If you’re an experienced angler, you’ve probably been in situations like this before. If you’re new to kayak fishing, it’s bound to happen. And any way you slice it, treble-hooked lures work, so we continue to use them despite the slight risks. Hopefully this article can help you decrease the likelihood of having to leave the water early to head to the nearest hospital.
So starting from where we left off, the lure is coming straight back at you. When I’ve been in this situation, if a lot of line is still out I’ll drop my rod-tip and hope that the weight of the lure will cause it to fall back into the water before it reaches me. If the fish was pretty close to the boat, my reaction is to swing my rod tip away from me as quickly as I can. This should cause the lure to fly toward the tip of the rod. Then I quickly swing the rod back to the water, hopefully forcing the lure to follow. So far, this approach has proven successful for me.
There are, however, other situations where a treble hook lure could cause problems. My buddy was out one day in one of our frequent spots. He hooked onto a bull redfish while throwing a Rapala “Skitter Walk®”. After fighting him for ten to fifteen minutes, the fish came off just as he was attempting to land it. Though it didn’t happen to my friend, I’ve seen guys try to lip a fish as they’ve gotten it boat side. With one quick shake, the unhooking process can turn into a complicated and painful predicament with hooks buried in a finger or hand.
There are products that can help you prevent this situation from occurring. Instead of landing a fish by lipping it, a product called “The Fish Grip” has been gaining popularity as a great alternative. It holds the fish securely and allows you to control the fish without putting your fingers at risk. While The Fish Grip works great in all situations, it’s especially helpful when using treble hook lures.
Another way to better control the fish is simply using a net. I’ve often seen guys landing fish by putting lots of tension on their rods while they try to grab the fish or the line. By using a net, you can capture the fish and your hands stay relatively clear of getting accidentally hooked. You can also dip a net into the water to scoop up your catch, rather than bringing them to the surface to force into your kayak. Scooping up a fish by directing them into a net also relieves some rod tension, because it allows the fish to support its own weight in the water. Once the fish is in the net and in your control, unhooking treble hooks becomes much safer and more manageable.
Sometimes the more embarrassing treble hook snags happen out of the water, when the lure is not yet in use. It’s happened to me before. I’ll turn around while in the kayak to grab a rod, or go through my crate, and in the process my shirt gets snagged by a topwater lure on a rod not in use. If the lure just grabs your shirt, the experience is just an annoying inconvenience. But if you hook yourself, you may be putting some hook removal skills into play! I’ve found that simply keeping your crank bait or topwater rod out of the way can avoid this trouble altogether. But space in a kayak is sometimes a rare thing, and you may have no other choice than to put your rod where you might snag yourself. Again, there is a product that can help cut down on the likelihood of this occurring. The “Hook Safe” is a plastic cone that slips over any lure, and can clip to any guide or hook-keeper. It has a cut in the side of it so that you can slip your line through it, providing all-around protection.
Lastly, treble hooks can be a pain to store. They tend to get hooked on each other, making it a frustrating and sometimes long process to tie one on. I like to use twist-ties to secure treble hooks together. On a lure with two or three hooks, I’ll twist-tie them together, which just makes them easier to store with other lures. It also keeps them from dangling around, so I don’t have to worry about them getting in the way when I’m tying them onto my line.
Hopefully, these techniques and products mentioned will help you to have a good day on the water and help keep you safe from the trouble with treble hooks!