Why sharpen a hook you ask? Well on waters where the fish are highly pressured and seen a lot of rigs, are much better at blowing rigs out. A sharpened hook makes it a lot harder for fish to blow out the rig.
Sharpen hooks can make a hook last longer. If the hook’s sharpness is dulled down due to being in the water, just simply bring it back to life with a file or honer.
A lot of great carp anglers agree their success is down to location, dedication and a sharp hook.
To start sharpening hooks you will need the following:
- A hook file – Jag SP File or a Swiss 6″ Pillar File Cut 4 File
- A honer file or sharpening stone – Gardner Point Doctor 2
- A 30x magnifying eye – Jeweler’s Loupe 30x or JAG Ultra Eye
- Hook vice – Jag Vice or NGT Vice
- Vaseline/Sharpening pens
Let’s start by talking about the hook file. This is the main tool you will use to sharpen hooks and there many to choose from. I recommend either the Jag SP File or a Swiss 6″ Pillar File Cut 4 File. The Swiss Jewellers File is double the price of the Jag SP File but it gives you more control, eliminating the file slipping off to the side.
First, take your chosen hook. I recommend starting out with a curved shank or wide gape hook, something with a straight point. Place the hook fixed into the hook vice, making sure the eye of the hook is low down so the file does not come into contact with the eye of the hook.
Start off with five to eight strokes across the top making sure the file is straight and not angled at all. Stroke the file down towards the point of the hook with not a lot of pressure. Please note that some anglers prefer to stroke the file up from the point so it’s worth experimenting to find out what suits you and your chosen pattern of hooks.
Try not to file past the barb or start of the point as this can create weaknesses in the hook. Blow and brush of any metal shavings from the hook. Now inspect with a magnifying eye to make sure you have not missed any parts of the top of the hook.
Now repeat this for both sides of the hook creating a pyramid shape. After a few strokes, brush off any excess metal shavings and inspect with the magnifying eye. Once you’re happy with the top and both sides it’s now time to refine the sharpness by using a honer or sharpening stones.
So far in my sharpening experience the Gardner Point Doctor is a great little tool for refining and smoothing out sharpened hooks but tackle brand or jewellers sharpening stone will do the job just as well.
Take your Point Doctor or sharpening stone and start with the top then sides. Then smooth the hook off with 45-degree angle strokes.
Use the magnifying eye once again to make sure it’s fully smooth and pinpoint sharp.
To test the sharpness of a hook, simply press the hook into the top of your index finger without a lot of pressure and point your hand downwards. If it sticks without falling off then it’s good to go.
Before casting out a newly sharpened hook, make sure you use Vaseline on the hook point or use specific hook sharpening pens which can remove the shininess of the hook or a combination of the two to prevent metal corrosion which can hinder the sharpness of the hook.
When starting out with sharpening hooks don’t expect to get it right the first time, just keep practising it to master the art of hook sharpening.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to hook sharpening and good luck with your own hook sharpening. If you have any questions or any tips of your own on the subject, feel free to share it in the comments below.
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