Latest Issue February
Jason Hayward Features

7 things you should know about hook sharpening

Jason Hayward answers your questions on hook sharpening

Dear Jason,
Do you use a vice or just hold the hook when sharpening? Surely it must be so much easier in a vice?
Terry Goodman, via e-mail

Hello Terry,
I use my fingers, but I make jewellery for a living and have done so for over 25 years, so I’m used to being very dexterous with my hands. For most people however, I accept this is just not an option and it can be a very fiddly task. With this in mind I developed with JAG Products a lovely handheld vice specifically designed and made by us, for the job. It’s got a machined stainless steel head and a lightweight machined and anodized ally body which unscrews to allow you to keep your SP stones inside. It’s a real smart, a lovely bit of kit that will no doubt help you out – and it’s made in the UK as well.

Dear Jason,
Can you sharpen any type of hook or do some sharpen better than others?
Jonny Sprinter, via e-mail

Hi Jonny,
Some hooks sharpen better than others; generally those with a beaked point come up better. However, when they have been sharpened, they are definitely not as beaked due to the metal at the front of the hook being removed. I love Drennan Continental Carp hooks in a size 4 and although they have been around for years, I still favour them for 95% of my fishing. They are immensely strong, won’t let you down and they sharpen up beautifully to the point of evilness. Although saying that, I reckon it’s about time Drennan updated the pattern. With practice though, all sizes and shape of hooks can be sharpened to a superior point.

“Anything with a beaked point will sharpen up so much more than a straight point hook. Hooks that I’ve sharpened and know come up well include Korda’s Kaptor hooks, Atomic’s range, Kamasan and Gamakatsu G Points.

Dear Jason,
Do you think you can over-sharpen a hook?
Graham Read, via e-mail

Hello Graham,
Yes, I can sharpen a hook to the point where the merest touch onto my finger will bend the point over. Of course I don’t do this, as a balance has to be struck. Test the point into the skin on your finger, as this gives you the best indication of how sharp your hook is. Forget testing it on your fingernail unless you’re using your hooks for pike. Carp don’t have mouths as hard as our nails.

Dear Jason,
Do you ever re-sharpen your hooks after a fish or with the point being so fine, do you only get one shot at each hook so to speak?
Tom Dutch, via e-mail

Hi Tom,
It depends on the ‘damage’ that’s done after a fish has been landed. If I can salvage a hook by touching it up again with the stones, then yes, of course I do as I pay for my Continentals like the next bloke. It’s probably about 50/50 with regards to the number I reuse and throw away.

Dear Jason,
When finished, how do you store the hooks?
Edward Howard, via e-mail

Hi Edward,
Very simple: my Continentals come in a little box with plastic retainer lugs to keep them in place and stop them rattling around. This is more than adequate. Korda’s hooks now come in a similar plastic box, so you could also use one of theirs to do the same job. That said, the hooks will be fine in the packet they came in so long as they don’t move around too much, which to be fair they won’t.

Dear Jason,
Do the points on the hooks you have sharpened rust and corrode?
Keith Roads, via e-mail

Hi Keith,
Yes they do. When I reel in, the hook often has more often than not turned black, sometimes it’s flecked with brown rust spots. It’s this rust spot that anglers really must get over! It’s only just the very surface that has this on. I always check and touch the hook up before re-casting. You will find the lightest touch with a stone will remove this corrosion. If you want to keep using the same hook all year, then yes, it may pose a problem, but from week-to-week... NO!

Dear Jason,
As your hook points are finer than most, how do you stop the points turning over on gravel etc.
Duncan Keenan, via e-mail

Hi Duncan,
This is just one of those things I’m afraid. I always cast out with PVA nuggets over the point and your hook shouldn’t blunt unless the rig/lead is significantly moved. When you reel in, do so quickly, lifting the rod swiftly and winding in one fluid move. I have reeled in all manner of waterlife on my points; earlier in the spring I reeled in to find two tadpoles had impaled themselves onto my hook whilst obviously attacking my boilie.