There a few methods to use when creating a stop on the lure leader to correctly position a hook within the skirt. From the simple to the elaborate, you’ve got some options to choose from.
The first method would be to just lay the hook and leader where you want it and crimp a stop just behind the lure head.
Similarly, if you want to add beads to the leader just slide them on and again measure where the stop should be crimped onto the leader.
Another method would be to twist the leader so it forms a double line and crimp it by the head. This will not only correctly position the hook but will also provide extra protection where it’s needed most.
For light lures you can add an egg weight to the leader as part of the stop along with the leader crimp.
If the skirt is long enough cable can also be used.
And for a lure that will have double hooks the measuring process is the same.
So you’ve got options. Lots of people have an opinion on which is “better” or “worse.” You use the one that works best for you.
Where the bend of the hook sits within the skirt of a lure is important. There are a number of rigging options to properly position the hook in a lure, but we’ll chat more about the specifics of that tomorrow, and as you will see some methods are better than others.
There are two options when it comes to positioning the rear hook: having the bend of the hook even with the bottom of the skirt, or having the bend positioned past the skirt somewhat. It is important to note this second position is IGFA legal as long as the point is not exposed.
And depending on who you talk to, people will say one way is better than the other. I’ve had equal success with both hook positions, so either is fine in my book.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about different ways of rigging lures in the different positions.
Sharking is one of those situations where a needle eye hook is much better than a ring eye for a couple of reasons. First off, there’s no doubt shark teeth will cut right through mono and in some cases cable. Single strand wire leader is definitely preferred for shark fishing for this very reason.
Secondly, there is a small finished connection to the hook with wire-to-a-needle-eye, and that connection is much smaller than with a ring eye. If you’ve ever had a run-off while sharking (and you were sure you set the hook) only to have the line go limp after a very short time, there’s a good sensible explanation for that.
Most likely the rig you were using was made using ring eye hooks. The shark picked up the bait and started to swim away with its mouth closed. When you locked up the reel to set the hook and with the sharks’ mouth closed the ring eye hook was so large it was just banging against the inside of its teeth, preventing the point of the hook from penetrating anything….you thought you had a good hook set but when he opened his mouth the bait and the hook just fell out.
Using a needle eye hook with its much smaller connection would have had a much better chance of going through the rows of teeth and giving you a solid hook set.
A needle eye hook has an advantage over the ring eye when you’re rigging Ballyhoo due to the smaller eye. A ring eye can at times make it difficult to properly set the hook in between the gill plates because of the size and bulk of the eye, and the leader connection to it. A needle eye hook with wire or cable fits perfectly and makes for a much cleaner rigged bait.
So when can you use Needle Eyes? It’s very simple…..Needle Eye hooks can be used in any application you would use a ring eye but it must be rigged with single strand wire or cable, not mono. This can’t be over emphasized.
If you’re rigging natural baits or lures and you think the cable or wire required for the needle eye hook will not in any way take away from the finished bait or lure, then it will be fine. On the other hand if you feel mono is the right choice to go with then a ring eye must be used.
Note: some have asked about the old cedar plugs where the opening for the hook is too small for a ring eye. The only hook that will fit is a needle eye, but they don’t want to use single strand wire for the leader. My answer is to use the mono then, but when you lose the fish it’s all on you.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about some of the advantages of needle eyes over ring eyes.
Building off yesterday’s discussion, if you look at the images you’ll notice how perfectly formed the eyes on the Ring Eye hooks are compared to the Needle Eye. The Ring Eye is rounded, very smooth, and large enough to accept multiple leader materials and sizes with or without chafe material.
The eye on Needle Eye on the other hand is much smaller and nowhere near as smooth (this is due to the stamping process). In most cases the eye will actually have sharp edges, and is not large enough to have any chafe material added to the leader.
What this all boils down to is you can rig a ring eye hook with any type of leader material: mono, wire or cable. But, needle eye hooks should never be rigged with anything except single strand wire or cable – never mono, ever. Even single strand wire is preferred over the cable. The edges left on a needle eye hook will very quickly cut any mono, and you’ll lose your fish because of it.
Ring Eye hooks can and in most cases should have chafe gear added when using mono, but is not necessary with single strand wire or cable.
Needle Eye hooks should never be rigged with mono.
Now that you know how to select the right leader material, Monday we’ll talk about choosing the right hook for what you’re fishing for.
For our first blog entry we are going to start very simply, and progressively look into aspects of the hooks we all use the most – types, shapes, eyes, and so on – which hook is best for different applications and how to best rig it, etc. We’ll first start with J-hooks.
J hooks are available in basically two styles: Southern Tuna (left) and Sea Demon (right). These are without doubt the most popular. The Southern Tuna has the point bent in towards the shaft, while the Sea Demon remains parallel with the shaft which results in a more open gap. These are available with a Ring Eye, and in some sizes and types, a Needle Eye.
We are emphasizing the eyes of the hooks as this is very important when selecting a hook for your application. This is where the leader will be attached and not all leader material is suited for all hook eyes.
The eye on a ring eye hook is formed mechanically.
The eye on a needle eye hook is stamped.
Think about this and next we’ll go into which leader material to use with each style hook.