Lure fishing has really taken off in Ireland over the last decade or so. By no means a new phenomenon, the method has been used globally almost forever but there has been a huge upsurge in the use of lures for a far wider array of species in the last few years. Lure fishing is simple, clean but most importantly it is effective. There is a huge selection of lures available to the modern angler, some of them will catch more anglers than fish but most of them will at least be capable of catching something!
Most lures are available with treble hooks attached and many anglers are happy to use those supplied. Many more discard the supplied trebles in favour of a replacement for a variety of reasons; the offending trebles are too big or of poor quality, easier unhooking and fishing regulations to name a few. I used to fish for trout with small Mepps spinners on a local river when I was growing up. The small trout would hit the Mepps hard and invariably get snagged on all three points of the treble. Unhooking was a nightmare and it was always felt like the hooks were severely damaging the mouths of the trout that we were returning to the water. A single hook would have been the far better option here.
A great alternative hook is the Cox & Rawle Inline Replacement Single Hook for both salt and fresh water. As with the rest of their range of hooks, the quality that we have come to expect is indeed present. The hooks are strong and sharp but, unlike a conventional hook, the eye is in line with the shank to allow it to sit neatly under the lure creating less drag in the water and as a result will not impede the action of the lure. Available in barbless, microbarbed or 'blue water' versions, there should be a hook in the range to suit almost any lure.
These hooks will make a great addition to lures for the catch and release fisherman. The single hook makes for an easier unhooking and with there just being one point the single will not cause undue damage to the mouths of smaller fish. Safety of the angler is just as important and having a lure adorned with a loose treble hook can turn 'chinning' a pike into a risky business. With less hook points bouncing around there is less chance of snagging yourself which is always a bonus in tight spaces like boats or kayak cockpits!
More and more fisheries are enforcing regulations when it comes to hooks. I am particularly thinking about any of the rivers that are restricted to catch and release only for salmon and sea trout in Ireland. With the killing of salmon strictly limited on some rivers and not permitted at all on others a lot of waters have taken to introducing a 'single barbless hook only' rule. Adopting the inline hooks for salmon lures would see the angler fall on the right side of the law when it comes to angling for the bars of silver. With the restrictions brought in rightfully in the name of conservation, the single hooks allow for a quick and easy unhooking, allowing the fish to continue on its incredible migration.
One word of warning regarding the use of barbless hooks for those unfamiliar with them; it is vital that you keep a tight line to any fish that you catch when using them. Give any slack and the barbless hook will pop out as easy as it went in. Keep this in mind and the Cox & Rawle Inline Replacement Single Hooks will be a suitable alternative for pretty much any style of lure and fishing.
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