Use Stinger Hooks-Catch More Fish

I’m all about hook’n ‘em in the face, in the face – Go Treble!

Fish can't talk, but they have a way of telling you what they want. When fish start “pulling down your pants” i.e. pulling your soft bait halfway down the hook or skinning your minnow, I give 'em what I want—a stinger hook in the roof of their mouth!

There are times when a stinger hook behind a jig is the best way to put walleyes in the boat. Typically, it's the cold-weather and cold-water seasons in early spring and late fall when fish are lethargic.

Those sluggish 'eyes want to eat that tipped 3/8- to 1-ounce jig you're bouncing along the bottom, but they aren't aggressive enough to suck it in. Adding a treble stinger hook can make all the difference. There are a couple of ways to do that.

I have a box of go-to cold-water jigs with built-in stingers. The components are important. I want line that has some stretch but isn't so limp that it drags along underneath the jig, like 10-pound Berkley Trilene XT. Then I want a stinger that has a short shank and light-wire, round-bend hooks because they give you the best chance to stick that walleye good.

I use a multitude of trebles depending on the conditions. No. 10 BLEEDING BAIT Finish (blood red) Trebles from Daiichi in some cleaner water situations where they sometimes make a difference; J-B Lures Glow Trebles in dirtier water where the glow-enhanced colors make the presentation even more visible and attractive; and a No. 10 light-wire round bend for snaggy situations.

I try to make my stingers long enough so they extend about an inch or so behind the tail of the jig. I lay the stinger on the collar of the jig when I'm tying it and then wrap the jig with thread as usual. You can double the stinger mono back as you wrap or tie a half-hitch into it and it will never pull loose.

You'll want a few pre-tied stingers, too, for situations where you want to add them to combinations like jig heads tipped with plastic or live bait. Tie the same stinger, but add a loop knot on the end to slip over the jig hook. You can also take the loop knot (or replace it with a small split ring) and dip it in soft rubber that you coat plier handles with and that will help hold it in place on the hook.

One last tip ... don't bury the treble of your stinger into the minnow unless you are fishing in gnarly cover or an area with a lot of debris. Otherwise, let it dangle. With 10-pound Berkley XT, it'll ride right behind the main body of the jig and when that 10-pound walleye makes a half-hearted effort to suck in the presentation, she may not get the whole jig in her mouth, but with the stinger, she'll be in for a little surprise!

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