Reviewed by : CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
I was dumbfounded when read the news release about Mustad’s new treble hooks. Sure, Mustad makes some of the highest quality hooks available. I’ve probably caught hundreds or thousands of fish on Mustad hooks, including their trebles and with a failure rate so low, it ranks with being struck by lightning. The new trebles, according to the release, were better because they are the first treble hooks ever to be machine welded.
If you’ve never given much thought to how a treble hook is constructed, realize it starts with two pieces of hook-wire. The longer piece is bent to form a double hook with a line-tie eyelet at the top. The shorter length of wire is bent into a single hook with no eye. Then the single hook is welded, brazed or soldered to the double hook to make a treble hook.
I’m sure there are numerous other steps, making the point and barb, tempering the wire and sharpening. Let’s dwell on the machine weld.
Think of all the millions of treble hooks ever made or even just made each year. Who knew each one of them was welded together by hand? There’s a job I’d never like. I don’t know if the hook welders are paid by the hour, if it’s piece-work, no matter – it would be a tedious job that I imagined had long ago been handed over to a robot.
In most industries, from building bicycles to tanks, most of the welding is not done by a human, other than a human turns on the machine and monitors the work. It’s quicker, cheaper and most of all ensures the products are stronger since there’s no chance for human error with the weld.
Like I said, however, I’ve never had a treble hook become “unwelded” but according to Victor Cook, one of the Directors at Mustad, the machine welding isn’t as so much to make the JAW LOK stronger as much as to ensure consistency from hook to hook to hook. Each weighs exactly the same, each weld looks like the previous weld and the next one will also be perfect. Each line-tie eyelet is perfectly aligned; each hook is angled a perfect 120 degrees from the others. JAW LOKS come in either 3X or 4X strengths with no appreciable increase in weight.
This is most important for crankbait users fishing for salmon and steelhead. The weight and size of the hooks on a crankbait are a part of the lure’s balance and when it comes to balance, a slight weight difference in the hooks can be a fish-catching difference. Ever wonder why anglers can end up with a few battle-scarred plugs that reliably out produce others which are the exact same model, size and color? It could be the balance and a simple hook switch might tip the scales. Add to this the JAW LOKs have a Titan Steel black coating to provide much more corrosion resistance than the black nickel coating typically used on other brands. For now, Mustad JAW LOKs have to be ranked with the absolute best treble hooks on the market, winning awards at the ICAST show last summer and the European EFTTEX Digital Showcase last November. If you demand the best, you need not look any further. JAW LOKS are widely available, check them out at www.mustad-fishing.com