How To Choose The Right Hook | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
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A fish with a hook in its lip. Photo by Tim Romano

New hooks put fish in a sticky situation

After hours of freezing, boiling, sweating and shivering, I finally got the bite I’d been waiting on. When the line out alarm zinged, I grabbed the rod, pushed the lever drag forward and came tight on the line. Nothing. The fish was gone. My next trip, the same thing happened—twice. Going through all technique and tackle, I discovered the problem. Early in the season, when I couldn’t find my favorite hook in the tackle shop, I bought a box of inline circle hooks. Next trip, I rigged up with an offset hook. Bingo.

When you come down to it, hooks are the most important piece of fishing gear. Hang with pro anglers and you’ll hear them talk obsessively about their hooks. “I spend a lot of time sharpening hooks,” admits full-time guide and television host, Tim Moore (www.timmooreoutdoors.com). Moore is constantly changing hooks to find the best connection to the fish. “I change out treble hooks on plugs to avoid hooking the fish in the face or hooking myself in the hand.” For live bait, he matches the hook to the size of the fish and line test, for larger fish or bait he uses a larger hook. “If the fish are finicky, I’ll downsize the hook,” he says. He obsesses on finding the perfect hook for each technique and target fish. 

Lucky for Moore, there are plenty of hooks to choose. Viet Nguyen, Product Manager at Owner Hooks, says the company produced over 10,000 different hooks for angler around the world. “We carry more than 2000 different models in the US,” he adds. 

That’s because every fishing technique has an ideal hook. “As our pro staff experiments with new tactics we work with them to design a perfect hook,” he explains. Line weight, hook size, bait size, rod power, fish behavior and more affect hook design. “Every new lure or technique needs a new hook,” Nguyen says. 

 

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Hook technology has come a long way in the past few years. A hook start out as a spool of wire that is cut, bended, heat treated, plated and chemically sharped. “The introduction of high carbon steel made hooks stronger,” Nguyen says. It also allowed hooks to be thinner, or lighter gage, which improves penetration. The next generation of hooks will be made out of high-tech alloys that will allow higher strength in a lighter gage wire. 

Plating the hooks also affects it’s performance. “Our black, chrome-plated hooks are standard for all uses,” he says. Hooks for saltwater are plated with tin. The latest advancement in hook construction uses a super slick coating, like Teflon, that improves penetration. “It’s perfect for plugs, jigs and other artificials where the fish will often hit the lure then try to spit it out,” he explains. Nguyen says that future hooks will feature even more corrosion resistant and slick coatings for longer life and easy hooksets. 

For anglers, hook lessons are often learned the hard way. “I change out trebles on my plugs for my own safety,” Tim Moore says. He replaces the front hooks with an offset J-hook and leaves the treble on the back of the lure. “If I get a lot of short strikes, I’ll move the treble back to the front of the lure.”

Moore admits that replacing treble hooks may cost him a few bites, but it saves him a trip to the hospital. On one of my first television shoots he hooked his thumb while landing a big striper. “I bit my tongue, literally, and continued to talk through the scene,” he recalls, “it wasn’t until the producer saw the blood coming out of my hand that he called ‘cut!’” 

This article originally appeared in the early summer 2017 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine.

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