Sunday, 21 August 2016

Freshwater Hooks on Saltwater Lures

In a previous article, I mentioned that some saltwater lures come with freshwater hooks and that they rust and are impractical for ocean fishing. Coho Killers from Storm Lures are examples. Even though they work well, in short order the hook is rusty and needs sharpening every time out or to be replaced with a saltwater, non-rusting hook.

In the case of Killers, there are a couple of other problems: the lure itself rusts/discolours after a few uses; and the lure is so slim and bendable that it loses its shape in short order, as well. Some might use Brillo to remove the discolouration on the lure, but that leaves the scent of Brillo on lures, something a fish is less likely to bite.

I use fine grain sandpaper to touch up the lure itself, but that, too, over time, takes the shine off the lure as well as dulls any finish, like the green Splatterback pattern and the white of the White Lightning.

As for lure bending, this happens because the tin from which the lure is made is thin. Fish of even ten pounds can bend the lure during its runs. By the time you have the fish at boat-side, the lure can be quite bent. If you hold the line or lure while handling the fish, this also bends the lure.

I have not had a problem rebending the lure back close to its original shape. But, you need to monitor the lure after that to see whether it still catches fish. If not, that’s the end of the lure, and these come in at almost $10 at some stores, so expensive to restock. Long in the tooth anglers recall bending red Krippled K spoons with a twist across and down their length. The purpose was to introduce an asymmetric bend that was fishier than the lure right out of the package.

And, of course, many lures over their lifetime become fishier. The ones that work, keep getting used and any changing of the components just makes them catch fewer fish. That’s why I suggest fishing a lure in, as in say a dozen of your lures. By reusing the ones that catch over the years, the better they get. Don’t change leaders on your best hootchies and squirts. Fish them until the leader breaks and say goodbye, don’t change the leader, as you invariably ruin action. 

Bait head leaders seem less likely to lose their fish-catching charm, but then length is less important to their action beyond the lengths used for plastic and tin lures. So you can restring a new leader that you have set up with a leading treble and a trailing single. I tie 25 at a time at home and wind them around a leader board, a component in one of my tackle boxes.

You can then quickly change leaders in the boat. Buy packages of snaps and ball bearing swivels, for the same purpose. Putting four ball bearing swivels from tag end of mainline, top and bottom of flasher and tag end of leader is much more important, as it eliminates line twist, something that affects lure action and life if it becomes tangled.

I had an ancient magnesium single Siwash break on big chinook in Quatsino, that broke two summers ago, but not too many of those out there. But back to the reason for freshwater hooks on saltwater lures. Bill Gower, long time industry rep, who now gets to fish a whole lot more than he used to, sent me a note explaining what the industry does to lures before marketing.

Bill Gower: I think I know the problem of fresh water hooks on lures. As a mfg. rep for too numerous years to admit, the major manufacturing facilities make lures for the world and as most lures sold are used in freshwater, you will not find stainless or coated hooks on lures other than a manufacturer specifically producing product for saltwater use. It is a long time since you and I have talked, but as Rapala (Normark) was the Canadian Distributor for Hardy, it brought us together. A number of things have changed and Rapala no longer has a relationship with either Hardy or Cortland, but also is owned partly by VMC which means every lure Rapala produces for its Luhr Jensen, Storm, Blue Fox, and Williamson brands and obviously including Rapala itself, has a VMC hook attached. In some cases, where lures are designated Salt Water use, they use coated/anodized hooks, but never stainless (too tough to produce, as in hard on machinery). 

Let me give you some examples of what Rapala does for its different brands. Luhr Jensen Coyote Spoons are used primarily for Salmon fishing and do have a coated hook even though a huge number of them are used in freshwater, in the great lakes. Luhr Jensen recognized that when it came to production efficiency, it was better to make this particular product with a coated hook, saving the fisherman the inconvenience of changing over. Another Luhr Jensen product is Kwik Fish. They use fresh water hooks on sizes F3 to F9, but change over to coated hooks on their larger sizes. Rapala Magnum Lures are coated hooks along with anything else deemed to be saltwater, but the rest of the line is freshwater. Blue Fox Gomame Jigs have coated hooks, even though we find them used in fresh water for Burbot. 

Storm ‘Wildeye” soft baits in Anchovy, Herring and Sardine are coated, but most of the Storm line up is freshwater. Basic rule of thumb when it comes to major producers, you will find treble hooks are commonplace as the World supply is looking for this. Manitoba allows the use of treble hooks albeit barbless, which makes it easy for manufacturers. Personally, I think barbless treble hooks would do less damage to catch and release fisheries over a single hook, but do not have paper to back this up, just personal observation of how well the Mb. Fishery has sustained itself. Keep up the great articles. Bill

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