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How to Modify the Canal Magic Swimmer

Ryan Collins

The canal magic swimmer will always have a spot in my tackle bag, because it has proven itself as a reliable lure not just on Cape Cod, but also in Costa Rica.

The magic swimmer can catch a multitude of different fish species, because it imitates a wide array of different types of baitfish - from menhaden to mullet, mackerel to sardines.

However, the stock split rings and treble hooks that come with the canal magic swimmer are not strong enough to withstand the pressures exerted by a big striped bass or roosterfish. 

In addition, large treble hooks can do a lot of damage to the fish, and decrease the odds of a healthy release. Treble hooks can also get embedded in your finger or hand as you attempt to unhook a thrashing fish.


Magic Swimmer Video Lesson

Today's video lesson covers a simple modification you can make to your magic swimmers, which will dramatically increase the chances of a healthy release, and decrease the chances of your hand getting hooked. 

Members of My Fishing Cape Cod can watch the video lesson by clicking play below (just make sure you are logged-in to the website). If you are not yet a member of My Fishing Cape Cod, you can sign up here.

Below are links to each of the items I recommend in the video lesson. If you are a member of My Fishing Cape Cod, you can use your Canal Bait & Tackle discount code to receive 10% off each of these items.

Use your member-only discount code to receive 10% off

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  1. Thank you Ryan. The video was very informative, and I will be changing my swimmers over this week. Just one question, where do you get the hooks? Thanks so much again.

    1. Sounds good Garry 👍🏻

      Canal Bait & Tackle usually has plenty >

  2. I watched an interesting John Skinner video this past week whereby he tested switching out treble hooks for inline singles on a topwater plug (not a swimmer) and he missed the hit on every fish. He had the belly hook facing forwards and the tail hook facing up. Check it out. I’m torn?

    1. Thanks for sharing Robert. I have not done any “scientific tests” to know for sure, but I think that could be a fun thing to do this coming season.

      Overall I feel you’ll probably hook more fish with trebles, but the trebles may also do more damage to the fish. Inline singles will make it easier to release the fish, which is definitely good if you are catching mostly schoolies.

      Thanks for chiming in and I’ll be interested to test (or maybe some members here on MFCC will test it for us) all these different hook modifications this coming year.

  3. I have changed to single inline hooks on most of my Magic Swimmers. I put the middle hook facing down and the tail hook facing up. This should allow hooking a fish that attacks from either above or below. Having said that, maybe it would be better to point the tail hook down when using a plug that swims on or just below the surface.

    1. Hey Dex – maybe this would make for a good “scientific test” for you to conduct during the 2018 season!?

  4. ? Most hook replacement videos show hook up. But if you look at custom plug builders they are predominately hook down. Is this dependent on the plug. i.e.. minnow plugs like sp minnows vs wooden surf plugs such as dannys and surfeiters?

    1. I would be merely speculating if I said I knew for sure. However I have been thinking about it, and with the slow sinking magic swimmer (which is basically a surface lure) I feel having the hook down would probably make the most sense – because the majority of fish will be attacking coming up from below.

  5. Thanks for the video. For some reason, I am interested in this just now. . One question, if I’m not mistaken, you attached the hooks initially with the point facing backwards (and upwards, on the tail hook). then when you showed the closeup they were facing forward (and downward on the tail hook). I’m guessing that the latter is the better option, right?

    1. I’m honestly not sure Jim. I have seen it rigged up differently many times, however I have never done any sort of “scientific test” to see what is best.

      I will add this though….

      Before this Costa Rica trip I purchased a Yo Zuri plug which had the tail hook rigged facing upwards – so at least the guys from Yo Zuri must think that is best.

  6. Loved the video on rigging the Magic Swimmer, especially your workshop! Looks to be a beautiful and relaxing place.

    1. It definitely is a great workshop. Terrific venue for creating videos!

  7. Also, here’s quick fishing report from the first few days in Costa Rica…

    I have fished the beach for two days straight, at sunrise, midday and at sunset. So far I’ve seen a few crevalle jacks, potentially a roosterfish, and last night a big pacific black snook.

    The snook was corralling sardines which were jumping for their lives in a desperate attempt to avoid being eaten. It was quite the sight with a huge whitewater explosion as the snook attacked the school of sardines.

    Over the past 48 hours I’ve had two good bites but I have missed the hookset on both fish. I also had a few fish chase the plug into the beach. Lauren also believes she saw what could of been a roosterfish in the waves.

    So I will keep trying! Hopefully I will have some good news to report very soon.

    1. I have removed the rear treble from many of my plugs … sebiles, sp minnows, poppers, … if I replace the belly trebles with an in line single, should I add a hook back on the tail?


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