Red hook for fishing

A touch of red on the lures eye and throat, with TJ Stalling’s trick of a Bleeding Bait treble for the tail hook of a Rat-L-Trap, helped catch this nice bass.

Dan Galusha photo

You might have heard the old saying, “Add just a touch of class.” Well, in fishing, you may want to add “just a touch of red.”

For years, anglers have used an old stand-by color of red and white, and many crankbaits have a spot of red in the throat, gill or eye area. There are ways an angler can add red to any lure while on the water.

The two easiest items to use are a red felt tip marker, and TTI’s line of Bleeding Bait and Blood Red hooks. These can be used separately, or in combination.


Felt tip markers are easy to carry and use. There is one problem, in that they are permanent, and some times tend to bleed with soft plastic and spinnerbait/jig skirts. On slick surfaced lures, such as crankbaits, metal spoons or spinnerbait blades, the color often wears off, or can be removed with alcohol.

Another way to make the color temporary on a hard lure is by using frosted tape. The tape is placed in the area in which the color is to be applied, and the marker is then marked on the tape. Once it is to be removed, simply peal the tape off.

Areas on a lure in which the use of a marker is most effective is at the head, a spot near the front/under the belly, and a slash where gills would be found on a bait fish. It also works for adding a different type of metallic red to a silver metal spoon or spinnerbait blade.


TTI developed hooks that are the color of fish blood. They are available in the Daiichi Bleeding Bait and Tru Turn Blood Red styles. This is one of the simplest ways to add red, as hooks are a must-have item in fishing.

A combination I have found to work extremely well is a Bleeding Bait Copperhead used with a soft plastic jerk worm. This has worked best with shad type colors, especially Natural Forage Baits Green Shad.

The late TJ Stallings, who was with TTI-Blakemore, gave me another tip for using red treble hooks on a crankbait. He said to use only one red, and not to overkill by replacing both hooks with the red variety. Another instruction was to use the red hook as the tail hook if you were fishing catch-and-release. If it is used in the front, deeper hook injuries can be incurred from more violent strikes.

A technique I’ve used is to replace the front hook of a crankbait with red, and completely remove the back hook. This has been very successful when replacing the smaller front hook on a Deep Tiny N with a larger red number 6 or 4. I’ve had my best results when switching to red hooks on Rat-L-Traps in the chartreuse/black back, Sexy West and Apricot colors. Although TJ was correct in his instruction, I’ve still had positive results for releasing fish when using this “no back hook” method.

Spinnerbait anglers can use the Tru Turn Blood Red trailer hook to add the color. Again, this will work very well with lighter colors like white, white/chartreuse and shad skirts.

While on the subject of spinnerbaits, there is also the “in-between” spinner/jig called a Road Runner, which is available with red hooks. This is a lure that you may at times want to use the felt marker to color the blade, as mentioned earlier.

Not to forget the live bait fishermen, there are red hooks in several sizes, including the very popular Circle Wide Bait series. There are also red salmon egg hooks that can be used for trout or panfish, and Stand Out hooks, which can be used in a drop shot or drop jig rig with other artificial or live baits. This means something is available for all species, and for use during ice fishing as well as open water.

The next time you want to try something different, try adding “just a touch of red," and have fun experimenting.

Until next time, get out on the water, and enjoy a great day of fishing.

Dan Galusha caught his first solo fish at the age of 3, started his fishing career in 1973, and in 2012 was inducted as a Legendary Communicator in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.