The Following Tips are Offered by:
Ron Crandall of Ron's
Sharp Hooks: If you don't have them you might as well stay home!
This often overlooked point is the reason many people feel lots of bites, but they never catch anything. Well it doesn't have to be that way. Most hooks need sharpening right from the package and the few, very expensive ones, that don't, will very soon. Even with the sharpest hook, the first time you nick a rock or pier piling, drag it through the sand or catch a fish, it will need to be re-sharpened.
It is really quite easy and it can be done in a few seconds. The first step is to determine what is a sharp hook and what is not. Lightly drag, the point across your thumb nail. If the hook is sharp it will try to dig in. If it is not sharp, it will skip.
A hook can be sharpened into two different points depending upon what type of fish you are trying to hook. A manufactured sharpener, which usually works like a pencil sharpener, creates a conical hook point . This is good for soft mouthed species like barred surfperch.
A file, or similar device, creates a triangular shaped point, which is much stronger than the conical hook point. This is good for harder mouthed species. Creating a triangular shaped hook point takes a little more work than a conical hook point, but the results are worth it.
For larger hooks, size 2 and larger, a small 4 mill file works great. For the smaller sizes, size 4 and smaller, a diamond-dust based fingernail file (Revlon is a example) works great. To save a lot of description time take a close look at a Eagle Claw bait hook (L-181 is the best example) you will see that it has sides that form a V and a slightly curved back, this is close to the shape you are trying to achieve. The first step is to file the back, work toward the point, until the point starts to flatten out. Next file each side, also toward the point. What you are trying to do is create a triangular shape to the point area that has sharp edges as well as a sharp point. This gives the strongest and longest lasting point you can get.