one end of the lure hang low in the water and will disrupt the glide when being retrieved or trolled.

How to Replace A Treble Hook with a Single Hook

Replacing a three-point hook with an inline single hook is done in the same way as replacing a treble with another treble. You will be using the same tools, and taking the same four step process to ensure your single hooks are hanging from the lure correctly.

Always ensure both single hooks have their points facing in the same direction and have been installed at the same angle. This not only improves the streamline effect on the lure, but ensures you get a clean hookup from fish such as snook and redfish that strike the lure with speed and aggression.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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