Aaron Martens feathers topwaters, jerkbaits, swimbaits and more for added appeal and action on fishing lures / David A. Brown

Feather Your Fishing Lures for More Bites on Swimbaits, Jerkbaits and Topwaters

Aaron Martens explains his feather system for hard fishing lures.

Fishing phenom Aaron Martens applies legendary pickiness to every aspect of his game and that includes the feathered trebles that often accent his bass fishing hard baits. For starters, the bass fishing pro from Alabama has tried multiple dressing materials, but he’s found that chicken feathers best suit his preference for density and action on a treble-hooked hard lure.

Martens ties his feathers on medium-heavy Gamakatsu G Finesse trebles, which feature tournament grade wire and a Nano smooth coat finish for better penetration. To keep the profile minimal, he secures the feathers with a couple of wraps with 10-pound braid. 

Noting that a medium thickness is his most common style, Martens will occasionally switch to a beefier feather to address specific scenarios.

Size of your feathered treble can impact action favorably and negatively / David A. Brown

Size options

“If I want a bigger, bulkier splash for aggressive fish on a topwater, I’ll use a full size, thick feather because it moves more water,” he said. “Also, if the water is dirty, or if the fish are eating shad, a big white feather can get their attention.”

Length also matters, and while a full feather imparts the most pulsing action, that aft attraction may work against him. Specifically, when fish are short striking his baits, Martens finds that trimming the feather to just below the hook bend often pulls the fish close enough for a hookset.

Tactically, Martens uses feathers to hide his hooks in clear water. The added drag, he said, sweeps a hook backward and tucks it against the bait’s belly (front hook of a swimbait or jerkbait) or raises it parallel with the tail (rear hook of a topwater).

With poppers the right amount of feather can stabilize a popper for an effective forward pull. Martens is careful to avoid overkill, though, as too much feather will slow down a walking bait.

Feathered trebles for bass fishing are a big deal to Aaron Martens / David A. Brown

Color selection

As for colors, Martens’s most common feather pattern is chartreuse and white with a little Flashabou accent. Excelling in darker, stained water or under cloudy skies, this color also tempts fish in clear conditions. Martens other feather favorites:

  • Green — A good all-around color that performs well in lightly stained to clear water.
  • White with silver Flashabou — A good bet for late fall and winter, when flashy, chrome baits excel. If the fish are targeting bait schools, that shiny accent fits the scene.
  • White with black Flashabou — Martens mostly uses this specialized look for reaction bites in low-light periods. For example, if the fish are eating bugs or critters in shallow water, Martens feels those dark streaks can often help sell the ruse.

Carrying several dozen feathered treble hooks at any given time, Martens keeps his sizes easily reachable in a sectioned tackle tray with labeled slots.

Feathered treble hooks get put on topwaters commonly but people forget swimbaits and jerkbaits for hiding hooks in clear water / David A. Brown

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