How to Sharpen Your Fishing Hooks

fish on a hook

When it comes to maintaining fishing tackle, keeping hooks sharp is a task that is ignored by many anglers, but having sharp hooks will catch more fish.

Over time, hooks get dull and when they get dull it is more difficult for the hook to penetrate a fish’s mouth when it takes the bait. If the fish is not hooked completely, there is a good bet you are going to lose that fish.

At least a couple of times during the fishing season, it is important to check hooks for sharpness and to sharpen those that have become dull. The best way to test for sharpness is to use the old thumbnail trick. Rest the tip of the hook on your thumbnail. No need to apply any pressure, just set the hook tip on the nail. A sharp hook will stick to your thumbnail, while a dull hook will slide off.

There are a number of good hook sharpening tools on the market that make the job easy, but in truth, there is no need to spend money on new tools if you do not have to. You can use the sharpening the same sharpening stone you use for knives or a file, and it will get your hooks just as sharp.

The best way to sharpen the hook is to move the hook along the stone or file, from the base of the barb toward the tip. Do this around the entire barb and use the same angle with each pass. It should not take many passes to get the hook sharp. Make sure to test the hook with the thumbnail trick. If it is still dull, repeat the process.

Sharpening treble hooks on lures can be a bit awkward, compared to single hooks. The best option is to remove the treble hook from the lure, to get the best angle when sharpening. This takes more time, but it will make the process much easier.

It is important to note that modern hooks often have protective coatings on them to prevent rust. When you sharpen the hooks, it removes this protective coating. To reduce the chances of the hooks rusting quickly, apply a bit of oil to the hook. The best bet is to use a Q-tip to apply the oil, to avoid piercing your fingers on the hook.

Most anglers do not realize how quickly their hooks can become dull. Although modern hooks are made to stay sharp longer, hooks can become dull after just a few uses, especially if they have hooked a significant number of fish or have been run along rocks or other objects. Checking your hooks often and keeping them sharp will help you land more fish throughout the season.

Photo credit: Dreamstime