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New salt water single inline hooks are a win-win for anglers and fish

By Staff | Feb 4, 2021

Capt. George Tunison

Each year we see more new salt water hard plastic lures being equipped with single inline hooks rather than treble hooks. The excellent Rapala Coastal Series twitch baits are a good example. I’m sure soft tissue mouthed fish like seatrout that readily bite small crankbaits and top waters and, that often suffer bad wounds from the treble hooks are happy about this direction as well.

Due to the long shape of a snooks head, eye and gill location and their fondness for long minnow style hard baits usually equipped with three sets of trebles, one of those three treble hooks often causes unnecessary eye or gill damage.

There is a mathematical argument to be made that by going from a two treble hooked lure with six hook points to the same lure with two single hooks, you’ve reduced your hook-up potential on the strike. On the other hand from personal experience I do know once a single in-line hook finds a good hold the fish rarely throws the hook.

With plentiful fish like seatrout losing a few isn’t a big deal anyway and, single hooks makes catch and release a breeze.

VMC makes really sharp saltwater grade inline single hooks in the popular sizes if you want to replace some trebles on a few of your favorite hard lures. Packs of 5, retail for three dollars. Try to match the physical size of the treble you’re replacing so as to not throw off the balance of the lure.

Winter waters usually calls for slowed retrieves, lighter lines, and, soft plastics. A top cold water period lure is the fake shrimp. These days the angler has a ton of choices when it comes to this all-time classic bait, after all human and fish alike, most love shrimp.

Probably the most well-known is the DOA brand which has been fooling fish for many, many, years. They come in a newer 2.75” size as well as the standard 3 – 4 and even 6″ size in a huge variety of colors. Not sure on color? Always try the glow color first. Can be fished right out of the package or rigged in a variety of other ways. For example; I often cut off the tail and fish them backwards on a jig head or again backwards, Texas rigged in weedy or brushy conditions. A Texas rigged (buried hook – You Tube)) DOA or GULP shrimp is a great choice for skip casting under limbs and far back under docks.

LIVETARGET makes the most realistic of all the shrimp imitators while GULP makes their hugely popular scented brand. Other companies like Crème and Tsunami, make DOA knock-offs that will work. The most realistic swimming action comes from the segmented shrimp brands. The Savage Gear Manic Shrimp is slowly becoming a favorite in my box. Other realistic action segmented shrimp lures are made by Storm and Z-MAN. 

Fished alone with a super slow retrieve along the bottom or dangling enticingly below a float, the plastic shrimp is an important part of your inshore cold weather presentation.

This month take the time to inspect your boat lift and perform that maintenance you’ve been putting off. Inspect cables for rust or frays. Don’t take chances with questionable cables, replace them.  2-3 times a year use a lubricant and wipe them down. Level your lift and closely inspect all pulleys for damage and insure free movement. Grease all fittings with a grease gun. Many dock contractors recommend servicing grease fittings only with the boat off the lift.

Hose it off with fresh water. 

Inspect all electrical wiring to and on the dock and replace any damaged deck boards before someone gets injured. Now is also a good time to think about installing security lighting and a security system on the dock and/or in the boat to help prevent theft. Hidden kill switches and onboard GPS tracking devices are a plus.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.