I often take off the first two sets of hooks as well. I hate catching fish in the eyes or gills. Also, I take scouts and they don't need nine hooks on a lure . . . that is one for the fish and 8 more looking to snag them, their clothes, a friend, and worse yet . . . me.
I fish a lot with spoons and notice they only have a rear hook. I catch lots of fish with them as well.
Three sets of trebles is unessary for sure. Just more potential for hurting you and the fish.
I spent a couple weeks on the the Hunters Island loop and ran the old balsa husky rapala with only the rear hook (up sized by 1 size) and was really surprised at the effectiveness of just one hook.
I choose this method because I ran a line most of the time without a depth finder and didn't want to get hung up a lot knowing I would bounce bottom a lot. Plus releasing fish would be far faster and easier. Success was achieved on both accounts.
Bear in mind I was trolling and also using a rod holder and waiting for the fish to basically hook itself. I can visualize those casting and having a "hair trigger" on strikes missing some fish using a single rear hook.
I believe in the concept so much I have toyed with using a set of rear double hooks only as well as single hooks designed with the eye "in-line" so it rides upright on the lure. Such hook placements are quite common in salt water circles. The advantage is superior snag free running as well as less pulled hooks as the single or double hooks have a larger gap and therefore get a deeper bite. The disadvantage is a single hook is beefier than the thin wire of a modern treble and will require more force to set thus requiring heavier gear (say running 10lb line instead of 6 or 8lb).
If the bait has 3 treble hooks like a Rapala F-11 - I always take the treble off closest to the head of the bait (front one).
I do this for 2 reasons: 1) this is the hook that tends to get in the fish's eye; and 2) it makes removing hooks from the fish easier and also removing hooks from a landing net (especially at night or low light).
I have not noticed any difference in catch rates.
I often remove the middle hook on husky jerks. I upsize the remaining two a bit, which keeps the overall weight about the same, so it's still neutrally buoyant.
If I were to use only one treble, it would be the front one. Most (by no means all) hits are head shots. I would think not having the rear treble would affect the action, though.
schweady: "I leave 'em as is.
I leave only the back hook on...easier to release fish and save fish...I also make the back hook barbless...this has worked well for me in the Woodland Caribou and I have kept the practice going in my home waters around Hayward, Wisconsin.
I will often remove the front hook on my Salmo Hornets (and upsize by one size the rear hook). I've also played around with replacing the treble hooks with single hooks (some trout streams I've been on require it). My grandpa always took the front hook off on his Lazy Ike's (don't know why), and I know he caught a lot of walleyes on them.
I have noticed a different in hook-up % with the single non-treble hook, but I haven't noticed anything when leaving a single treble hook on the lure.
Ask yourself, “If 3 trebles are superior, why isn’t everyone doing it?”
Don't do it. I did it last spring, imaging June fishing would as it often is: easy like Sunday morning. But it wasn't and whereas I wouldn't mind losing 50 fish when I get 150 hits, losing 15 fish when you're getting 45 hits was a big deal. Of course, I was also barbless and the hits were in howling wind.
old_salt: "While I’m sure the folks at Rapala would advise against it, if a lure has 3 trebles, that’s 1 too many, IMO. I always remove the middle one. I don’t think I’ve lost any fish with this modification. They run just fine. While I don’t have a tank, I can see them quite well in clear lakes. Removing the middle treble allows me to carry more baits, tangles less, and I’ve never been hooked on the middle treble. I really don’t know why Rapala insists on them, but it probably has to do with marketing."
I always remove the middle hook if there are 3. I have found that a fish either gets the front or back hook no matter where they hit it. The only thing the 3rd hook does is get hopelessly tangled in the net and give me 3 more chances to have it embedded in my hand.
While I’m sure the folks at Rapala would advise against it, if a lure has 3 trebles, that’s 1 too many, IMO. I always remove the middle one. I don’t think I’ve lost any fish with this modification. They run just fine. While I don’t have a tank, I can see them quite well in clear lakes. Removing the middle treble allows me to carry more baits, tangles less, and I’ve never been hooked on the middle treble. I really don’t know why Rapala insists on them, but it probably has to do with marketing.
If I remember past threads the main reason for removing hooks was to make it easier to remove them from a fish without getting yourself hooked. I don’t remove any hooks because I do think it changes the action.
I leave only the back hook on my Rapalas & have been for fifteen years or so. I've never noticed a difference in their fish-catching ability, though I've done no rigorous double-blind studies.
Does it change the action? I'm sure any change to any lure changes the action somewhat, but I still add plastics to my spinnerbaits & change out treble hooks for different sizes or metals.
I'm more concerned about the effect of all the extra hooks on fish. Long, long ago I killed a 10 1/2 lb. 30 inch + walleye when she got the front hook in the side of the mouth & the back hook buried in her gills. That bummed me out & along with all the extra hooks in the backcountry, led to my decision to lighten the hook load.
Rapala really fine tunes their lurers to the smallest detail any modification will likely affect performance.
I leave 'em as is.
Go to the Rapala web page and look at a particular lure in question. There is a video of each one as it runs in the water. The treble hooks lend a great way to the action of each lure. They also make a noise as they go back and forth, kind of like ringing the dinner bell. Each hook has a split ring that lets the hook swing. The extra hooks also has a flash if they are Crome. Why would anyone want to change what the fishing guru’s at Rapala tuned the lure at? I have seen the tuning tanks on TV that they use to test every lure. Don’t mess with success. I would not remove any of the hooks on a Rapala IMO.
Did a search old posts suggest removing the front and/or middle treble hooks from rapala type lures. Some newer posts suggest this changes the lure action.
What are your current practices?