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Picture of Customizing Lures for a Greener Sport Fishing
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.
 
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Step 1: To Adhere to Fishing Regulations.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
lilchumy10 months ago
Nice, please check out my guide on bass fishing. I need votes for the hunter gatherer contest. Thanks so much! That would really help me out!
Josehf Murchison (author)  lilchumy10 months ago

How about a link

LOVE IT

Have you tried it.

I catch bass, pike, trout, sunfish, and many more on this rig.

Sometimes I cant figure out how a fish that small gets the hook in its mouth.

Joe

I used to file the barbs off, then i realized that kinda tears the little guys up maybe more than a barb. here in kentucky I catch a lot of sunfish, and while I do my best to release them unharmed, the ones that are not in good shape become catfish bait, so it's not as bad as it could be, plus I'm generally not catching any species that are in the least bit endangered. the big cats are unkillable, so the barbs don't bother them. Usually the hook goes into a bony plate in their mouths and you have to remove it with pliers. they seem unaffected.
The sunnies, however, and the bass, it breaks my heart when I have to rip a hook out, and those damn trebles can get a sunfish in both eyes and the mouth at once.
I prefer a barbless single for them. it adds to the fun anyway, and nothing kills a great day like having to pull a treble hook out of your own thumb, and that happens occasionally with difficult extractions.
I have had a five inch longear sunfish get half of a five inch bass plug down it's throat. they aren't numerous because they are picky eaters, and they are unfailingly optimistic.
My new theory is to use two small balbless hooks in a single 3 inch plastic worm, but I am trouble figuring out the best way to tie the hooks and rig the bait. any ideas are gladly accepted.

Pic 1

I like Mustad hooks for the large eye and only one barb to press down when I want to go barbless, in the package are the ones I like to use on my larger lures.

The dark hooks are size 6 and they are the ones I use with bate, they are the same size of hook but you can see how much bigger the eye is on the Mustag hook. For this rig you need the large eyelets.

Pic 2

I make a figure 8 snelled knot like I did with this string. Spit on the knot before you tighten the knot, the knot is the weakest point in your line and this is an old fisherman’s trick to keep the knot strong.

Pic 3

I put the loop of the snelled knot through the eye and around the hook like I did this key ring.

Pic 4

Then I make two or three in the line like I did with the string here. I could have spaced it better but I wanted to get it in a pic you could see.

Is this the kind of rig you were looking for?

Joe

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drangern2 years ago
age 17 right now and i love fishin. looking to be a DNR officer so the barbless hook idea is absolutly incredible. in Minnesota, which is where i live, they allow barbed hooks which makes me mad. anyways thanks for this incredible post
Josehf Murchison (author)  drangern2 years ago
The rules vary all over here in Ontario so when I am in a place where I may catch something I may want to release I use barbless. Most of the time when I want to release a fish I just slacken the line and the fish spits the hook out without me touching the fish.
beatmakers2 years ago
great instructables man... spot on!
freeza362 years ago
Nice Coho. I was jst in Alaska not long ago and we watched some swimming uo through Kenai river.
freeza362 years ago
Nice Coho. I was jst in Alaska not long ago and we watched some swimming uo through Kenai river.
Conqured3 years ago
also you may try changing it up on the colors you use. i know some places are different but as to where im located, using the right colors of bait could also depend on how clear or murky the water is. usually the clearer the water the darker color of bait you would use. i have not done any clear stream fishing as i only know of one where i am located and fishing is prohibited but as far as river, lakes, and ponds thats always worked for me. hope that helps.
Josehf Murchison (author)  Conqured3 years ago
Small bright lures in clear water work also.

In clear water I have seen Pike follow my lure and not try to take it until I let the line go slack and as the lure falls to the bottom of the river the pike strikes.

Fish can be fickled.

Joe
hey this is very interesting Joseph
i personally can't get our local bass to touch a soft plastic so maybe adding a spinner might help :D
I looked up the fish in the land down under the fish are not that different looking than the fish in Canada.

Try soft bates that contrast with the spinners and spoons as in this pic. I like the added action of curly tailed soft bates however straight soft bates work well also.

Joe
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Hey again Joe
wow thanks for the help, maybe our bass will be interested in these! great idea :D