Ron's Tackle Tips — Sharp Hooks

Ken Jones

Staff member
Sharp Hooks: If you don't have them you might as well stay home

By Ron Crandall of Ron's Reel Repair (June 1997)

This often overlooked point is the reason why many people feel lots of bites, but they never hook them. Well it doesn't have to be that way. Most hooks need sharpening right from the package and though very expensive ones don't, they will very soon. Even with the sharpest hook, the first time it hits a rock or pier piling, is dragged through the sand, or catches a fish, it will need to be resharpened.

It is really quite easy and can be done in a few seconds. The first step is to check the hook. Lightly drag the point across your thumb nail. If the hook is sharp it will dig in, if it is not it will skip.

A hook can be sharpened into two decent points depending upon what type of fish you 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 point. This is good for the harder mouthed species. Creating a triangular shaped hook point is 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 size hooks, a diamond-dust based fingernail file (Revlon is an example) works great. To save description time take a close look at an Eagle Claw bait hook (L-181 is the best example since it has sides that form a V and a slightly curved back); this is close to the shape you are trying to get. The first step is to file the back, work toward the point, until the point starts to flatten on one side, also toward the point. What you are trying to do is create a triangular shape to the hook that has sharp edges as well as a sharp point. This gives the strongest and longest lasting point.