Ever really thought much about, what your fish is swallowing besides your bait?
Nowadays, there are so many different brands, sizes and styles of hooks on the shelves, just which one will you choose?
In order to truly understand the differences it is essential to go back to basics and first break down the hook into its various parts.
Every hook has six parts which are the eye, Velcro shank, bend, point, gap and throat.
Hook Points: (part that actually grabs the fish and contains the barb)
Points can also come in a knife edge, needle, barbless needle, barbless, micro barb, short, curved in, reversed or kirbed style.
Hook Eyes: (“loop” at the forward end of the hook)
The place you tie your line or clip your swivel or leeder. Eyes can be ringed, tapered, looped, open, flatted, swivel or needle.
Eyes can also have alignments which are either straight or ringed, turned up or turned down.
Shank: (section that begins at the first point of the bend to the eye)
Bend: (section of hook that bends around
Gap: (distance (size) from the point to the shank)
Throat: (distance from the bend to the point)
It is important that you realize that gap size and throat length will either help or hinder your hooking of your fish.
Now that we have the definition of a hook done, we can move on to bigger fish.
If you took all hook shapes or styles you could probably put them in 3 categories, live bait hooks, artificial bait hooks and manufacturer use hooks. Live bait hooks include Octopus, O’Shaughnessy, Straight and Aberdeen.
Artificial bait includes Aberdeen, Sproat and Kahle. Manufacturer hooks are used for making artificial flies, jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
Circle hooks are really a must if you practice catch and release. Let’s take a look at what happens when your fish strikes. The mouth opens wide and your fish swallows your bait and hook into its stomach or gut and then starts to swim away. Your hook and bait is then pulled back where it penetrates the lip area.
Other style hooks will just penetrate in the gut area and that’s where the problem rises. Even if you cut the leeder, there is a good chance the fish will die anyways and it is impossible to get your hook back without damaging and killing the fish. Baiting a Circle Hook is easy, loop your bait into the hook so it enters about half way and make sure the bait does not spin, just once is good enough. Fish the same way you usually do with or without weight, cast or just peel off some line from the reel and set your drag. The idea is to get your bait into your usual strike zone.
Now, comes the fun part. You have to ignore the temptation to “jerk” your line when you get a strike and set the hook. If you do this you defeat the whole purpose of the exercise and the hook will simply pull right out of the fishes mouth. If your line has tension on it from the strike, you already have the hook in a position to set and grab the lip on its way out.
Selecting a Hook
Now that you’ve become a hook scholar you want to rush right out and buy some, right!
Whoa! Not so fast. Here are a few tips you need before you purchase. Quality has to be a number one concern. Just like anything else you buy, not all hooks are created equal.