BOB MAINDELLE: Changing or upgrading MAL Lure hooks | Outside Sports activities


The MAL Lure was first presented to the public in the summer of 2020. This heavy rubber fish imitating inline spinner is effective when the water temperature exceeds 58 degrees.

The bait was designed to overcome the shortcomings of other commonly used baits for moderate bass (such as slabs, bladebaits, tailspinners and swimbaits), especially during the summer months.

Many anglers who are new to MAL baiting early, as well as those who use their MAL baits frequently, find that like all moving parts, hooks wear out, dull, bend, rust or break over time .

As I have spoken to MAL Lure users on the lake, on the phone, or via messages on the Texas Fishing Forum, I have found that premature hook failure or hook damage is a common occurrence when the hook is removed from a fish’s mouth.

While I’ve mentioned it many times in this column, it’s worth repeating that the best tool I’ve found for removing the MAL bait’s treble hook from a fish’s mouth is a 6 inch pair of curved tip hemostats is (some call these tweezers). These are usually available at army surplus stores and auto parts stores, as well as online.

The hemostats are far superior to needle nose forceps because the jaws are much thinner in diameter and the offset of the curved jaws prevents your own hand and the tool itself from obstructing and removing your view of the hook you are trying to grasp.

Regardless of which tool you choose, hooks will eventually need to be replaced. My goal here is to provide a guide on how to replace MAL bait hooks. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Cut off the old treble hook by using side cutters (aka Dikes) or a rotary tool (e.g. Dremel) with a cutting wheel to cut the eye of the old treble hook. Do not cut the wire loop of the

MAL Lure’s wire shaft will ruin the lure. Wear eye protection as a piece of old hook may fly through the air.

Once the cut is made, you may need to grab the eye of the hook and twist it a little so it spreads open enough to remove it from the spinner’s wire loop.

Step 2: Remove the short piece of plastic tubing from the old treble and set it aside; You will use it later.

Step 3: Slide the saved length of tubing over the shaft of your new treble hook. This hose prevents “blade bangs” so be sure to reuse it. Since the recommended replacement treble is slightly shorter than the original, you may need to trim the length of the hose slightly to allow the treble to swing freely off the split ring.

Step 4: Using split ring pliers, spread open a split ring and slide both the spinner wire loop and the new treble hook onto the split ring. Keep sliding them in the same direction until the split ring connects the new hook securely to the spinner’s wire shaft.

When considering which hook to use to replace the original, there is a bewildering array of brands and styles to choose from.

I’ve tried to simplify things by offering pre-made replacement hooks that come in packs of four. These come complete with new hose already installed and a suitably sized split ring already fitted so it is ready to be placed on the bait you wish to fix.

Anglers can go too and find there these hook sets in suitable size.

For those using the MAL Lure primarily for white bass, the size four replacement hooks are best. There are five styles on the website, which can be mixed-and-matched. There is 1) a treble hook that fits the original hook exactly, 2) a short shank hook that is designed to allow for the small amount of extra length added by the split ring needed to fit the replacement hook with the bait, 3) a 4X strong hook, 4) a 6X strong hook, and 5) a barbless hook that exactly matches the hook found on the barbless versions of the MAL lure.

I suggest using the short shank hook option.

For those using the MAL Lure primarily for hybrid stripes and striped bass, the size two spare hooks are best. Three styles that can be “mixed and matched” on the site. There is 1) a treble hook that fits the original hook exactly, 2) a short shank hook that is designed to allow for the small extra length added by the split ring needed to connect the replacement hook to the to connect bait, and 3) a 4X strong hook.

Again, I suggest using the short shank hook option.

The website restrictions show that the packs of four consist of all hook sizes and styles of the above.

If you call or text me at 254-368-7411 I will mix and match to your liking.

If you are more of a DIY enthusiast I would still encourage you to go to the website listed above as I will spell out all the part numbers you will want to use when ordering your own hooks and split rings from a supplier of your choice.

One last note – when manipulating your bait to replace the hook, don’t neglect the spinner’s shaft. It needs to be as straight as possible to allow the spinner to spin as freely as it is intended. The spinning spinner blade provides much of the bait’s attraction. So if you see the shaft is bent, simply apply some gentle hand pressure (no tools that can kink the shaft) to straighten it.

We all cut rough edges these days it seems. If you can fix an $8 lure with a $1.25 hook, tube, and split ring set, you’ve saved enough for about two gallons of gas.