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Treble hooks injure fish, anglers alike

May 1, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Snook have a fondness for long, slim, minnow type plugs that usually sport two to three treble hooks. Problem is the placement of the treble hooks on these baits and the basic shape of a snook.

These two factors often spell problems for these fish as middle treble hooks often ruin eyes and rear hooks often catch gills or covers causing damage.

The strike of a sizable tarpon on a topwater plug, or any plug at night ,is to me one of fishing's all-time greatest thrills.Trying to remove a treble hooked plug from the mouth or, much worse, the throat of a large tarpon especially at night can quickly becomes a very bad experience for both angler and fish.

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Capt. George Tunison

Wasn't long ago I was attached by two hooks of a treble to an ultra-angry twisting cobia which was not a pleasant experience. Imagine a buck-twenty-five thrashing tarpon hooked to your hand, arm, wrist, or worse, at night. Bad news!

Point is trebles are both dangerous and damaging which has led many over the years to switch trebles for single hooks, especially for plug casters that seek tarpon and large snook. Tinkerers had to contend with using single hooks with the eyes turned the wrong way for lure replacement causing the hook to hang sideways to the plug in an unnatural position.

Owner has just released their new line of ultra-strong replacement ZWIRE single hooks ranging in size from #6 all the way to 9/0 that solve many problems. MSRP for the smaller X-Strong #6 (8-pack) through 2/0 is $3.50 per pack and the XXX strong 1/0 through 9/0 is around $9 for a 9/0 3-pack.

Advertised as "more weedless than treble hooks, safer for anglers and fish alike." Try a set on your tarpon plugs this season and give the fish a break.

Safety Tip: I'm big on night fishing and casting lures for tarpon and snook. With one or more anglers in the boat this is always a dangerous proposition. By all means wear clear safety glasses at night. Thrown/casted lures or lures pulled free from snags can fly back like bullets impaling you almost anywhere.

A big ol' bug/bird in the eye at running speed can not only blind you but knock you out of the boat. In the dark you have no chance. Always wear eye protection.

How many wear the lanyard that stops the engine if you accidentally go over? I can make the length of my pool, but imagine you're brand new bay boat headed for distant shores while you try to figure out how to swim across Charlotte Harbor. Not only was the lanyard kill switch unattached, but your life vests were stowed neatly away as well.

Good luck on that swim especially at night since you have now become a large, struggling, enticing surface lure.

Worse, you were in a tight turn when a pelican slammed and tossed you out. Now you're pride and joy is bearing down on you with bad intentions because the kill switch was neglected. Being run over and chewed on by your own stainless prop is a real possibility and does happen.

I'm sure the news of such a tragic event wouldn't cause any poor battle scared manatee to lose any sleep.

Juvenile snook and redfish are under green bushes on cork rigged shrimp or ladyfish.

Use a small float, a 12-inch leader, and a small circle hook with a live/dead shrimp or ladyfish chunk. Float is optional, but it's a great sight/strike indicator for inexperienced anglers and does not bother the fish even on a short leader.

Skip casters and fly types score on these same fish with soft plastics, weedless flies, and accurate casts

Tarpon are showing up in all the usual spring spots in the river, the flats, beaches, and Boca Grande.

Catfish on the bottom, take white baits and pass crabs under a float.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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