What Are Stinger Hooks? When Should You Add One?
During a Fish’n Canada shoot in Saskatchewan, host Pete Bowman found that the Northern Pike were short-striking his bait, resulting in a frustrating number of missed fish. “These Pike are loving our swimbaits,” says Pete in the episode, “so a complete bait change isn’t necessary. It’s just a simple modification: adding a stinger hook.”
For a 5″ swimbait like Pete and his guest Rob Schulz were using on this particular shoot, Pete normally uses a #4 or #2 treble hook.
“There are two ways of rigging it,” he explains. “If you are using a jig head with your swimbait, simply put the eye of the treble over the main hook and then attach a plastic keeper like a piece of surgical tubing to secure it in place.
“If you are using a weedless rigged swimbait with a wide gap hook, then before you put the main hook through the swimbait, put the treble eye over the main hook, add your keeper, and then push the wide gap hook through the bait as you normally would.
“The addition of this extra hook, when the fish are short-striking, should make the world of difference.”
A Simple Equation
It’s important to note, however, that when the Pike are aggressive and inhaling your swimbait, you should never add the treble hook. Reason one, there’s really no need. And reason two, big fish could easily choke down that bait—deep.
It’s a simple fishing equation. Let the fish tell you whether to add a stinger or not.
For more information, check out the full Fish’n Canada episode, “Short Strike Monsters.”
This isn’t the first time Pete has demonstrated the importance of a stinger hook. In this outtake from the popular Fish’n Canada episode, “All Access Smallmouth,” Pete describes the importance of adding a stinger to your spinnerbait when fishing for smallies.
“Never throw a spinnerbait for Smallmouth without a stinger hook,” Pete says. “Just don’t do it.”