Tweaking Hard-baits for More Bites
Modifying a lure to give it a unique look and action can help you catch more fish. Some products that make lure tinkering easy are VMC’s Bladed Hybrid Treble and VMC Dressed X-Rap Treble, along with Storm’s SuspenDots and SuspenStrips. Here are several ways to use these items to make hard-baits more appealing to fish.
VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble
The VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble hook is no ordinary piece of terminal tackle. At the base of this premium hook is a resin-sealed swivel attached to a small willow blade. Replacing a lure’s factory hook with the Bladed Hybrid Treble adds flash and vibration, increasing the baitfish characteristics of a minnow-profiled bait without compromising its action. The blade is also a trigger. We’re not only singing the praises of a whirling willow here, but also the blade’s ability to kick, flash and flutter. These subtle cues are uncommon in hard-baits and stimulate strikes.
Modifications include replacing a factory hook with the Bladed Hybrid Treble at the rear of a jerkbait or a topwater. Just as good is attaching one to the belly on a crankbait or any of the Jigging Rap Series. Changing-out the treble on a jigging spoon is also deadly. The Bladed Hybrid Treble comes in 2, 4, 6 and 8 sized hooks for a range of modification options.
Tip: Learn more Bladed Hybrid Treble hard-bait hacks in this video with Rapala Pro, Mike Iaconelli
VMC Dressed X-Rap Treble
Swapping-out a factory hook with the VMC Dressed X-Rap Treble is another way to amp-up a lure’s appeal. The 2, 4 and 6 hook sizes are suitable for many baits, using modifications similar to a Bladed Hybrid Treble. Instead of a blade, however, this treble is dressed with feathers and mylar. The strike-triggering power of these materials excel when a bait is paused, twitched or moved slowly. This causes the feathers and mylar to flare and sway with amazing realism, prompting bites.
Hooks come with white, red and FireTiger (chartreuse, orange and green) dressings. Experiment with using a dressed treble to match or to contrast a hard-bait’s colouration to learn what fish like best.
Tip: Carry a pair of Rapala Mini Split Ring Pliers for fast and easy hook change-outs on baits.
Storm SuspenDots and SuspenStrips
Weight a jerkbait or a crankbait by placing dots or strips on its belly behind the bill. This makes it dive further, getting into the strike zone of deep fish. The weight also gives the bait a nose-down orientation, which may change its action, such as giving a crankbait a wider wobble at slow speeds.
Adding dots or strips to the belly or tail of a bait gives it either a straight or tail-down orientation on the pause. Tweaking a bait’s resting posture can trigger curious fish to bite. Another reason to add weight to a hard-bait is to increase casting distance. This has advantages for boat and bank anglers alike, helping cover more water or getting a lure further away from the angler to reach spooked or skittish fish.
Give the above modifications a try, but don’t stop here. Experiment with other hard-bait tweaks, like adding colour accents with prism lure tape or nail polish, or sanding lures for a muted finish for clear water scenarios. Then there’s the topic of modifying jigs, like trimming and thinning the skirt on bass and bucktail jigs for a streamlined, compact profile. One thing is for certain, there’s no shortage of tinkering tricks to try to help your bait get noticed by more fish.