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27 Mar 2017
by CARPology
How damaging are curved shank hooks?
Two seasoned carp pros give their thoughts on curved shanked hooks: is it the hook or the angler using them who’s causing the damage?

The big question

“My syndicate board is forbidding certain hook types as of this year, and since I don’t really agree on one of them, I would really like your guys to tell me if I’m wrong. The new rules are: ‘No bent hooks, long shanks or curved hooks allowed’. Now, I can live with the bent hook being forbidden due to the bad press after damaging fish. For me the long shank is still a question mark. I haven’t had a problem myself, but I can understand the concern about the angle of pressure during a fight.

“However, I do really disagree with the board on curved hooks – Korda Kurv, Fox SSC and the like. I’ve been fishing for approximately eight years now with this hook type and only once have I had to treat an injury caused by the hook. One is one too many, but who can improve these statistics?

“Have you ever heard of mouth damage being caused by a curved hook? I would really appreciate your contributor’s opinions on this subject. Am I wrong or is the board being ‘too careful’?” Peter De Buyser, Belgium

“I have seen damage from curved shanked hooks, but then again I’ve seen damage caused by most hooks.”

Gaz Fareham

“If you fished through the 90s you can’t fail to have seen the media coverage on the damage caused by bent hooks; if you’re fairly new to carp fishing though, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.

“Essentially it was a method originally adopted by big fish anglers looking for a way to get the hook to turn and grab quicker. It worked a treat, but the angle and pressure on the hook during the fight would sometimes cause damage, especially on smaller fish when it was adopted by the mainstream. Many safe alternatives followed, and we are all basically still making safe ‘bent’ hook rigs now with shrink tube or stiff extensions.

“My own personal view is the long shank curved patterns are brutal for anything under 20lb, or even just bigger fish that are getting caught regularly; the short shank curves aren’t so bad. I have seen damage from them, but then again I’ve seen damage caused by most hooks – unfortunately it depends almost entirely on the quality and placement of the hook hold. I doubt in reality they cause any more problems than the fine diameter braid hooklinks which we all use.”

“There has never – as far as I am aware – been any link between long straight shanks and damage either.”

Lewis Read

“The evidence that a particular type of hook causes damage is scant to say the least. I have (unfortunately) seen mouth damage caused by all sorts of hooks. The common denominator being the manner in which they were played and NOT the patterns themselves. However, policing angling ability isn’t really possible is it – so clubs try and take out the chance of anglers using anything that may cause damage, even if it is by rumour and hearsay.

“Look at our range for instance: our equivalent standard curved shank pattern is the Mugga hook. I can say hand on heart that I think these are certainly not harsh on a carp’s mouth simply because the shape offers a very secure hook hold and therefore doesn’t move. It’s the movement of the hook (by pulling) that potentially causes damage – other claims are utterly unsubstantiated. For further evidence on this, look at carp that have been fished for by match anglers – dragging them in as quickly as possible (not ‘playing’ them). I won’t say any more, but the evidence is clear and incontrovertible on this count.

“There has never – as far as I am aware – been any link between long straight shanks and damage either – with the only controversial one historically has been the long curved shank hooks. This is largely based on the ‘small fish shaking their head’ claim. In fact, the long straight shank patterns offer extremely strong hook holds. Look at the amazing Incizor (that has a ‘semi long shank’) or the original Long Shank Incizor. They go in and they don’t move ‘unless’. (The ‘unless’ factor is the things beyond an anglers control, like unseen snags, etc.)

“In reality I’m not so sure it’s this alleged hook pivoting due to head shaking at all! It is likely the shaking of the fish’s head that causes injury, but not due to pivoting hooks (who came up with this rubbish?!), it’s simply repetitive jerking that causes this observed problem and it seems clear to me that small carp (with relatively soft mouths) suffer more damage than larger specimens – whatever the hook in use.”

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