Hook Sharpening

Hook FilesIf there is one thing you can buy which will increase your lure fishing success when using lures with large hooks it is a hook file. A few quid spent on one of these simple pieces of kit will put more pike in your net than any expensive lures or rods ever will! Then again, you have to use it too.

Watch any successful lure angler and you will see that he checks the hook points for sharpness every time he changes lures. They will also get checked every time the lure bumps bottom, a fish is dropped or when a fish has been landed. Whenever the points are not as sharp as they could be the file gets used to touch them up.

Although there are some fancy looking files on the market, consisiting of two small diameter round files side by side in one handle, the old style flat file is hard to beat. A flat file allows for more precise honing of the point. Custom made hook files like that from Luhr Jensen are made with fine, tapering edges which gives them more precision.

Hook point diagTreat a hook point as having six faces when viewed from the front of the point and you are getting the picture. File each face to get a really sharp point. One that is 'sticky sharp' and will catch as soon as it touches something. I test hook points on the ball of my thumb. Others use a thumbnail. Take your pick.

Always file towards the point of the hook. Never use a back-and-forth motion. File the sides of the point first (A &B), then the outside faces (C & D), and finally the faces on the inside of the hook where the barb is (E & F).

When a hook has been resharpened too much the point will become short. It is time to replace it. Carry a small box with spare hooks and split rings for these occasions, and the times when a hook has had to be cut when dealing with a fish. Some people carry their spare hooks ready sharpened, but rattling around in a box hook points can get damaged.

Hook files wear out and rust. Don't keep rasping away with a dull one. Save it as a back up and get a new one. A worn file actually seems to make sharpening your hooks more difficult while a fresh one not only makes sharpening your hooks quicker it makes it easier too.

Take care of your hook points and you will suffer far fewer bumped takes - guaranteed!

(This article first appeared on this website - May 2001)