The world of treble hooks can be a confusing one, even to the experienced angler. Manufacturers offer a wide range of models, including round bends, EWG’s, beaks, heavy wire and light wire–not to mention different colors and barb sizes. Jerkbaits–specifically Megabass jerkbaits–require very specific hooks to maximize the performance of each lure.
Katsuage hooks are made of a strong, light-wire, and are extremely sharp. They penetrate easily, and are designed to penetrate the soft hinge area of the jaw and hold.
The weight of the Katsuage treble hooks is very important, especially on the Vision Oneten, X-80 Trick Darter and the Live-X Revenge. These lures suspend perfectly out of the box, and any upgrades to a larger or thicker diameter hook will affect the lure’s factory settings.
The same goes with the rest of the Megabass jerkbait line. Out of the box, the Vision Oneten Magnum is tuned for near-perfect suspension, with an incredibly slow rate of rise. The Vision Oneten is the Slow-Float/Suspend model everyone knows, and exhibits different characteristics at different water temperatures. Float rates can also be almost imperceptibly affected by the color pattern of the lure, with heavier coats of paint slightly increasing weight.
There are two main factors you must consider when choosing the best treble hook for a Megabass jerkbait:
First, the suspend/float/sink goal you have. This will largely be determined by water temperature and water visibilities.
For example, if you want the Vision Oneten to suspend perfectly, or slightly rise, you must stay with the light-wire Katsuage hook. Any upgrade to say a no. 4 or 6 Gamakatsu round bend, will cause the lure to sink. You will find the Magnum floats up a bit quicker than the Vision Oneten, so it may be possible to upgrade to two no. 4 or 5 roundbend Gamakatsu’s and still have those two baits suspend.
Second, the rate at which you plan on working your jerkbait. If you are working the lures at a fairly rapid pace, with not much of a pause between jerks, the hook size and diameter become less important. You can then upgrade to a larger hook, because your rod inputs keep the lure from sinking.
But remember, no matter what, the action of the lure will be affected to some degree when you upgrade to larger hooks simply because you are adding weight.
Personally, I use the Katsuage hooks over 80% of the time. I have caught numerous bass over 8 pounds on these hooks, and also landed a 35 lb. Striper on Beaver lake with the no. 6 Katsuage hooks on a Vision Oneten. Once these hooks penetrate, they rarely come out. Not because of the barb size (which is small on purpose to help with penetration), but due to the non-rounded design of the hook itself. Although it is a light wire model, the hook is fairly difficult to straighten out, unless a tremendous amount of pressure is exerted on it.
Another reason I like the Katsuage hooks is the fact I fish Megabass jerkbaits on light line most of the time–usually 6 to 10lb. test. Personally, I think this is a big key to being successful with Megabass jerkbaits. Since I don’t exert much hook-setting power with this light line, I really depend on the sharpness and small diameter of the Katsuage hook to do that for me.
However, I do upgrade the hooks on my Megabass jerkbaits when I am fishing the lure at a fast pace. Most of the time, I do this when water temperatures are up over 60 degrees, and particularly when fishing for smallmouth or spotted bass. Under these conditions, I like to go with a no. 5 round bend Gamakatsu treble hook on the front and back hook hangers. On the middle, I keep the stock no. 6 Katasuage hook. Also, if I am hooking a lot of fish towards the rear while working the lure at a fast pace, I will go with a red hook on the first hanger, which seems to give the bass a better target.
Overall, my advice to any Megabass user would be to stay with the stock Katsuage hooks. This was the hook that Megabass founder and Oneten designer Yuki Ito created specifically for this lure.
The key is to make sure your hooks are in top condition. If one of the points gets dull from a rock, or straightens out a bit from being hung up, replace it immediately with a new one.
In review, here are my specific suggestions for each Megabass jerkbait:
1. Vision 110: stay with stock Katsuage hooks all the time, unless you are working the lure with no pauses at a fast pace. Then, upgrade to a no. 5 Gamakatsu round bend on the front and back, keeping the stock hook in the middle.
2. Silent Riser: Stay with stock hooks, and use suspend strips to weight the lure to your float/suspend goals. Upgrade to a no. 4 round bend Gamakatu on the front and back hangers, and keep the stock hook in the middle when fishing the lure fast or in stained water. This setup will still allow the Silent Riser to float very slowly.
3. Magnum 110 SD and F: Stay with the stock no. 4 Katsuage hooks at all times. They are perfect for any situation.
4. Live-X Revenge and X-80 Trick Darter: stay with the stock Katsuage hooks with both of these lures. Any upgrade will cause the lure to sink, and negatively affect the action of the lure.
5. Live-X Margay: the Margay will sink with two no. 6 Katsuage hooks. Stock, they come with two no. 8 trebles, that are unsuited for tournament bass fishing. Since the no. 6 Katsuage is the lightest hook you can buy with similar bite diameter, I use these despite the fact they cause the lure to sink, and fish the lure a bit faster to compensate.
Replacement Katsuage hooks in the no. 6 and no. 4 sizes can be found at your nearest Megabass dealer, or ordered online through the Pro Shop.