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How to make crankbaits safer but still reliable?


5 replies to this topic

#1 Betta132

Betta132
  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:27 PM

How can I reduce the injury/swallow rate on crankbaits and other hard baits? I've seen people replace the trebles with circle hooks, does that work? Can you still catch stuff on those?

Is there such a thing as a circle-treble hook? 

Any other things I can try? I've seen lures with a treble in the front and a single in the back.


Edited by Betta132, 15 July 2015 - 01:32 PM.


#2 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:51 PM

I can't think of a way.  Pinching barbs and increasing hook size may help, but only of you're targeting species that can swallow the crankbait.  If you're using a small crankbait that is perfect for catching sunnies, and a big 5 pound largemouth engulfs the crankbait down the gullet, then there isn't much you can do except try for as clean of a release as possible.

 

I guess you could try single hooks and that might help with a cleaner release, but I don't think you can prevent a fish from swallowing them.

 

Musky and pike are notorious for being delicate when it comes to unhooking and releasing them.  Most anglers that target them use large nets and don't bring the fish into the boat, using the net as a temporary livewell to help the survival by keeping the fish in the water.  If they're hooked in a dangerous manner, then most dedicated musky anglers use something to cut the hook point and remove the hook (and try to remove the point if possible).  Protecting their slime coat, minimizing the amount in "captivity" to reduce stress, and minimizing time out of the water along with ample release/recovery time vastly improve their survival rates.

 

I have come to learn that replacement hooks are far cheaper than lures.  This is especially true with musky tackle, but for smaller species, with the prices of crankbaits now-a-days, it might be worth having some wire cutters along to aid in the release, cut the hook if possible, and replace the hooks later.


Kevin Wilson


#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 15 July 2015 - 07:15 PM

Single barbless hooks. That is about it. Really unless you use natural or live bait, you rarely hook a fish deeper than the mouth. Single hooks should make the release easier.The best thing you can do, in my opinion is have a pair of forceps ready, so you do not have to dig around looking for them.

 

 Circle hooks do not work well if you "set" the hook. You should just tighten up the line, with a very slight jerk. Not sure if that will work well with a crankbait. Might work fine. I have a feeling though that they will not work that well. They are made to be hooked into live or natural bait at the end of a flexible line. Put a piece of rigid wood or plastic in the mix, and it may make it difficult for the circle hook to do its job properly.

 

Fish generally gulp an artificial lure and in less than a second realize that it is not food and try to spit it out. I don't understand how you can be having a problem with them actually swallowing a crankbait. Usually the problem is the opposite, our reaction time is not quick enough to set the hook before the fish spits it. Are you spraying attractant scents on them? I do however understand the problem you may be having with treble hooks. Longer thin baits like a Rapala have that treble hook at the tail, and they are long enough to hook fairly deep. Along with single barbless hooks you might want to try shorter lures.

 

 Relax and desensitize a bit. The best and most devout catch and release anglers still occasionally lose a fish. Realize when the fish is too far gone, and take it to the frying pan. After all catch and release is fairly new (relatively speaking) in the world of angling, throughout time the main focus was putting food on the table.

 

  I still advocate flies. I have great success and have killed very few fish unintentionally with them. If you do not want to learn to fly fish there is always Tenkara, or casting bubbles.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#4 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 15 July 2015 - 09:35 PM

I've never had problems with fish swallowing cranks before. However there are "circle trebles" put there I've seen, not really circle hooks but more like curved trebles with really wide gaps.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#5 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 15 July 2015 - 10:00 PM

I've never had problems with fish swallowing cranks before. However there are "circle trebles" put there I've seen, not really circle hooks but more like curved trebles with really wide gaps.

Seems like these would have to be huge? I have never seen them but thinking of the concept, they must be pretty large overall.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#6 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 16 July 2015 - 09:44 AM

I witnessed a pure strain musky inhale a 12" glider (not a crankbait, but a hard bait with 3 large trebles) half way down it's gullet (with the back treble ingested).  We had to use jaw spreaders and pliers to keep the jaw open enough while avoiding getting my buddy's hand sliced to get the hook cutter in deep enough to cut the hooks.  We were able to successfully free the bait, and got two of the three hook points out.  My buddy's hand took a few cuts from a head shake, and he took the worst of the encounter as the fish swam away freely.

 

I've had bass in the four pound range engulf a 1/2 oz. Rat-L-Trap and take them deep before.  Of course, their mouths are much easier to work with to free the hook.

 

Now, when I think "swallowed", I'm not talking swallowed completely, but just least partly into the gullet.  I've never seen a crankbait completely swallowed.

 

And I agree with Matt too, angling by nature will result in a fish lost now and then despite our best efforts to avoid it (when catch and release is the objective).  It will happen, don't worry too much about it.  If it's legal size and edible, enjoy the meal, otherwise, the racoons, eagles, crawdads and catfish need to eat too.


Kevin Wilson




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