Know When to Change Hooks

Bill Lowen may love his Square Bill crankbaits, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he treats them. He bounces them off rocks and logs and stumps. Then he grinds them into the bottom. Then he exercises a wicked hookset to secure them in the lips of big fish.

The crankbaits stand up to the abuse, but eventually the hooks start to show signs of fatigue.

At a recent Elite Series event on Bull Shoals in Arkansas, the constant wear had Lowen changing out trebles on a single bait up to four times in a day. There’s no science to when he changes them, but when he “notices them getting ratty,” it’s time to get some new ones.

“I’m not a big fan of running them on a hook sharpener,” he explained. That takes valuable time away from fishing so he’d rather just quickly thread a new treble on the split ring.

“If all you’re fishing is straight wood, you may not have to change them all day, but if you’re banging them through rocks that demands more attention.”

He’ll even change out the split rings on occasion if he notices that they’re damaged, although he said that absent oddball circumstances “you have to be an animal to damage them.”

The number six trebles that come standard on the Square Bill are razor sharp and plenty durable. Additionally, they’re perfectly calibrated to make the lure run and hunt in the best possible fashion. On occasion, though, if the bass are merely swiping at the lure and not getting stuck, Lowen will upsize his trebles to a size five or even a four.

“I like the smallest hook I can get away with,” he explained. “The smaller they are, the better I can bring them through cover.” Still, when hookup percentages need to be increased, he’ll often start with just an upsized treble on the belly before changing them both.