Sharpen Your Hooks Myth

by Tony Bishop on February 20, 2006

It is amazing how some tackle myths persist way past their use-by date.

A case in point is contained in this article Sharpen Hooks
This advice is so out-of-date, by twenty or so years.

Books and articles sadly written just two or three years ago still contain encouragement to sharpen hooks before fishing with them. ‘No hook is sharp enough to fish straight out of the packet’ is the advice. If you use ‘laser’ or ‘chemically’ sharpened hooks which have been around for twenty something years now, this advice is bad. In most cases trying to sharpen chemically or laser sharpened hooks will actually blunt them.

Chemically sharpened and laser sharpened hooks are made in much the same way. Once the hook is formed, the points are treated with a chemical and then introduced to a laser beam, or other control source, which wears away the metal leaving a very sharp point. Mechanical methods cannot get the hook any sharper.

If you do sharpen non-laser or non-chemically treated hooks there are a number of factors to bear in mind.

All sharpening produces heat. Too much heat will reduce the temper of the hook and can soften the point. This can lead to points bending over, or breaking off. It is important when sharpening hooks to use a slow stroke with the file or stone.

Be careful not to remove too much metal from the point. There is a fine line, no pun intended, between a sharp point and a weak point. It is too easy to think of a hook point as always being pulled into a fish in a straight-line pull. However, this is not always true. Many times the pull is at an angle to the point. If there is not enough metal in the point it can break off or bend over.

One piece of advice about sharp hooks worth following is to check each hook before using it to ensure an un-sharpened hook has not sneaked through the manufacturer’s Quality Control systems.

For more information on hooks in general see this:The Sharp End

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