Most anglers are tinkerers. In this blog I want to discuss one of the easiest ways to customize jerkbaits and spoons to tease-out more bites from fish. Truthfully the method is dead simple and will cost you around $2.50 per lure. "So what's the secret?" you ask. It's the straightforward procedure of swapping out the factory treble with a dressed hook, like an XCalibur TX3 Dressed Treble, Owner Tournament Trailer or Mustad UltraPoint Ultra NP Feather Treble.
|This Luhr Jensen Krocodile lure is modified with a dressed treble.|
Most dressed trebles are a combination of feathers and tinsel or flash. Out of the gate, adding one allows for customization of a bait's color scheme. White, chartreuse, and red are the three most commonly available colors. On tough outings a splash of extra color and flash can make the difference in triggering a fish to hit.
Where dressed trebles really shine, however, is how they add another dimension to a bait's action and bolster its visual appeal. Feather filaments and strands of tinsel and flash sway seductively during a bait's retrieve, but also when it's still. I believe a dressed treble has the power to taunt interested fish into striking. It's like getting your nose tickled with a feather duster, odds are you're either going to smack it or move away. A dressed treble on a lure has a similar effect and forces a fish to either pounce or leave.
I'm a big fan of adding a dressed treble on jigging and casting spoons, like a Luhr Jensen Krocodile or a Bass Pro Shops Strata. When jigging structure-hugging walleye and smallmouth, especially in cold-water, the addition of a feather-clad hook increases bites and focuses fish attention to the bait's business end, improving hook-ups.
I also like to use a dressed treble as the rear hook on some of my jerkbaits, like a Lucky Craft Pointer SP. I have observed that some hard baits aren't suited to this modification and the extra hardware can compromise their action. Be sure to experiment. It's also wise to carry unaltered jerkbaits too because on certain days, for whatever reason, bass sometimes prefer hard baits without this addition. Worth noting is that certain lures, like the Rapala X-Rap, come rigged with a dressed rear hook and are ready to rock and roll right out of the box.
In addition to spoons and jerkbaits, crankbaits and topwaters are other suitable candidates for this alteration. In conclusion, I strongly recommend investing in split ring pliers. This tool makes hook removal and replacement extremely fast and safe. I've seen anglers use keys, coins and other hook points to open up a split ring when changing hooks. This eats up time while increasing the risk of getting stuck with a hook point.
Give dressed trebles a try. You might find you end up liking your favorite hard-baits just a little bit more this season.