Treble hook considerations

Alabama Elite Series angler Kyle Welcher is one of many pros who replace the stock treble hooks that come on crankbaits and jerkbaits. He switches to the same size hook, but the style of the hook varies.

When Welcher casts for smallmouth and spotted bass he employs Gamakatsu G Finesse trebles. These strong, thin-wire trebles features an O’Shaughnessy bend and a Nano Smooth Coat that reduces friction for faster hook penetration.

“Those bass have a meaty mouth,” Welcher said. “That hook usually doesn’t punch all the way through, but it grabs whatever it touches. I don’t lose many fish with it.”

Welcher neatly stores his treble hooks in a Gamakatsu G-Box 3600 Slit Foam Case.

Welcher attached No. 5 fine-wire trebles to a Spro Little John crankbait when he fished the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the Tennessee River. He was running the bait over boulders and chunk rock to coax bites from smallmouth bass. The water was in the 40s and the bass were barely nipping at the lure.

“I was hooking bass that got anywhere near my bait,” Welcher said.

Welcher also opts for finesse trebles when casting for largemouth bass in cold water. The sticky hooks readily grab hold and even heafty bass don’t pull hard enough to straighten them in the frigid water.

Heavy trebles

However, when cranking laydowns and other cover for largemouth in warm water, Welcher steps up to Gamakatsu’s 2X round bend trebles. In this situation he wields a 7-foot, 4-inch, medium-heavy casting rod matched with 15- to 20-pound line so he can horse the bass into open water.

When cranking laydowns and other cover for largemouth in warm water, Welcher steps up to Gamakatsu’s 2X round bend trebles.

“The round bend has a little bigger gap and will penetrate all the way through,” Welcher said. “It has a bigger barb and won’t rip a hole and pop out like a thin wire hook would.”

Heavy round bend treble hooks worked to Welcher’s advantage when he was casting a Spro Fat Poppa 55 crankbait to trees, laydowns, boat docks and other cover during the May 2021 Elite Series event at Alabama’s Neely Henry Lake.

Among the tackleboxes in Welcher’s boat is a Gamakatsu G-Box 3600 Slit Foam Case that’s fitted with a polyethylene foam insert. The insert has rows of narrow slits that Welcher neatly fills with treble hooks in a wide variety of sizes. During some tournaments he may fetch trebles from the container several times a day.

“If I’m really catching them cranking, I might change trebles three times a day,” Welcher said. “Bridges are especially bad about dulling hooks. The bridge piling scrape the side of the crankbait, and the bill can’t protect the hooks.”

Welcher swapped the stock hooks on this Spro Little John Crankbait to Gamakatsu’s 2X round bend trebles. Next to the crankbait is a Gamakatsu G Finesse treble, which features an O’Shaughnessy bend.