Sphyraena jello - yellowtail barracuda















Inspect the hooks after every catch, bend the hook point shaft back if it is open.

Pic 2





















The light gauge hooks easily catch the barracuda inside and outside the mouth.

Toman, Giant Snakehead, Channa micropeltes



































For this 'cuda the tail hook of the Hamma stayed connected while the front hook was bent open.






















The re-introduction of the Laser Pro 120MT

I had never used this three hook model of the Laser Pro 120. I had only been using the two hook model that had nice strong hooks. Then just as I had started enjoying using light weight hooks to catch barracudas, Halco restarted production of the three hook model that came with lighter hooks. I quickly got a few to use and found they were exactly what I wanted for that style of fishing.

I asked them why they restarted production on this 3 hook lure that had been out of the market for 8 years. Halco told me that it was an iconic lure for North Queensland, popular for casting to small to medium barramundi. After production was discontinued, it was selling among the fans for triple the retail price.

I guess good lures never really die, they get re-born.










Fine Wire Hooks - do they have a place in the tropics?


by Christopher S.G. Tan

Experienced and successful lure anglers know that to successfully land good sized fish, they need to check the hooks that come with their lures. Often the original hooks are too light to tackle our local species. They get levered open during the fight.

Thus it is normal to replace the hooks with stronger ones. I normally replace the hooks with single hooks for several reasons, one of which is to keep the weight of these stronger hooks on the lure as close as possible to the original hook weight to allow the lure to continue having the most action possible.

Using stronger trebles and therefore heavier hooks will dampen the action of the lure. In my early days of saltwater fishing, a Scandinavian-made lure was our favourite for trolling. The problem was that the hooks kept opening up. So to prevent this we kept upgrading the hooks to heavier and heavier gauge treble hooks. Then it came to a point where the lure would not elicit a single bite. You could tell from the rod tip action that the lure's vibration was dampened from the extra strong, thick gauge hooks. So obviously the reduced action of the lure made the lure no longer attractive.


Recently I have been going in the opposite direction with hooks for fishing our coastal waters for toothy barracuda. The yellowtail barracuda (Sphyraena jello) has a bony jaw. Getting the hook-ups to stay connected can be difficult at times even though we set the hooks as as well as could by striking with the rod. The lures still often drop off. This can happen early in the fight or near the end.

When I started using the Halco Hamma 85 which came equipped with light gauge hooks, I decided not to upgrade the hooks for fishing in these waters for barracuda.

These yellowtail barracuda do not fight brutally like giant trevally, nor do they head to the nearest structure to cut the line. Without the brutal hook opening head shakes or heavy locked drag settings, the strength of thick hooks is not needed.

By using this lure with fine hooks, I seemed to stay connected to the barracudas more and had less long range releases. I have to assume that this is so because the fine gauge of the wire allows easier hook point penetration. This trait in turn allows the hook to set in deeper, all the way to the bend.

Pic 2








Interestingly enough, around this time, the maker of the Hamma lures, Halco, re-launched an old favourite lure: The three hook Laser Pro 120. The Laser Pro 120's I had been using were fitted with dual heavy treble hooks. Then they released an old discontinued model that had three fine wire treble hooks.

I saw the advantages of this model for the light weight fish and was soon enjoying the benefits of this 12cm long lure armed to the teeth with with prickly hooks from front, middle and back. Sure enough this lure with its three light wire hooks started accounting for a lot of successful hook-ups.

I wonder if the attractiveness of these lures fitted with light gauge hooks is due to the fact that the lures have a more pronounced vibration than if they were fitted with heavier hooks. If the fish are drawn to lures with more marked vibration then this is definitely a key point to consider.

In addition, the less bulky hardware is less visible because of the thinner gauge wires used. It is without doubt that the barracuda attracted to the vibrating lure will be eyeing the lure before deciding to strike and the fine gauge hooks will be less conspicuous than heavy gauge hooks.

So the advantages of using fine gauge lightweight treble hooks are summarized as follows:-

  • - Initial hook point penetration
  • - Complete hook point shaft penetration to the bend
  • These traits allow better hook-up and less dropped hooks
  • - Pronounced action/vibration with lightweight hooks
  • - Less visual hardware on the lure, more fish like profile

Pic 2As all experienced anglers are aware, and as stated earlier, using lightweight hooks often results in fish escaping, primarily because these thin hooks bend open under sufficient pressure. Then a few shakes later, the hooks get dislodged and the fish swims away.

Thus, fishing with this light hardware also means the drag setting and tackle used should be lightweight too. Light drags will reduce the pressure on the hooks. A lighter rod in turn will ensure there is a bit more flex in the rod, therefore there is more give when the fish lunges or head-shakes. All this will reduce the pressure that will force the hook open.

I had dropped down to using a light 4-12lb Aetos Fenwick rod. As the rod is light and flexible, I make sure I strike fully a few times to set the hook when I have a hit. This is to ensure the hook gets driven fully in to the bend to prevent the lure from falling off during the fight.

After the fight, I will inspect the hooks. Often there may be a few points that have opened up a little. Make sure the hook points are at least parallel the main shank. A hook point that is pointing out, even a little does not have good penetrative angles during the hook set and is less likely to penetrate completely. A partially penetrated hook will fall out easily.

Fishing with these light hooks is best for fish that do not go charging into structure when hooked up, like barracuda. If I am fishing an area with a lot of line cutting structure where I would have to fish with heavy drag settings or where I am expecting large fish, I will not use my lures with light hooks. So fish with the appropriate hardware for the right species and tackle.



We need to protect and conserve our resources by practising catch and release of our sportfish and protecting the habitat of our fishes.


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