Choosing Inline Single Hooks for Striper Plugs

Consider hook gap, hook weight, hook size and more when swapping out trebles for inline single hooks on your striper lures.

In the interest of protecting striped bass and helping them better survive catch and release, many anglers are considering replacing their lures’ treble hooks with inline single hooks. Fewer hook points and barbs do less damage to the fish, and they pose less of a hazard to the angler when dehooking a fish. However, making the switch to an inline single hook is not as simple as swapping out a 4/0 treble for a 4/0 inline single. Anglers must first consider the hook’s size, weight, and how it will affect the lure’s action. 

Hook Weight 

Even the slightest difference in weight between a single hook and treble can alter how a lure swims, which may make it ineffective. When switching trebles for singles, use a small digital scale to compare the weight of the treble you are removing to the inline single you plan to replace it with. Choosing hooks of a similar weight will maintain a lure’s balance and swimming action. 

Hook Gap 

A single hook’s gap size is another important consideration. A hook with a gap that is too large will catch on the lure during the cast or retrieve, causing it to swim improperly. .

Choosing Hook Size 

When selecting a single hook to replace a treble, a general rule is to move up by 3 sizes, or even 4 sizes on larger plugs. 

For example, a Daiwa SP Minnow 15F has two size 1/0 treble hooks when it comes out of the package, but a size 1 treble hook is not equivalent in size or weight to a size 1 inline single hook, which would be much too small for an SP Minnow. To match the desired action of the original, try replacing the trebles with 4/0 or 5/0 inline singles. 

Treble to Inline Single Hook Size Adjustment Chart 

1/0 4/0
2/0 5/0
3/0 6/0
4/0 7/0
5/0 8/0 or 9/0

Other Considerations 

Anglers must also consider the difference in water resistance or drag between a treble and an inline single. After switching the hooks, test-swim a lure in a clear body of water to make sure it is still swimming properly. Some lures simply won’t swim as well with inline singles, but that varies between lure styles and manufacturers. If a lure outfitted with single hooks rolls over or fouls on itself (or the line) too often, it’s best to switch back to trebles.

Inline Single Hooks for Stripers 

inline single hooks VMC

VMC ILS Inline Single 4X

The VMC ILS Inline Single 4X has a thicker, reinforced gauge than other inline single hooks from VMC, and its corrosion-resistant black-nickel coating ensures longevity and durability against the elements and against personal-best-beating striped bass.

inline single hooks Gamakatsu

Gamakatsu Magic Eye Tuna Plug 3X

Heavy-duty construction on the Gamakatsu Magic Eye Tuna Plug 3X minimizes the likelihood of bending out hooks or losing fish, and its fine, tapered hook point takes purchase with ease in the tough, rubbery maw of cow stripers.

inline single hooks BKK

BKK Lone Diablo

BKK’s micro-ring technology makes for a smaller hook eye, which is conducive to quick and seamless hook swapping with most split rings; additionally, the hook’s anti-rust coating maintains its strength through repetitious use and abuse on big bass.

Making Trebles Fish Friendly 

Even if a lure does not fish well with inline single hooks, there are still ways to make it more fish friendly. The first, and easiest, is to crush the barbs on the treble hook, which make unhooking the fish easier. Anglers who want to go a step further can use wire-cutters to clip two of the points off the hook just below the barb. The treble hook’s resistance will be the same, maintaining the plug’s action, but damage to a hooked fish will be minimized.

Any of these modifications are likely to reduce the number of striped bass you hook, but for many anglers, that tradeoff is worth it for the promise of more stripers in the future.

Related Content

Modifying Striper Lures with Inline Single Hooks

WATCH: Swapping Trebles for VMC Inline Single Hooks

1 thought on “Choosing Inline Single Hooks for Striper Plugs

  1. Jack Whisted

    wow talk about how to DYI, thanks for the lesson, will help me next spring
    You guys as the shit!

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