Accessorize for appeal

Replacing the rear treble on a popping bait with a hook-and-feather can add to its attraction for bass.

Topwater baits inherently rely on impersonating a wounded, disoriented or otherwise vulnerable baitfish for their bass appeal. However, a little accessorizing can further advance the interest, and bass pros are quick to change the baits from their out-of-the-box look.

Feathered hooks are an option, and bass pro Bernie Schultz of Florida said it’s more than just surface-level aesthetics.

“When you pull a lure with a feathered treble through the water, those feathers contract,” Schultz said. “Then, when you pause the lure, the feathers expand, or breathe. That gives makes the lure look like it’s alive, and that’s what triggers strikes.”

Arkansas pro Scott Suggs agrees with this visual attraction, but he likes a feather on his topwater baits because he finds that sometimes a non-committal fish that just boils or blows at a bait might actually push the back end of the bait forward, thereby decreasing its hooking potential. A feather, Suggs notes, adds drag on the hook so it’s not so easily displaced. And keeping the bait properly aligned, keeps that rear treble on the job.

Casey Ashley from Donalds also tinkers with the hooks of his XCalibur Zell Pop, but only to replace the front hook with a red hook. He said it gives the fish an aiming point, something specific to target so they’re less likely to short strike the bait.

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