Upgrade your treble hooks

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

I'm always looking for the perfect hook to match my presentation and the cover I'm fishing. That's never truer than it is with crankbaits. The hook adjustments I've made the past couple of years have been instrumental in me winning the Bassmaster Classic and back-to-back Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year titles.

I should preface this by saying that the hooks that come on my Strike King crankbaits are adequate for recreational fishing. On the other hand, changing to premium hooks that match the situation can make a huge difference in the number of fish you land.

I never lost a fish during the critical run to my second AOY title. During the Classic, I hooked and landed every fish on a Red Eye Shad (lipless crankbait), including a few that only slashed at my bait and were foul-hooked. I don't think I would have boated those with standard hooks.

I dressed the bait with Mustad's KVD Elite Trebles. Those new hooks give me a bigger bite on a stronger hook without concerns of them fouling because they have shorter shanks.

By going to two, No. 2 KVD Elite trebles, I gained a wider bite with a stronger hook that doesn't flex. Most hooks provided on traditional crankbaits, topwaters and jerkbaits have a lot of flex in them. I was having a problem with those bending or straightening on big largemouth or hard pulling smallmouth bass, but not since I switched to the Elite Trebles.

Hook flex in wire hooks is a nemesis. It not only will cause you to lose big fish, but the points get bent or damaged when fishing over rocks, through grass or around wood.

That's why you need a stronger hook with a sharp point. Mustad's Ultra Point hooks are chemically sharpened and have special points. When I'm grinding a crankbait over mussel beds and hard bottoms, that hook won't flex and the point doesn't dull as fast as some hooks.

These heavier wire hooks penetrate easier than I imagined. It's natural to believe a smaller wire hook will penetrate easier than a heavier hook, but that's not the case with these because they don't flex, have a black nickel finish and have such a super sharp point.

Now, lure action can be a concern. The heavier wired KVD Elites don't hamper the action of my Series 5 or Series 6 deep running crankbaits or the Red Eye Shad. However, they could affect the action on smaller baits, so you should test your lures to make sure they run properly. For example, a lightweight topwater may sit deeper in the water because of the heavier hooks, so heavier hooks may not work in that scenario.

On the other hand, KVD Elites on a jerkbait could be a benefit by neutralizing its buoyancy and make it run deeper.

If you want to take your fishing to another level, examine the hooks you use on your hardbaits and consider changes that will improve your hookups. It certainly has worked for me.

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