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How Often Do You Sharpen Hooks?

Mike Clifford

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Started searching around for who, other than Gamakatsu makes a "chemically sharpened" hook, and came upon an interesting quote online-


Books and articles written just two or three years ago usually contained encouragement to sharpen hooks before fishing with them. 'No hook is sharp enough to fish straight out of the packet' was the advice. If you use 'laser' or 'chemically' sharpened hooks, 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.


However hooks may need sharpening after use. Fly fishermen especially should regularly check their flies - hooks bouncing onto stones and rocks can get blunt, and may need sharpening.


If you do sharpen 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 that 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.


Becareful not to remove too much metal from the point. There is a fineline between a sharp point and a weak point. It is too easy to think ofa hook point as always being pulled into a fish in a straight-linepull. However, this is not always true. Many times the pull is at anangle to the point. If there is not enough metal in the point it canbreak off or bend over.



I think it is safe to say the Weighted Keeper hook by Mister Twister can be sharpened right out of the bag....and after every other cast.



So....which hooks are a good bet "right out of the bag", and which require repeated sharpening?

Or do you just generally go by looks and feel...

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If my hook point is "blunt" from a snag or random smack into a hard object during a cast, I just try to reset the point like a butcher uses a steel to put the edge back on the blade of his knife. I don't know if this makes sense or not; not much of a hook sharpener myself. I usually get rid of my flies after they get too beat up and start fresh.

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All the time, Mike.


I sharpen down towards the point, or you actually make it harder to penetrate a fish cheek by creating microscopic 'burs'. On Gammies or Owners, I carry replacements with if they aren't hooking up. Makes the difference between hooking a pig and missing one; landing a pig and the fish flopping off.

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I sharpen & check hook points after every snag & check on my thumbnail, if it slides its not sharp. A couple of strokes with a flat fine diamond hone on the sides towards the point & finish with the top (outside)never the inside. I have had patterns retired after the point starts to crowd the bend - that means that most of the time I get the fly back - strong leaders & knots. Retying is sort of an obsession as well. Anymore I prefer Mustad bronze vs. high end stuff because I sharpen them all eventually.

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I've never sharpened a hook and don't plan on doing so any time soon. I've caught a few smallies over the years. B) I started pinching down all my barbs this year and I'm still very pleased with my results. I'll continue to do so in the future to lessen the chance of harm to both me and the fish.

Found a mess of Gamakatsu barbless on eBay some years back.

Lots of bulk items to be found cheap!

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flat fine diamond hone


That's the word I couldn't think of!


Yea, I have one of those on my vest and that's what I use to reset the point. We all have our ways I guess; can't say I complain about missing hookups that often to warrant a problem. If I lose one I just might as well go catch another one.


Anyway, it's all about the strike. ;)

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