Here’s Why You’re Missing Strikes With Inline Hooks (And How To Fix It)


So you swapped out your treble hooks for inline hooks on your topwater lures… that’s awesome!

It’s better for you (you’re less likely to get stuck) and it’s better for the fish (fewer hooks in their mouths and faces).

But sometimes when people replace their treble hooks for inline hooks they start missing strikes.

It definitely can happen and in this video, I’ll show you why it happens, as well as how to fix it.

P.S. Missing fish isn’t always bad — see why in the video!

Why You’re Missing Strikes With Inline Hooks [VIDEO]

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Here are six reasons why you’re missing strikes with inline hooks:

Reason #1: You only have two or three hook points now, instead of six or nine

Since there’s fewer hooks, it’s definitely possible that you’ll hook into fewer fish.

However, that’s not always bad news (see the next reason).

Reason #2: Smaller fish are less likely to get hooked

Since smaller fish have smaller mouths, they might not get the whole lure (and hooks) into their mouth and you may miss more of them.

However, that’s not always a bad thing since there are times when I’ve had ladyfish and small trout miss my lure, only to have a big trout or snook come get hooked.

If I had hooked into the smaller fish, I would’ve missed out on the bigger one.

Reason #3: The hooks may be installed improperly

The front hook needs to face forward and the back hook needs to face backward.

People will often have the front hook facing backward, and when that hook gets pressure on it the point is blocked by the lure and the fish won’t get hooked.

See the image at the top of this post for the correct directions these hooks should be facing.

Reason #4: The hook is too big or too small

To choose the right size inline hook, look at the original treble hooks that came with the lure.

The gap between the inline hook point and shank should be the same distance as the distance between two of the treble hook points.

 Reason #5: You have the wrong style of hook

Replacement hooks need to be inline hooks, meaning the eye is in line with the hook point, not perpendicular to it, like standard j hooks.

Also, some people put on circle hooks, which are made for live or cut bait and will definitely decrease your hookup ratio when used on a topwater lure.

Reason #6: The hook point is dull or chipped

If you get snagged on structure, such as a rock, oyster bar, bridge, or dock piling, then you might chip or dull the hook point.

Be sure to always inspect your hooks after you catch a fish or get snagged.


catch topwater trout

Single inline hooks are better for you and the fish than the standard treble hooks most hard plastic lures come with.

However, sometimes people get fewer hookups when they switch and it’s likely because of one of the reasons above.

Also, keep in mind that you may get a lower hookup ratio on small fish, but in our experience, our hookup ratio on bigger fish has essentially been the same.

You can get replacement inline hooks from our shop here.

And you can learn how to swap out treble hooks for inline hooks here.

Have any questions about using replacement hooks?

Let us know down in the comments!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Danny Trevino Trevino
Danny Trevino Trevino
1 year ago

Great info, Tony!

Herb Blake
1 year ago

I’m blown away by the amount of information! Also, the information links are very intuitive, offering more links related to the subject. I’m hooked on Salt Strong!

Richard Fiorentino
2 years ago

do you ever use 2 different size in line hooks?

Keith Donald
3 years ago

I’ve been recently impressed with BKK (out of Australia) inlines to more US-known brands Owner, VMC, and Mustad. Got introduced to them testing some bigger profile topwater and subsurface lures by Nomad Design this summer for targeting bigger fish in the early morning hours. They appear strong, anti-rust, and well-designed (large gap, easy to get on/off split rings). Inlines are the way to go IMO, trebles are just so dangerous to the fish and fisherman.

Last edited 3 years ago by Keith Donald
Bob Persan
3 years ago

Perfect time for me to chime in . i’ve been fishing in line hooks on large lures for larger fish around montauk for decades. Now that i’m learning the southern in shore tricks , i was putting the new ,VMC and Owner brands on my small lures , hoping for easier releases . Well , while i was trying to calm a 15′ puppy drum on a Small mirolure the forword hook slipped into my finger to full max. depth .the first thing that came to mind , Luke once said to de-barb hooks, Which would have been a great thing , had I done it . We used the extraction without doctor method . it could be a good trick to learn for my fellow anglers . I have since crushed the barbs on most of my lures . Thanks for your time . Good job Tony , you rock . PS, the hooks are getting sharper.

David Shetler
3 years ago

I enjoy all of your videos and tips. I am wondering when you are going to (for the sake of the fish) start pushing the use of barbless hooks. Since you mostly catch and release, it seems to me that this would tremendously reduce the stress and damage to the fish, as well as increase the challenge of landing one. So what if a few more get away before being landed. You have still had the thrill of hooking and fighting it

David Shetler

Steven Free
3 years ago

Yea Tony ever since asking you about this problem in the past and you gave me #4 reason I did it I now use a smaller hook on the front and the hooks no longer wrap around my bait and I now hook more fish thanks for all you do😁

Bob Simon
3 years ago

It’s also important to not set the hook to early. When retrieving the lure you have to wait until you feel the fish on the line. If you set at the blow-up, you will miss most fish.

Pat Ogletree
3 years ago

Good stuff Tony. What’s your thoughts on replacing hooks with three trebles? I normally get rid of the middle hook and continue as normal with the front facing front and the rear facing backwards. What do you think?

Ron Mattson
3 years ago

Thank You for the informative video. One parameter I consider when switching to in- line from trebles is the weight difference. Topwater plugs such as the Rebel 1000 series can have the action dramatically changed. Owner places the weight on the package which makes it easier to compare.


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