Ontario Fishing Network
A Case for Quality Hooks
As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same logic can be applied to fishing tackle. Many of us won't hesitate to buy quality reels, rods, line or lures, but for some reason hooks often seem to get the short-end of our spending stick. Perhaps it's their simplicity or small-size that results in anglers avoiding investing the cash for quality hooks, but they're one of the most important pieces of fishing gear you'll own.
What Makes a Quality Hook?
"Tempering is as important as carbon content," said Stallings, referring to the process of heating metal to high temperatures and then cooling it quickly to increase its strength and resiliency, two traits key to quality hooks. "Here's a tempering test: Grab a hand towel and pick up a hook by the eye. Carefully grasp the point (with the towel) and pull the point away from the eye. You should feel a little flex in the hook. This is tempering. Too little tempering means the hook will straighten easily. Too much and the hook is brittle. Perfect tempering is an exact science," he said.
Why Quality Hooks?
As TJ explains, "Hooks and fishing line are the only connection to your fish. That's just the wrong place to go cheap. Ever catch 6-7 fish and then start to miss every other one? That's a cheap hook getting dull quick. That's where cheap hooks cost and good hook pay." TJ's point not only speaks to selecting quality hooks, but is a good reminder to touch-up hooks when on the water. Rocks, wood and several fish can dull points, so sharpen often.
For example, although the style has been on the fishing scene for years, circle hooks are regaining popularity for certain live bait applications. The hook's shape the barb and point to the side of a fish's mouth, reducing the chance of gut hooking fish and making it a top-choice among catch-and-release conscious anglers.
Weighted hooks are another specialized style and more than a basic jig head. Shank-weighted hooks, like Daiichi's Butt Dragger, work wonders when rigged with soft-plastic jerkbaits to keep baits in the subsurface when quickly twitched on a retrieve. These hooks are also an excellent match when paired with a wacky-rigged soft-plastic stickbait.
A soft-plastic jerkbait rigged with Daiichi's Butt Dragger hook.
These are just two examples of some of the specialized hooks out there. Glow-painted or coloured, drop-shot, and offset hooks are other styles anglers may want to consider experimenting with this season. Quality hooks are often coated with an anti-rust corrosion treatment, making them longer-lasting than generic hooks.
Picking Quality Hooks
The author with a largemouth bass taken on a
Quality hooks stay sharper longer and provide better hooksets, while specialized hooks can give you an engineered edge to specific presentations. Consider upgrading your tackle box's hook selection this season, and don't let hooks be the weakest link in your fishing gear this season.
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