Some fishermen are big believers in kahle hooks for speckled trout when fishing with live bait under popping corks — while others favor circle hooks, live bait hooks or treble hooks to get the job done.

You can put Capt. Tommy Pellegrin, with Custom Charters in Houma, La., squarely on the treble hook side of the aisle.

“I use No. 3 or 4 Mustad KVD UltraPoints. They’re a wider-gap treble hook,” Pellegrin said. “The deal with the treble hook is its small profile. You’re putting it in a shrimp that’s got a barb — he’s got a point on his tail and a point on his head. 

“So the trout expects a point, but it doesn’t expect a long-shank point like a Kahle or a wide gap hook will have.”

Treble hooks are admittedly tougher to remove from fish, and good pliers are a must onboard, but Pellegrin likes the idea of losing fewer fish.

“With the smaller treble hook, they can eat it and it’s down in their throat and typically won’t come out,” he said. “The wide-gap hooks typically hook in the lip, and that’s where they tear out more.”

In combination with the treble hook and live shrimp, Pellegrin is a big fan of a longer leader, closer to 3 feet instead of the more typical 18-inch to 2-foot variety.

“I like a long leader because that way the shrimp can jump and move,” he said. “With a short leader, he can’t do too much. But with a long leader, he’s almost free swimming. 

“You’re putting him in the zone and he’s free swimming on 3 feet of leader, jumping and doing whatever shrimp do to run away. All that does is attract the fish; they can’t stand it.”

With live croakers, he stays with the treble hook — often in combo with a sliding cork rig to keep the croaker positioned about a foot off the bottom.

“That’s where he’s heading to hide, and he’s trying to get down there. He’s stressed,” Pellegrin said. “So what does a fish eat? They want a stressed-out bait. The croaker is trying to fight to get down there, and the trout hear that and come running.

“That’s the beauty of the sliding cork, because you can put that bait just off the bottom.”