I know I wrote about this the last year we were 12 miles out on Lake Erie, but it has been a few years now and well worth bringing back for a refresher. If you have been fishing with Jigging Raps for a while now you may notice the difference in the size of the belly treble hooks from those older ones and the newer ones available now. Often you do catch walleye on that treble, specially with the larger sizes like #7 and #9, so it just makes sense to go bigger to increase your catch rates.
The difference in size is actually quite a bit as it better shown in the hooks above in the two pictures. Are the red hooks a must, definitely not, but I actually bought them to match up with a different application I was working on while fishing the Saginaw River last month. The process of switching out the hooks is fairly easy but I did run into one speed bump while making the transition.
With the Jigging Raps themselves there is a difference in the ease of switching out the trebles. Painted versus chrome bodies, both were easy to take off the smaller, older trebles, but there is a big difference while trying to snap in the new, bigger sized hooks. With the painted bodies like the Glow Tiger above, there is not as much clearance between the body as there is with the chromed Jigging Raps. The gap was just a small enough due to the paint to make it a bit of a hassle.
For a minute I thought I would just have to put the smaller trebles back on and deal with it. Then I noticed some of the Jigging Shad Raps in my box. All of their trebles were attached to the body with the use of small split rings. Problem solved, on went the bigger hooks and they have a little extra swing action to boot while tipping with a minnow head.
Most of my #3 Jigging Raps are fairly new so those hooks were already the correct size to match up with the body. Only a few like retired Rainbow Trouts needed to be switched over to a size 12 hook. The number 5’s got the upgrade to #10’s. Quick tip for those that jig in open water with stinger hooks and plastics or livebait, ever have your leader get shredded to the point where you can no longer use them? The hooks are fine though, so keep them stored away and if you ever need to replace your belly trebles, you are good to go instead of running out to the store. Number 8 hooks are perfect for the #7 baits and are a breeze to switch out.
Besides a tetanus shot, you will need one or two small pair of needle nose pliers or manipulating the trebles into place. For those few occasions a good pair split ring pliers will come in handy too. Usually you can get by with the needle nose pliers, but these small split rings are tight so use the right tool for the job.
Once you make the upgrade and switch out the sizes, you will definitely notice a difference in your catch rates.