Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sharp hook test

Sharp hooks make a huge difference in smallmouth bass fishing.
Whenever I miss or lose a fish I should have caught, it usually comes down to two things: trying to do too much at once, or a bent/dull hook.

Both are controllable. The first is what most anglers concentrate on. A lot of mistakes can be made up for if you always have the sharpest hooks.

The first thing to check is to see if your hook is sharp. Most hook manufacturers provide you with a very sharp hook right out of the package, its well worth checking because many do not. Check and see if your hook is sharp, gently draw the point of the hook across your fingernail. If the point digs in and leaves a mark it is sharp. If the hook does not dig in to your nail then you need to spend a few seconds sharpening it or you risk not getting a good solid deep hookset, often making the difference between “hooking” and actually “landing” your fish.

This is especially so with treble hooked lures. The competing directions of pull and line force point can serve to lose you that fish if the treble points don't dig deep! Needle sharp here or prepare for heartbreak.

How to sharpen your hook:

Firmly hold your hook

Draw your file across the barb toward the point. Repeat this stroke several times while making sure you hold the file at the same angle each time.

Repeat the same strokes on the other side.

Make a few final strokes on the bottom of the point. This will form a triangular point.

I carry extra Gamakatsu trebles in size 4 and 6 for quick on stream changeout. With topwater lures like Sammy and crankbaits it makes all the difference.

Good luck

Edited to add- Always down towards the hook point. Imagine the microscopic 'burs' in the metal you are creating. By going up the metal you actually are making it easier for these burs to catch on fish skin retarding hook penetration. By going down, the burs will be in the opposite direction of penetration. Similar to the direction of the barbs.

Also, remember many chemically treated hooks like Gamakatsu lose their metal coating when you sharpen them. Once you sharpen chemically treated hooks they maybe should just be discarded or treated as a normal brand.


  1. Very nice points. I used to wade with
    containers that would allow water in my tackle and would rust my hooks. Now I carry everything in a dry pack, and keeping the hooks in better condition has made a big difference.

  2. I know I don't pay enough attention to my hooks. Good reminder.

  3. I use those silicon packs you get in shoe boxes to absorb moisture.

    If the stuff gets wet, leave it open overnight and you are golden. Sealed tackle in wet containers are bad.