Single-Hook Solutions for Striper Plugs

Eliott Sanchez's single-hook rig weeds out the schoolies and keeps big bass pinned while protecting them from treble hook damage.

Eliott Sanchez’s single-hook rig weeds out schoolies and protects big fish from excessive treble hook damage. Additionally, it keeps his hands safe from extra free-swinging hook points when fish handling. (IG @chefeliott)

Eliott Sanchez, the surfcasting chef, spends his free time plying the waters between Jersey City and Long Island’s west end for trophy striped bass. After years of bent treble hooks, broken hook points, bent-out split rings, and a treble or two in the hand, Sanchez began tinkering with different hook styles and orientations on his striper plugs to find a solution that would maximize his return on the hunt for cow stripers, and leave the bass (and his hands) no worse for wear.

As Sanchez puts it, “I wasn’t just trying to catch more fish, I was trying to solve a problem.” He tried inline single hooks, but discovered that they frequently fouled up his lures, leading to missed opportunities. He had an epiphany when he wondered if striper plugs could be designed like a rigged eel, with a 7/0 or 8/0 siwash hook attached in a fixed position to the plug’s underside and a second siwash on the rear hook hanger.

Early iterations disrupted the swimming action of most designs due to the additional weight of the rear siwash. But Sanchez realized that bucktails and paddletails catch big fish, so why use two hooks when one strong hook can get the job done?

Through trial and error, he MacGyvered together a system consisting of heavy-duty split rings, zip ties, thick monofilament, and a single large siwash hook. The rig weeds out smaller fish, generates solid hook-ups with larger fish, and allows for quick, painless releases. This solution leaves his hands and the bass free of damage from treble hooks. 

Sanchez uses this single-hook system on larger swimming lures such as darters, gliders, bottle plugs, and minnow plugs because he can beef up the hook size without interfering with their action. 

Eliott Sanchez notes that the single siwash belly hook has little impact on the action of the plug. Instead, it allows the tail end of a swimming plug to articulate more than it would with the weight of an additional siwash or treble hook. (Photo by Eliott Sanchez @chefeliott)

Additionally, Sanchez believes that with the single belly siwash, smaller bass, which often swipe at a lure from the rear, miss the belly hook. He finds that after one, two, or even three bumps, the fish that finally finds the hook is the largest of the bunch. 

Eliott’s Single Siwash Rig for Striper Plugs

Materials: 

  • 225- to 250-pound-test split rings
  • 7/0 or 8/0 Mustad siwash hook (dependent on plug size)
  • 80-pound-test monofilament
  • 5-inch zip ties
  • Krazy Glue

Step 1: Replace stock split ring on the belly of the lure with a 225-pound-test split ring.


Step 2: Secure an additional 250-pound-test split ring to the 225-pound split ring hanging from the belly of the plug. Because siwash hooks do not have an inline eye, the additional split ring orients the hook so that it rests with the point down.


Step 3: Attach a 7/0 or 8/0 Mustad siwash hook to the second split ring.


single-hook solutions for striper plugs

Step 4: Using 80-pound-test monofilament, lash the split ring tight to the body of the lure. The monofilament helps maintain the forward position of the siwash hook. Sanchez recommends tying off the mono with a square knot—which should sit on top of the plug—because it’s the quickest and easiest to tie. 


single-hook solutions for striper plugs

Step 5: Tightly wrap one or two 5-inch zip ties around the split ring. The tie acts as a stopper so the siwash cannot swing past that point or foul up the plug. Snip the tag ends of the zip tie(s) and add a dab of Krazy Glue to keep them in place. Add a dab of Krazy Glue to the square knot to keep it from slipping or breaking. 

Step 6: Crush the barb and catch some fish.

Follow Eliott Sanchez on Instagram

Related Content

Choosing Inline Single Hooks for Striper Plugs

Big Minnow Plugs for Striped Bass

Build Your Own Pencil Popper

4 on “Single-Hook Solutions for Striper Plugs

  1. Patrick St John

    Is this some sort of joke? That is the most foolish thing I’ve ever seen.

  2. Mike Dwyer

    I like using the big ‘bottle” type Danny stye plugs with a slow retrieve letting them waddle in smooth water etc. But too many times when I cast, the belly hook hangs up on the line mid cast. Is there any remedy to minimize this?
    Thanks from a frustrated fisherman.

    1. Fishy Jie

      Outcast makes metal lips with a magnet to keep the belly hook tight to the plug on your cast.

  3. Ronald D and Marilyn Modafferi

    What way is the best to align the Siwash single hooks on lures?? When hooks are hanging down… Should the open gap and point be forward or backward from the hook shaft??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *