We’ve all heard the numerous sayings about paying attention to the details in anything we do and especially fishing.
What are the details when it comes to our tackle?
- Sharp Hook Points
- Split Ring (Size and Condition)
- Speed Clip/Snap Condition
- Structural Integrity of the Lure
Sharp Hook Points
Regardless of your hook brand of choice if you spend enough time on the water you are going to damage your hook points. This can happen from snagging your lure while fishing, accidentally grabbing the hook point if you’re using pliers to remove a treble hook from a fish, or a wild cast that tangles on a dock.
I try to keep an eye on my hook points while on the water to make sure nothing goes wrong when I set the hook. Last year in a BFL, I was throwing a top water popper and noticed the back feathered treble hook was missing one of the barbs. I’m not completely sure when it broke off but I think it came when a wild cast landed on some rocks near the bank. If I hadn’t noticed the missing barb who knows what it could have cost me. I always keep a hook file, extra hooks, and a good set of split ring pliers with me at all times.
Here is a link to what I consider to be the best split ring pliers I’ve used.
Split Ring (Size and Condition)
Pay special attention to the split rings size that comes on the lures you buy. There are times when the stock split rings will be too big to move freely between the bait and the hook eyelet. When the spilt ring and the hook bind, you are giving the fish more leverage to throw your lure.
Split ring condition needs to be in your mind as well. Depending on the quality, some brand new split rings can come separated enough for the hook eyelet to get between the rings and eventually come all the way off if you don’t catch it first. This separation can also happen if you have switched out hook multiple times on the same split ring.
Speed Clip/Snap Condition
You will come across speed clips/snaps on some crank baits like Wiggle Warts, Alabama Rigs, and they are popular with Co – Anglers as they can change lures quick and eliminate the need for multiple rods.
On crank baits I like to take a pair of pliers and make sure the openings of the clips are basically smashed shut so there is little to no chance of them opening up when I’m fighting a fish. Smashing the clips shut on crank baits like the Wiggle Wart is ok because you tie your line to the clip that stays attached to the bait.
On Alabama Rigs I will smash down one side of the clip that loops back horizontally. I will only bend the other opening down a little. I don’t want to smash it completely shut and not be able to change baits on the move.
For Co – Anglers the speed clip is a great asset to keep your number of rods low and out of both yours and your boater’s way throughout the day. If you give speed clips a try you should occasionally check your lure to make sure the line tie eyelet of the lure has not worked its way between the speed clip wires. I’ve really only found this to be an issue if I’m throwing a jerk bait and working it aggressively.
Structural Integrity of the Lure
The integrity of your lure normally only comes into question after a wild cast that bounces of something other than the water you intended for it.
When you bounce your favorite top water walking bait off the bank rocks and it stops walking easily you may be taking on water. During your fishing trip the only real option you have is to switch lures. If the lure is a favorite or one that is no longer being made you can get two part epoxy and lightly apply a coat to seal the bait after you believe it is completely dried out.
Bouncing your favorite buzz bait off a dock can throw the tracking of the lure off. Some buzz baits are specifically designed to make a certain sound only when the lure wire is at an exact angle. If your lure sounds different or tracks to one side you can realign it with small bends from a pair of pliers. I strongly suggest small adjustments, testing them after each one bend and trying the lure in the water after each adjustment until you get it back to the desired angle.
Keeping a close eye on the small details of your tackle keeps one more advantage out the fish’s corner and puts you closer to your next personal best. This is also very import if you take children fishing. You don’t want them to miss a fish of a lifetime because of a small detail that was overlooked.
See you on the water