weekendwarrior

How to reduce C&R damage from plugs

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With all of the talk of C&R mortality for striped bass, I’ve been thinking a lot about the danger of treble hooks.  The thing is, I enjoy throwing plugs much more than jigs.  
 

I saw a video online from John Skinnner in which he swapped out his treble hooks for single hooks on a plug( spook I think).  He then proceeded to drop most fish that he hooked.  
 

I’ve also heard that some people cut two hooks off of trebles that come on custom plugs to try to keep the action unchanged.  
 

So here are my questions.  
1. Do you think swapping out trebles for single hooks cuts the catch rate significantly?  

2. does it sound reasonable to cut two hook points off of a treble?

3. How do you know on a treble which points to cut off?

 

Thank you all in advance.  
 

Ed

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The Skinner video was where he changed out the trebles for "in line" hooks. I'm not sure that equates to conventional "single" hooks.

Marc

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Get a hook removal tool.  The type that you can push down on and grab the hook.  It has saves more little blues than bass for me.  I rarely use my pliers now.  

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I have to say that my experience with inline singles on top water plugs is not consistent with Mr Skinners. In his video he fights each fish for a little while before coming unbuttoned. While I admit to a slightly higher than average missed fish on the strike with inlines my personal experience is that once they are hooked they typically stay hooked until landed. Now I don’t know what size inlines Mr Skinner used by I always try to use the largest size that doesn’t effect action. 

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I’m sure that inline single hooks will result in more lost fish.

If you want to reduce hook damage to fish I’ll suggest that you crush down the barbs on your treble hooks. 
Barbless hooks usually don’t cause as much damage to fish as barbed hooks do and it certainly makes unhooking a fish much easier.

I do believe that going barbless will also result in having more lost fish but that’s the price you’ll have to pay for being a good steward to our fishing resource.

A final benefit to barbless hooks and the real reason I started crushing my own barbs is that, in the event you drive a hook into your own skin, it will be a whole lot easier to work it out of yourself if there’s no barb keeping it in. I learned that one the hard way...ouch!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have left front trebles in place and changed rear trebles to a single dressed of equal weight to the treble removed . 99% of stripers will be on the head hook , a rear treble can cause a lot of damage to the eye area and surrounding tissue . This setup works out well for me . Any 3 treble plugs i rig with a larger front treble and a single rear of larger size .

Edited by giant basshole

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The biggest issue isn't the hooks or the plugs it's how one deals with the fish from hookup to release.

Fight and land the fish quickly. A long fight greatly reduces the chance that the fish will survive after release. So many guys are obsessed with ultra light gear. I say scrap that, fish appropriately heavy gear and learn how to use your drag to quickly put the breaks to a fish. I'm happy when I land a green, pissed off fish because I know it wasn't exhausted by the fight.

Secondly learn how to handle and quickly unhook a fish. Carry the right tools, whether that be a good pair of pliers, a dehooker, boga or plastic lip gripper. Carry these on your belt and get familiar with your tools position on you so you can quickly access them in less than ideal conditions. Say in heavy surf or on a dark night. Regardless of what belt configuration I'm running I'll always have my pliers and my boga in the same location, and I can access them with my eyes closed. 

As for unhooking the fish do your best to keep it in the water and try to work quickly. Don't be that guy dragging schoolies through the sand to above the high water mark while they flop and gasp. Use a gripper, or appropriately lip the fish by its jaws to control it. Avoid the gills and absolutely don't kneel of step on it to control it.

If you want pictures before you release plan accordingly. I set my phones camera appropriately beforehand (5 second timer, flash, adjust for darkness and weather, etc). In this way I can set up my phone, settings already good to go and have the fish out of the water for a total of 10 seconds.

Finally take your time releasing the fish, hold it in the water, moving water past its gills and "work with the fish" until it's good to go. Let it dictate when its ready to go, it should fight and kick to be released. An extra few seconds spent reviving a fish can make all the difference.

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1 hour ago, Sandbar1 said:

The biggest issue isn't the hooks or the plugs it's how one deals with the fish from hookup to release.

Fight and land the fish quickly. A long fight greatly reduces the chance that the fish will survive after release. So many guys are obsessed with ultra light gear. I say scrap that, fish appropriately heavy gear and learn how to use your drag to quickly put the breaks to a fish. I'm happy when I land a green, pissed off fish because I know it wasn't exhausted by the fight.

Secondly learn how to handle and quickly unhook a fish. Carry the right tools, whether that be a good pair of pliers, a dehooker, boga or plastic lip gripper. Carry these on your belt and get familiar with your tools position on you so you can quickly access them in less than ideal conditions. Say in heavy surf or on a dark night. Regardless of what belt configuration I'm running I'll always have my pliers and my boga in the same location, and I can access them with my eyes closed. 

As for unhooking the fish do your best to keep it in the water and try to work quickly. Don't be that guy dragging schoolies through the sand to above the high water mark while they flop and gasp. Use a gripper, or appropriately lip the fish by its jaws to control it. Avoid the gills and absolutely don't kneel of step on it to control it.

If you want pictures before you release plan accordingly. I set my phones camera appropriately beforehand (5 second timer, flash, adjust for darkness and weather, etc). In this way I can set up my phone, settings already good to go and have the fish out of the water for a total of 10 seconds.

Finally take your time releasing the fish, hold it in the water, moving water past its gills and "work with the fish" until it's good to go. Let it dictate when its ready to go, it should fight and kick to be released. An extra few seconds spent reviving a fish can make all the difference.

Nailed it! :howdy:

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Never considered it until someone else said it. Now, I always have a plan for how to release the fish before I catch it. And I won't cast if I don't have a spot I can at least reach into the water to land, and to revive, the fish. Just seems like the right way to go about it, to me.

 

 

 

 

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20 mins ago, Livefreeordie said:

Never considered it until someone else said it. Now, I always have a plan for how to release the fish before I catch it. And I won't cast if I don't have a spot I can at least reach into the water to land, and to revive, the fish. Just seems like the right way to go about it, to me.

 

 

 

 

Very true, this is a perfect example of the importance of both forethought and having the appropriate gear to safely and quickly land a fish.

If I find myself fishing a Jetty, breachway or boulder field my first thought is to always find a good position to land a fish from. This doesn't necessarily have to be the spot you cast and work your offering from but you need to be able to quickly access it in the event you hook a fish. If I can't find a good landing zone I'll move on until I'm confident I have an accessible spot to land a fish.

A major factor here is having the appropriate gear. Apart from the previously mentioned pliers and grippers, I'll add a spikes and in my case usually a wetsuit to the list.

Spikes apart from the obvious safety benefits allow you to quickly move down the rocks to a point close to the water and work with confidence on a rock that may be getting washed over by surf or slippery with weed or algae. Being able to concentrate on a quick release rather than on staying put on your rock can make all the difference to both you and the fish.

I've also found a wetsuit to be a helpful piece of gear in a variety of situations and apart from the very early or late season I usually wear one even if I'm not actively swimming. A wetsuit allows me to work "on the fishes level" during the unhooking and revving process. I've also found it much much easier to navigate my way up and down the rocks in a wetsuit as opposed to waders. And I'm not afraid of getting my waders swamped while bending down to control or release a bass.

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Want to save more fish? Use appropriate gear. I'd bet more fish perish due to guys wanting to fish "light tackle" than being hooked in the gills. 

 

 

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In my experience, inlines work absolutely fine on plugs that aren't pencil poppers, or don't have belly swivels. I still have some plugs with a belly treble, but I no longer use plugs with more than one treble.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Use proper gear, crush barbs, lose tail hooks (especially trebles), have pliers/hook remover on you (or close), so you don't have to waste time, and don't take the fish out of the water.  

 

Don't be afraid to get wet and help the fish revive before releasing.  

Edited by TLap21

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I had never considered this until now: If there's a belly hanger, instead of a swivel, it could be that an inline stays in place to hook the fish better. 

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