Fall ignites a palpable thrill among Florida’s East Coast anglers. As temperatures start to cool in northern latitudes, silver and striped mullet embark on their epic southbound odyssey, departing the estuaries of Georgia and the Carolinas. The coastline awakens with the sight of dark, imposing silhouettes moving along the beach. These mullet schools, driven by a fierce determination to evade the relentless pursuit of snook, tarpon, mackerel, bluefish, and redfish, ultimately leave a shimmering trail of scales in their wake.
While numerous options beckon anglers to join this annual spectacle, few experiences can measure up to the exhilaration offered by topwater and subsurface plugs. An array of finely crafted, anatomically precise mullet imitations stand ready, each boasting distinct sinking rates and retrieval capabilities. These lures excel when cast from the shoreline, provided they carry sufficient weight to cut through brisk winds and the accompanying wave action common to the fall season. Recently, anglers have been reaping noteworthy success by swapping out factory-supplied treble hooks for Mustad Kaiju in-line single hooks.
The merits of these specialty hooks are particularly apparent in the realm of responsible catch-and-release fishing—trebles are super sticky by design and can be treacherous to fish with soft mouths. But single hooks on plugs offer a range of benefits that extend beyond the welfare of both fish and angler. Fish hooked with single J-hooks tend to stay securely fastened, thanks to the larger, sturdier point they provide compared to the trio of smaller hooks on a treble. Mustad single hooks, made from Nor-Tempered high-carbon alloy wire, achieve the perfect balance of metal hardness, rigidity, and thinness to reduce flex, which helps them penetrate quickly. They also demonstrate impressive resistance to bending or straightening, surpassing most treble hooks in this aspect.
Mustad in-line single hooks, available in sizes spanning from No. 2 to 8/0, feature the cutting-edge 4.3 UltraPoint Technology, which helps keep hook points stay sharper longer. You’ll notice the in-line design incorporates an oversized eyelet, oriented 90 degrees from the traditional hook eye angle, ensuring that hooks hang upright and in-line with the lure.
The process of replacing hooks is a straightforward task, requiring only Mustad’s premium 9-inch split-ring pliers. However, several factors should guide your choice of new hooks. A general rule is to measure the distance between two treble hook points and select a single hook with a gap as close as possible to this measurement. Typically, transitioning to a single hook two sizes larger than the existing treble is a good starting point. And when replacing the tail hook, ensure the in-line hook point faces upward, while for the belly hook, orient the hook point away from the bait.
Lure designers invest meticulous care in providing specific lure action. However, the added weight of heavier gauge and potentially larger in-line single hooks can force a popper to sit a bit lower in the water. Some find this to be an advantage as the lure gains more displacement, resulting in a more pronounced pop during retrieval. In the case of walk-the-dog surface plugs, the replacement of trebles can enhance the lure’s performance by reducing drag.
If you’ve yet to delve into the merits of switching out treble hooks on your artificial lures, now is the opportune moment. Although the mullet run won’t last much longer, anglers targeting various gamefish throughout Florida’s coastal waters attest to the value that high-quality single in-line hooks bring to the equation.
Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of LIVETARGET and TUF-Line, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family. For more information, visit www.mustad-fishing.comor @mustadfishing on Facebook and Instagram.