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Hook Pulls - Angle hook penetration!

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I am either being really stupid for missing the obvious or have hit in something really profound that I have never seen discussed before regarding the relative angle of a hook hold.

I have been thinking about it because I have recently had several hook-pulls close to the net.

I'll try to explain it but if a sketch is required I am happy to provide.

These days we are all trying for a hook hold in the bottom of the mouth close to the lip - right? Now lets consider what happens from start to finish -

The pick-up: The fish is pricked, bolts, and the weight of the rig/lead pulls the hook in. At this point the angle of penetration is from BELOW and the line across the bottom lip.

Playing, Stage 1: As soon as the rod is picked up this angle of pressure pivots to the SIDE and the line is across the scissors of the mouth. This rotates from SIDE to SIDE as the fish kites from one side to the other. No problem until the fish comes from (say) 20 yards out the the net.

Playing Stage 2: I'm thinking that this is were it all gets really iffy because the angle of pressure changes to ABOVE, the hook rotates from side to side and the line slides from scissors to scissors across the top lip. Because the carp's top lip protrudes over the bottom and the hook is jiggling from side to side there could be a tendency to work the hook out.

I'm fishing a French lake with a barbless rule and these hook-pulls seem to have coincided with switching from very short shank wide gape to medium length curved shank hooks.

An ideas?

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Rule number one, just because they are fresh out of the packet, it doesn't mean the hooks are sticky sharp, so try to make sure that ever rig you cast in has a sticky sharp hook.


To be honest it is speculated that barbless hooks, do come in and out of a fishes mouth multiple times throughout the fight, and a lot of anglers would advocate the use of barbed but if that is banned on your water, try setting your rigs so you dump the lead, so your in direct contact with the fish and not the lead and fish. A wider gape hook naturally has a bit more room for fixing into a fishes mouth, you could also try a curve shank hook, once in its hard for the fish to get rid of as it has to curve to come out.

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I've read your post .....


Hookholds on bottom lip is good but not essential ..,,


How many times have you played a carp heart in mouth only to find that it's well and truly hooked and was never coming out :roll:


On the flip side the best fish I've had this year was a belting fight but lightly hooked :?


Now you've said that you've lost a few at the net lately ... Is that a new thing ?


It may be that your on a bad run :?


If its worked for you before it will do again ... I think we're all guilty of dropping a few and the way you fight fish shouldn't come into it .... I think we all have our own style of fighting fish and no matter how much we try and change it in the heat of battle we all revert to how we deal with things ....


Keep at it hook pulls no matter how heartbreaking happen :D


I did a lot on commercials over the years and learnt to watch the rod when fighting fish on barbless ..... If there's a healthy bend in your rod it shouldn't matter how much of a hole there is in the hook hold ....

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Thanks for that Guys, very interesting.

Some supporting facts -

In my last 5 trips to different French I have had (guessing) around 50 carp, including 2 PB 50's, and not had one single hook pull.

When I got the first one I couldn't believe it, almost at the net and I never even saw the fish.

The following day the same thing happened - soul destroying!

Previously I used No.4 short shank barbless with a bit of shrink tube.

I had switched to No.6 long-shank curved barbless with no shrink tube.

I was fishing Les Kaolins, where the fish are numerous and inclined to be smaller because it has only just been stocked, 25lb - 30lb but always the chance of a 40lb +.

So I'll switch back to the No.4 SS for my next trip and see what happens.


Something else that may be relevant. I'm a website designer and promoter and Les Kaolins are my clients.

Les K only opened this year, so I am very interested in results and the owners call me frequently. All groups are currently reporting numerous hook-pulls; some anglers are experiencing up to 50%. I'm really wondering if they might have got the rules wrong - barbless or crushed barb (????? - I never heard that one before).

Perhaps they should change this to barbless or micro-barb?

The Les K complex comprises ancient kaolin pits. This kaolin clay is really weird stuff, very soft, not clingy like normal clay, with lots of shiny gritty particles and alive with bloodworms.

I'm thinking that the fish may have very soft mouths and that could be the problem - so what's the solution there?

I have to admit that I never thought of this before and never looked; I just check the hook-hold (always perfectly just behind the bottom lip) and my barbless hook slides out easily, so I just didn't look for anything else.

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it may be down to the fact that carp can feed differently from water to water. for instance i have a group permit for a some lakes local to me. the fish are of the same strain the 2 lakes that i fish are no more than 50metres apart. ive been on 1 of the lakes for a few seasons so last year tried the other lake. went on there with the rig thats done me really well on the other lake which was 10 inch of jelly wire,inch stripped back tied to a fox arma point Ls size 6. now the first few fish i caught the hook fell out whilst in the net and then i had a hook pull. i then changed to a korda wide gape size 6 :shock: and then never had another hook pull. now this weekend i went back to the old lake for a change and had 3 takes. the first 2 on wide gapes which done me well last year on the 2nd lake were only just hooked so decided to use the fox Ls rig that i used to use on this lake and the 3rd caught on this rig was nailed :? .

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Thanks emmcee, very interesting.

Just one question: Did you notice any difference to the mouth tissue of the carp in the different lakes? Even though they are the same strain their mouths could be very different due to the bottom make up.

I'm sure, that if you could find twin brothers, one who worked in a bank and the other was a bricklayer, they would have very different skin on their hands.

Of course there could be a difference to the way your carp picked up the bait - in which case my theory is FUBAR.


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Fish lost at the net to me usually points to one thing; trying to force the fish in, putting more pressure than you should in trying to get it into the net quickly.


Allow them a little more time playing around before (or attempting to) net them.


With barbless hooks as you net them, there always seems to be a time when you have a little slack as you move the net into position (not intentional, but trying to concentrate on fight and net into position is darn difficult), this sometimes allows the hook to pop out.

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Thanks Nick but I am aware of that and fully agree that this is the most crucial point. If I am on my own I always get my net into the water early, as soon as I can commit to which side of the pod I am going to net it. Then, once the fish is completely played out (like you say) and over the mes, it's easy enough.

These fish come off before I get them to the net and I don't even see them.

I have been using barbless hooks for at least 10 years; I live in Spain and fish the Ebro a lot - where the snags are horrendous in some of the swims.

But this is happening in France at Les Kaolins,where there are virtually no snags but a barbless rule.

I'm back at Les K in a few weeks and will try switching back to short-shank wide-gape and see how it goes.


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Interesting thread this...

I have found that the position of hook hold in the carp's mouth depends largely on the feeding behaviour of the fish, the size of the fish and the rig - particularly the rig's length. I think the actual hook pattern plays a less important role.

Fish that are feeding on scattered baits such as boilies will often move off after taking in the hookbait and the hook is quite often pulled into the bottom corner of the mouth.

Rigs that are very short, when fishing for large fish with heavy leads especially with a pop-up can result in a much higher percentage of "middle of the bottom lip" hook ups. As you say, this is the desired hooking place due to the sheer strength of the mouth tissue here but in reality is only achieved in approximately 40% of my hook holds, maybe less.

My advice is keep the shrink tube (bent slightly), use a supple material for the last inch or so and make sure your hooks are as sharp as possible. You may also want look into "making the hook point heavy" by strategic placement of silicon and shot...

Good luck...

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Perhaps you are right. "If it aint broke..." and all that.

I must say that I am rather jealous of your continental carp capers. It sounds like you are certainly enjoying overcoming these little challenges that we all face from time to time.

Anyway, good luck with the hook pull problems and let us know how you get on - positive or otherwise!

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  • 3 months later...

Interesting thread!! Of course the exact reasons for this happening may be many and varied!


In brief...


Having come across this problem in the past, fishing on very silty venues where the fish appear to have much softer mouths than say gravel pit fish....the single most effective measure was the correct choice of hook. In that without a doubt the short shank , wide gape in turned point hooks are far superior when this problem arises. Back in the day when I first had this happen as a teenager ...After a lot of experimentation I came across the old original owner spades.....which quite simply changed my landing rate from about 50% to probably 90/95% over night!! So I always would go for that type of pattern (run out of the owner spades !! ;-( lol) if I am faced with soft mouthed fish / a water with a history of hookpulls etc


Of course there are many other factors but the shape/pattern of hook is in my opinion the most important. Good luck

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wonder how many lost fish are on helicopter set-ups where I think the angle of pull is different to that on pendant or inline set-ups?


I know that I used to lose far more fish on silt/chod helicopter set-ups than I ever did or do on 'normal' leads.


I also found me personally that a line aligned hook and rigs with a good length of tubing (about 10mm above the eye) were also better at preventing fish losses than a plain knotless knot or tied on hook with an additional hair.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Use a short piece of pole elastic (strong is best) connecting the lead to the clip/ring/swivel. this prevents the fish using the weight of the lead to shake the hook out clse to the bank.. alternatively try triggalink elasticated hooklink 8)

Personally I just use soft rods and play fish to a standtill close to the bank.. IMO most hookpulls are just from trying to rush things

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