Modifying Prawnstars
  |  First Published: May 2007

Garry Smith shares some modifications that make Prawnstars truly unbeatable.

I have been using Prawnstars ever since they arrived and have found them to be the best all-round tropical flicking lure available. They catch a huge variety of fish and are tougher than a cobia’s hide. I have never had one damaged to the point that it couldn’t be used again. There are some things about Prawnstars that I would rather change so I have made some simple alterations, which have worked very well in the tropics.

The first modification was to upgrade/upsize the hooks. They work fine straight out of the packet, but if you are like me and just love tinkering then the following may interest you.

I started by upgrading the VMC hooks by one size and this worked fine until I came across Owner trebles a few years ago. I am now a total convert. Any treble that is so sharp it nails you each time you let flesh touch hook gets my attention!

Another advantage that the super sharp Owners offer is their great construction, particularly how the gape lines up with the eye. Most other trebles are made so one of the hooks is at a right angle to the eye. I have found that this treble tends to get hung up on rocks and snags more often when used on Prawnstars.

When most hooks slide into the groove in the front of the lure, the treble has one point in the body of the lure (front or back) and one point protruding from each side. The two side trebles seem to snag more often and also aren’t as effective at hooking fish as the Owners.

Owner trebles on the other hand are made so one of the gapes lies parallel with the eye, creating a different offset. They sit in the front slot with all three points exposed, and don’t get fouled up as often and have a better hook-up rate on fish. The majority of fish are hooked on the front treble, so it makes a significant difference to how many fish make it from strike to capture.

I first realised this when fishing for tarpon and most anglers would agree that they are one of the most frustrating fish to land on lures. When I started using Owner trebles I immediately noticed that a far higher percentage of tarpon were making it to the boat. Their bony mouths and frantic aerial antics will most times dislodge trebles – that’s if you manage to hook them in first place!

I have tried 2x, 3x and 4x strong Owners on Prawnstars and have settled on 2x strong black chrome finish (Stinger trebles ST-41BC 2X). All of the others work but are a bit heavy, except for targeting large barra and fingermark on heavy braid. I have found the number 6 size to be the best for Prawnstar Juniors, though number 4 will do, especially for the front hook. The perfect set-up is a number 4 at the front and number 6 at the back. With Prawnstar Originals, number 2s front and back seems to work best. I haven’t been able to find an Owner small enough for the Shrimp.

I was discussing this topic with some other anglers recently and came across some great ideas. Paul Signitzer from Primal Fishing (Prawnstar) has found that pre-rigging them with a made up loop is great for those who like to use a clip to change lures rapidly. He suggests keeping the leader length between the lure and loop short, “as longer loops will get caught up in rod guides and inhibit casting”. Paul also provided some great images of Prawnstars with loops, other size beads and Owner hooks fitted.

Since Prawnstar thinned down the back of the lure where it bends to create the flick, there has been a problem with the lure staying bent when the knot on the back treble catches in the eye of the front one. It’s not usually a problem out of the packet but tends to happen over time when you use the lure frequently. This used to happen occasionally with the original Prawnstars but seems to be more frequent with the new moulding, especially the Junior rather than the Original. I tried changing my knot but couldn’t come up with one that I was happy with.

QFM editor Stephen Booth suggested placing coloured beads on the leader between the two hooks. This would stop the hooks from bunching together when the front hook dislodges from the slot, but I have found it has multiple advantages.

The first advantage is that the front hook dislodges far less frequently. On a recent outing it did not dislodge (except when fish were hooked) in over three hours of luring. It also completely solved the problem of the Prawnstar staying doubled over. When using red or orange beads, the Prawnstars look even more lifelike, if that’s possible, with a more realistic looking belly cavity.

There are millions of beads available, so within hours of my conversation with Stephen I had sourced the biggest craft store in Cairns and was prowling the aisles in search of the perfect bead. I soon settled on an elongated bead, rather than having to string on a few round beads each time, eventually picking a pretty orange number.

Sure enough, I ran into one of my female colleagues, who was immediately into me about my presence in a craft shop. My defence that I was looking for beads for luring brought a wry chuckle. I’m sure to hear more about it at work!

With standard trebles, the front treble has one point in the middle of the Prawnstar, either to the front or the back, and one point protruding from each side.

Placing a bead on the leader between the two hooks results in the hook dislodging far less frequently. It completely stops the Prawnstar from staying doubled over and it makes the prawn look even more lifelike, if that’s possible.

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