Every angler knows that sharp hooks are an imperative part of your fishing tackle arsenal. If your hooks are dull, you’ll miss strike after strike. And if they’re rusty, they’re automatically dull. Do you hone yours with a whetstone? Do you have a diamond file, or perhaps a dedicated hook-sharpener? Well, I have news for you: no matter which of these methods you use, your hooks aren’t as sharp as they could be.
Now, are you ready to learn this little fishing knowledge gem? Are you ready to find out why you might spend twice as much time as I do sharpening your hooks, yet I’ll still insist mine are sharper each and every time I go fishing? Okay, then. Here it is: stop sharpening your hooks, and instead, throw them away.
Yup—chuck them, toss them, trash them, and ditch ’em after each and every use, and start every fishing trip with hooks that are fresh off the shelf. Is this insanely wasteful? Will it cost you a few more bucks each and every time you fish? Does it seem to make no sense at all? Yes, yup, and youbetcha. It’s also the best way to fish with uber-sharp hooks.
Here’s the deal: modern hooks (and we’re talking about the high-quality stuff here, not the bag of 50 that costs $2.00) are either laser-sharpened or chemically-sharpened. After being used through a day of fishing—and getting bumped against rocks or tree limbs, wetted and dried, and hopefully punched through the jaws of a fish or three—that shockingly sharp hook point will have dulled a bit. And we haven’t even talked about salt water's effect on metal hooks yet. Absolutely nothing you or I can do on our boat or in our home will ever get it as sharp as it originally was. In fact, if you try to hone the point on a high-quality hook right out of the bag, or after a single day of fishing, chances are you’ll actually do more harm than good.
You don’t believe me? Fine. Go buy a brand new bag of 6/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks. Tie the eye of the hook to a sensitive scale, and measure how much pressure it takes to pull the hook through the cover of a match-book. Then spend a few minutes “sharpening” the same hook with a file or stone, and try the same experiment a second time. Know what will happen? I do.