Catch and release is one of the steps to a greener sport fishing however very few lure manufactures make and sell lures built for catch and release. Most lures are made with barbed treble hooks that can injure fish and although the fish is released it is permanently injured or fatly injured. You can’t always just buy your favorite lure made for catch and release and this Instructable will show you how to customize your lures to make sport fishing greener for pennies.
There are three reasons to customize your lures.
1. To adhere to fishing regulations.
2. To change the action of the lure.
3. To repair a lure.
This Instructable will also explain how to repair your lures and the cost savings as well as the environmental savings of repairing lures.
Step 1: To Adhere to Fishing Regulations.
The first reason to customize your lures is to adhere to fishing regulations. In places where fishing is restricted to catch and release you may be required to use a single pronged barbless hook on an artificial bate.
My favorite lure is a silver number three Blue Fox spinner with a single prong hook with a Mister Twister curly tailed grub. I like this setup because of the change in the lures action making it more attractive to fish.
This can be done by filing down the barb or pinching down the barb to the shaft of the hook with pliers.
It looks like the lure is being chased by another fish. I can cast this lure in waters where other fishermen are using the same lure and I catch fish when they don’t.
Step 2: Tools and Parts
The tools to customize or repair your lures are simple needle nose pliers side cutters and something to open your locking rings. In my case I used a nail file don’t use something sharp the parts are small and if you slip you can cut yourself.
The parts to customize or repair your lures are locking rings treble hooks and single pronged hooks with large eyelets.
Hooks with small eyelets will not fit over locking rings and other lure parts as seen in the third picture.
Step 3: The Blue Fox
The Blue Fox comes with a single prong hook to customize your lure.
Start by taking the lure out of the package and cutting the eyelet of the treble hook with the side cutters. Do not cut the loop on the back of the lure.
The single prong hook that comes with the Blue Fox has a large open eyelet for attaching to the Blue Fox.
Hook the open eyelet onto the loop on the back of the lure and squeeze the eyelet closed with the needle nose pliers.
Then starting at the thick end of the curly tailed grub and slip the grub on to the hook. I don’t bother to hook the grub weed less simply because the spinner catches the weeds.
Step 4: Made to Rehook
Most spoons are made to rehook using locking rings to connect the hook to the spoon and most plugs are made to rehook with locking rings or brackets to connect hooks to the plug body but not all spinners are made to rehook.
Spoons are easy to rehook the locking ring works like a key ring pry open one end of the locking ring with the nail file or other tool and slip the eyelet of the hook you are taking off the lure under the end of the locking ring.
Leaving the hook under the end of the locking ring slip the eyelet of the new hook onto the end of the locking ring. Then slid the two hooks around the locking ring until the old hook falls off and the new hook is attached to your lure.
With a locking ring you can switch back and forth between a single prong and a treble hook.
When the new hook is attached to the spoon slip the curly tailed grub on the hook the same way as the Blue Fox.
Step 5: Spinners Made to Rehook
This Mepps Comet Spinning Lure is one of the easiest to rehook and needs no tools and you can switch back and forth between a single prong and a treble hook on the fly.
Hold the bottom bead of the lure in one hand and the hook with the other hand then pull and twist until the lure opens reveling the looping mechanism.
The old hook slips right off and the new one slips right on the looping mechanism.
Once you replace the hook slip the bead back over the looping mechanism.
When the new hook is attached slip the curly tailed grub on the hook the same way as the Blue Fox.
Step 6: Repairing Lures
Repairing Lures is environmentally friendly in that the making and assembling of the parts cost energy and materials as well as transportation of new lures to the store you buy them at.
At one popular river I fished there was a spot I would go lure picking fishermen did not know of a shallow spot where there lures snagged on the rocks and there line would break. Sometimes the hooks would be damaged or I would change the hook to change the action of the lure so the fish would not recognize the lure.
At about 10 cents compared to $5.oo replacing a hook costs less than buying a lure this Mepps Black Fury Spinning Lure does not open like the Mepps Comet.
To replace the hook or customize this spinner you need a locking ring and a hook.
Like the Blue Fox cut the damaged hook off by cutting the eyelet of the treble hook with the side cutters. Do not cut the loop on the back of the lure.
Attach the locking ring by prying open one end of the locking ring with the nail file or other tool and slip locking ring onto the loop on the back of the lure then slid the locking ring around until the locking ring is completely attached to the loop.
Then they are as easy as spoons to rehook the locking ring works like a key ring pry open one end of the locking ring with the nail file or other tool and slip the eyelet of the hook under the end of the locking ring.
With the hook under the end of the locking ring slid the hook around the locking ring until the new hook is attached to your lure. With a locking ring you can switch back and forth between a single prong and a treble hook.
If you use a single prong hook slip the curly tailed grub on the hook the same way as the Blue Fox.
Step 7: Variety and Advantage
I catch Trout Salmon Pike and Bass on these lures when I want to release a fish I don't need to take the fish out of the water or touch the fish with my hand to remove the barbless hook. All I do is let the line go slack and the fish spits the lure out.
Touching the fish can remove the protective slime on its skin and taking the fish out of the water stresses the fish more when it has been stressed already by the fight.
Single barbless hooks do not hinder your ability to catch fish in fact they are all I use now, in the 1985 Great Salmon Hunt I caught a 42inch Coho on a Little Cleo ¾ OZ with a Mister Twister curly tailed minnow.
Year after year I catch Pike and Bass on a Silver number three Blue Fox spinner Five of Diamonds and Red Devil with a single prong hook with a Mister Twister curly tailed grub and minnow.
And year after year I catch spring and fall Trout on Mepps Spinning Lures with a single prong hook with a Mister Twister curly tailed grub.
Don't be afraid to use customize your lures you will be a green fisherman protecting your sport the environment and your pocketbook.
Josehf Murchison made it!