Upgrading your lure jewellery for better fishing results

Upgrading lure jewellery is a topic every angler should be aware of and there are a number of reasons why this is the case.

Firstly there is the wear and tear all hooks experience.  Most metal objects exposed to salt water begin to rust and corrode at some point and this obviously applies to the hooks and rings on the end of a lure.  Corroded hooks will be less likely to set in the mouth of a fish or they will be more likely to break under pressure given the weak points which now exist in the body of the hook.  The same applies to rusting split rings.  When these things occur they can only result in one thing - lost fish.

Another reason is that some lures come with cheap hardware and others come with hardware appropriate for a particular location or species.  If the lure is taken outside the boundaries this hardware is capable of then again the only thing that can be expected is to lose more fish due to straightened hooks and deformed rings.

 The rigors of samsonfish jigging will show which components are quality...
   Components not up to the quality of the fish you're chasing will end in tears - these did!

A third reason is because it offers the flexibility to start experimenting further with lures through customized hook selection.  For example it could involve dropping the middle hook and only fishing with a treble on the rear of the lure.  Or maybe it could mean leaving a treble in the middle and replacing the rear with a single hook.  Different hook placements and styles can bring different advantages to fishing and experimentation will find out what works best for what fish.


The rings connecting the hook to the lure are called split rings and a quick look at them will reveal why this is the case.  Split rings need to be hardy in order for them to effectively take the brunt of the twists, turns and overall pressure a hooked fish exerts on the lure.

To replace the rings the first requirement is a pair of split ring pliers.  The size of the pliers needs to be suitable for the size rings being changed.  Using a large pair of pliers on small rings will create difficulties in dividing the split ring and if it does happen there is a high likelihood the ring will be damaged.

When choosing the rings for the lure make sure they are small enough to pass comfortably through the eye of the hook and lure.  This will enable the hooks to swing unhindered when traveling through the water.  Once they have been fixed to the lure move it around, if it feels stiff and rigid then chances are the rings are too big.  The effect this will have on the lure is to disrupt the inbuilt action of the lure almost acting as a rudder instead of a free-flowing hook.


There are a number of things which should be taken into consideration when it comes to choosing which hooks to put on the lure.  This will ultimately have a positive or negative influence on hook up and retention rates.

Using different hook types can bring advantages and disadvantages to lure fishing.  Single hooks will always do less damage to the mouth of a fish, are cheaper to purchase, have a higher fish retention rate than trebles and are also lighter than trebles.  The main disadvantage is that it can be harder to get a strike as there is only one pointy bit looking to hook a fish instead of three. 

Reverse those advantages and disadvantages for the issues to consider with treble hooks - they do more damage, are more expensive, have lower retention rates and are heavier to use. On the flip side they are the best hook for getting strikes.

The shank of a hook is the section directly below the eye that extends to the main bend of the hook.  The length of a hook's shank can differ between brands and hook style.

 Some lures like the DIY Palmbait come with no hardware leaving all the decisions to you.
   Split rings and their pliers - don't try it with fingernails!

If replacing the hardware on a lure which contains two or more hook locations using longer shanked or oversized hooks can result in them latching together during casting or erratic retrieves.  When the hooks join it will severely disrupt the action of the lure often causing it to rise up through the water and start skipping across the surface.

Also when a fish goes in to nail the lure it's going to go for the body, therefore the greater the distance between the hook point and the lure body the less likely it is that the attack is going to result in a solid successful hookup.

Longer hooks will also have more weight which will again influence the action of the lure.

Once the hardware has been attached to the lure do a test to see if it's possible to link the hooks together.  If it is then they may need to be downsized, but keep in mind that at certain times and with certain lures it may be unavoidable without going to hooks which are too small for the lure and the fish being targeted. 

Another consideration is the hook gauge.  The gauge of a hook refers to the thickness of the wire the hook is made from.  Thinner gauge hooks tend to be used for fish with softer mouths while heavy gauge hooks are used for heavy duty fish with hard mouths.

When choosing the right hook gauge consider the type of fish being targeted and select accordingly.  Going too heavy may see you applying more weight to the lure than it was built for and hence altering the action of the lure or result in missed strikes because the hook is too bulky to pin the fish.  Going too light will result in straightened hooks.

One final thing to keep in mind is thinking about crushing the barbs on the hooks (or using barbless hooks), particularly when using trebles, as these can leave the mouth of a fish looking like it has brushed its teeth with a lawn mower.  While this is not as relevant when fishing for the table, if it is catch and release fishing you are doing then there is a high likelihood of releasing a fish with its ability to feed being greatly reduced.

So with these things in mind hopefully you are more equipped for upgrading lure jewellery and can get about minimizing the number of fish lost due to corroding, cheap or inappropriate lure hardware.

Written by Ben Derecki for Seabreeze.


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