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yonny

The Sharpened Hooks Thread

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I posted this on another forum last year but for those that haven't see it there's some good info here:

So………

WHY?

Why bother with hand sharpened hooks? As we all know, an unsharpened hook will catch fish, and plenty of them. The long and short of it is that, in a general angling situation, sharper hooks will penetrate easier. They WILL lead to a higher pick-up/hooked ratio. It’s a simple fact. Sharper hooks are more effective than blunter hooks. Doh.

Obviously doing them yourself is the cheapest way in the long term. And once you’ve cracked it, it’s the most effective way too. But after ~ 10 years of sharpening I decided I am prepared to pay a few quid extra to have them done for me.

WHY NOT?

There are certain situations where you might NOT want to use sharpened hooks:

1 – Price. Sharpened hooks are expensive. And the cost of your time to sharpen them yourself should not be undervalued. Nine times out of 10 they are a one-fish hook so you need to think about whether to spend that kind of money on your given venue. No point in spending the extra on a highly stocked runs water in which they will be competing for your rig. A ‘normal’ hook will be fine.

2 – Gravel. It’s easy for hooks to get dinged on gravel and this can blunt the fragile points of sharpened hooks. I can honestly say I’ve never had any problems with this, ever, but loads of guys have, so we have to accept there is a risk.

3 – Certain fish. Some old fish that have been caught a few times may have harder or more boney mouths. Similarly, carp that have been feeding in gravel pits for multiple decades may have the same. In the pursuit of such fish it might pay to use none sharpened hooks as the points are more resilient.

4 – Low PH waters. The lower the PH, the faster a sharpened hook point will corrode. This isn’t a problem for a none-sharpened hook as any plating or finishing protects the point, but that finishing is removed during sharpening. There are options to help here which I’ll come to shortly, but on some waters with exceptionally low PH you really don’t stand a chance. It is worth noting that on some waters PH can change for a period, I assume due to dying plant matter, which can lead to worse corrosion of hooks temporarily. No doubt one of the buffs from the bait section could help with how/why PH can change on a water.

5 – Long stay angling. If you expect to leave your sharpened hook out for days on end, it will corrode no matter what the PH, and no matter what you do to protect the point.

6 - Crays. It goes without saying they can dull your hook point if they're playing with your rigs.

CORROSION

So assuming you decide you want to use a sharpened hook the next thing to consider is the corrosion issue. You might see quotes from certain parties suggesting that rust will normally start to form at the transition from none sharpened to sharpened areas of the hook. That might be true but areas of high stress are in general susceptible to corrosion, and given that the entire sharpened surface area of the point is stressed during sharpening I’ve always found that the whole of the point shortly follows. This rust will not affect hook strength, it’s only surface rust, but it can and will literally corrode the point away at its very tip. An unprotected hook can lose its effectiveness in just hours in my experience.

So how can we protect sharpened hooks?

1 – Marker Pens. Rubbish, but will protect for a few hours.

2 – JAG Pens. Slightly less rubbish. Should last a night.

3 – Silicone/Petroleum Jelly (Mucilin, Vaseline, Lypsyl etc) – similar to the JAG pens, just short of rubbish.

4 – Beeswax. Decent, but sticky, which will not aid hook penetration. Easily a good 24 h+ protection, probs more.

5 – Candle wax. Very decent. A few strokes followed by the lick of a lighter. 24 hrs+ easy, probs more.

6 – Specialist Sharpened Hooks Anti Rust Compound. Excellent. The best I’ve used. Again - a few strokes followed by the lick of a lighter. 48 hrs protection.

7 – Crayons. Never used them but the SSH compound is very, very similar so I assume they’ll work well.

8 – The oil from the side of your nose (lol). Shelley popped this one up on YouTube a while back. I’m not sure if it was a wind-up or what, but I have actually seen others quoting this as a useful method. It is not. Don’t bother.

All these treatments leave a sacrificial coating that will have less of an influence on sharpness than a plating or coating has on a standard hook. The level at which they compromise sharpness is negligible.

*Note – when using wax, hold the hook so any run-off during licking of the lighter will run away from the hook point, towards the barb.

STRENGTH

Long story short, as long as the wire isn’t sharpened past the bend there will be no issue with hook strength. A hook acts like a spring with forces distributed through the hook. If it’s going to bend and/or snap, it’ll be on or next to the bend.

THE FUNKY BIT

So now we get to the funky bit. The photos. My microscope is capable of X 45 but I’ve not gone that close. The form of any processed metal products gets worse the closer you look at them. I’m not trying to show how good or bad these hooks are, rather I want to show a comparison between them.
From the top:

Un-Sharpened.
This the control shot if you like. A standard mass produced chemically sharpened hook. I’ll compare the hand sharpened products against this. FYI it’s an Incizor.
incizor.jpg

Specialist Sharpened Hooks.

These are the Ferrari of the sharpened hook world. Top of the tree. The real deal. I cannot emphasise enough how good these are. I am yet to find one that isn’t sharpened very well indeed. They’re done by the guy that started it all. Jason Hayward. They are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Not over-sharpened, just very sharp points. The best, by a significant margin. FYI - this is a Mugga.
ssh.jpg

Score: 5/5

J Precision.

If you’re after value then these are the ones. They’re relatively cheap and they’re sharpened to a decent standard. Some need touching up to be really, really sharp but they’re pretty good (certainly useable) out of the pack. There are minor inconsistency issues. Some are slightly overdone (imo). Be warned – most packs have one or two points that have completely gone over so you have to check them carefully. I assume this happens in transit tbf. Note the tip on the sample shot is very slightly turned up – I see this on most of them which tells us something about the method used to sharpen them, I’m just not sure what that is lol.
jp.jpg

Score: 4/5

Korda Kamakuras.

These are the odd ones out because they’re actually sharpened by a machine, not by hand. This means they’re incredibly consistent. They’re only sharpened on one plane, opposite the barb. This means they’re very sharp when viewed from the side. However, when viewed from above, they’re not – but don’t let this put you off too much. The machine basically gives them a super-sharp spade point which is no doubt effective, but the form means they’re the most fragile of the lot. Korda quote this sharpening process as a genuine step forward in hook technology. They are right. To summarise, sharp and consistent, but fragile.
From the side they are lethal:
kamakura.jpg
From the top they are not – but don’t let this put you off:
kamakura-above.jpg

Score 4/5

IB Hooks.

These tend to be over-sharpened imo. They are cheap compared to others and some are very sharp, but the points are very short due to too much material removal. There are some issues with consistency but some are useable. Many are not imo.
ib.jpg

Score 2/5.

Rig It Tackle.

For 8-9 quid a pack you expect real quality and the packs I bought lacked that quality. In both packs I bought I checked the first 4 hooks before giving up. There is plenty of material removed but the points are not great. They come with tip beads to protect the points and they are treated against corrosion (with what looks like either marker or JAG pens), but that doesn’t change the fact the points are not good.
rig-it.jpg

Score 2/5.

 

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I'd add that I spent around 10 years doing my own so I know a thing or 2 about sharpening. I'd put my own up against any of the commercial options but we don't all have the time (or can be bothered) to do it ourselves. For those that want to give it a go, there are a number of methods but the one in the vid below is imo the best one. Over time you'll develop your own technique as you perfect your work but if you're just starting out this should be your starting point:

 

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Something has hit the shops today that has changed my sharpening for the better. Not just consistency but speed as well. I can do a pack of ten in well under 5 minutes, that are all of the same standard and super sharp. 

The unsharpened hooks I use are the sharpest out of a pack that I have seen it used (excluding kamakuras but they have been sharpened in effect) and I generally don’t bother sharpening them. I know it’s better to have them done though; in most situations that I fish anyway. This gadget has now made that chore (it was more to do with no time) of sharpening an absolute doddle! 

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I watched that video before but it's made me think I may invest in a jag file, looks a worthy investment to me as it will take a decent amount off to start with, I think my eze lap files make them sharper but with one of those I think it would be easier and quicker, 

With regard to the crayon, I use one I gently warm the hook with a lighter just a bit, then put it into a crayon and it leaves a thin layer of Crayola on the tip of the hook which does seem to slow corrosion  

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24 minutes ago, nigewoodcock said:

Something has hit the shops today that has changed my sharpening for the better. Not just consistency but speed as well. I can do a pack of ten in well under 5 minutes, that are all of the same standard and super sharp. 

The unsharpened hooks I use are the sharpest out of a pack that I have seen it used (excluding kamakuras but they have been sharpened in effect) and I generally don’t bother sharpening them. I know it’s better to have them done though; in most situations that I fish anyway. This gadget has now made that chore (it was more to do with no time) of sharpening an absolute doddle! 

Is this gadget the Nash pinpoint hook doctor by any chance 😉

It's a technical advancement in hook sharpening surely that puts it in with deepers and bait boats as cheating, 🤣🤣😱😁

And also only for the rich at £100 😱

It's a good idea and looks quite useful but too pricey for me to want one at present, will continue honing my own path in the cheapseats, this isn't a dig BTW just my opinion 

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10 minutes ago, elmoputney said:

Is this gadget the Nash pinpoint hook doctor by any chance 😉

It's a technical advancement in hook sharpening surely that puts it in with deepers and bait boats as cheating, 🤣🤣😱😁

And also only for the rich at £100 😱

It's a good idea and looks quite useful but too pricey for me to want one at present, will continue honing my own path in the cheapseats, this isn't a dig BTW just my opinion 

i'm sure a mod who works for Nash wouldn't trying using the forum to market Nash items , oh hang on lets have a look at the Cyprinus bedchair thread  :)

 

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Sorry @Yonny for going off topic .Great read I sharpen my own but also use the JS ones more and more now , the other ones I like are sharpened mugga hooks well worth the extra few pound per pack .

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1 hour ago, elmoputney said:

Is this gadget the Nash pinpoint hook doctor by any chance 😉

It's a technical advancement in hook sharpening surely that puts it in with deepers and bait boats as cheating, 🤣🤣😱😁

And also only for the rich at £100 😱

It's a good idea and looks quite useful but too pricey for me to want one at present, will continue honing my own path in the cheapseats, this isn't a dig BTW just my opinion 

Will also sell loads more hooks as it will take you a few packets to learn how to use it 

not stupid is mr Nash 

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11 hours ago, nigewoodcock said:

Something has hit the shops today

Yeah I've had one eye on that for a while mate. It looks interesting but I struggle with the price tag for what appears to be an air bed pump with a mini grinding wheel bolted on. I'd imagine you still need good technique to obtain decent results?

11 hours ago, oscsha said:

i'm sure a mod who works for Nash wouldn't trying using the forum to market Nash items , oh hang on lets have a look at the Cyprinus bedchair thread  :)

A bit harsh imo buddy. He didn't mention a product name, a brand, or even what the product was. And in the bedchair thread he was simply answering questions asking specifically about Nash bedchairs.

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1 minute ago, yonny said:

Yeah I've had one eye on that for a while mate. It looks interesting but I struggle with the price tag for what appears to be an air bed pump with a mini grinding wheel bolted on. I'd imagine you still need good technique to obtain decent results?

A bit harsh imo buddy. He didn't mention a product name, a brand, or even what the product was. And in the bedchair thread he was simply answering questions asking specifically about Nash bedchairs.

It’s way easier than to get consistent results with very little practice. You have much more control over hand movement as the ‘file’ is in a fixed position rather than in your other hand. The vice is designed so that you can just touch the hook onto the stone with great control. You don’t have to worry about keeping it on plane. A second on the back of the point is all that’s needed but you can touch up the two sides. The only real worry is overdoing it. Less is more and all that! 

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@nigewoodcock, if you look at the close-up of the J Precision hook in the first post, you'll see that the point appears ever so slightly upturned. I've thought for some time that they might be using something similar to the Nash jobby. What are your thoughts based on your experience so far?

7 minutes ago, nigewoodcock said:

The only real worry is overdoing it. Less is more and all that! 

Totally, I see loads of guys completely over-sharpen their hooks. Sharpening is not about silly long thin points, it's about sharp points!

Edited by yonny

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I’m not sure what jp use to sharpen but he does thousands of them so would make sense to use something mechanical? 

I very rarely use any other rig than a multi rig. A lot of this is down to presentation, but you get the added benefit of being able to change the hook quickly. The sharper the hook, the quicker it blunts, as you well know. Some of the hooks out of the packet now are crazily sharp. Kamakura’s and pinpoints for example. I can now give them a quick touch on the doctor if they come in not 100% and I’m away fishing again. I haven’t fished a session longer than 4 hours since September, so speed is paramount in my angling. At trade shows when demoing the product, I purposely turn hooks over (far more than sinking on gravel or hooking a fish would do) and bring them back to life in seconds. We will sell less hooks now 😂

It’s not just carp anglers that will benefit  either. Lure anglers, fly, dead and live bait, sea etc. They will all save time and money having one of these in their kit. 

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Great thread, Yonny👏. Like you, I’ve been sharpening my own for around 10 years. Its addictive and I can’t imagine casting out an unsharpened hook ever again. My Vallorbe jewellers file is an essential tackle box item. I like the candle idea for treating the point👍

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1 minute ago, Pete Springate's Guns said:

I can’t imagine casting out an unsharpened hook ever again.

Likewise - except under certain unusual circumstances.

I have fished two waters on which pH changed (in the extreme) temporarily, both for two week periods. My hooks started coming back completely destroyed through corrosion, completely blunt/rusted away. I was forced to use un-sharpened hooks as no matter what I used to protect the points they just came back blunt. In both cases the waters returned to normal two weeks later. Really odd. I assume it's something to do with decaying plant matter as on both occasions it was that time of year around autumn when the weed is starting to die down.

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I have a diamond file and a magnifying glass , 2 or 3 strokes with the file is IMO sharp enough for me to use , I dont seem to have encountered any problems doing this .

If I feel the hook is sharp enough out of the packet I will happily use it .

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