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11 Aug 2017
by Terry Hearn
Why don't deep hook holds occur as much nowadays?
We ask Terry Hearn...

Question

Deep hook holds - now there’s something you don’t see or hear about much these days. Decades ago it seemed much more common to hear of fish being hooked two- or three-inches back in the mouth - so why don’t you think this happens as much nowadays?

I’m a little sceptical that ‘bite-offs’ happened quite as much as it was written about to be honest. Obviously I don’t doubt that they happened more thirty years ago than they do today, but I’m also mindful that hooklink materials weren’t quite up to the standard that we have today, and I can’t help thinking that some of the time a bite-off would have really been a snap-off, or perhaps a knot going at the hook eye for example, especially with mono. I mean, as soon as we entered the age of the super braids, such as Kryston Silkworm, you know, the sort of stuff that even a Staffordshire Bull Terrier would have a job chewing through, talk of bite-offs miraculously became a thing of the past. Funny that, hooklinks which the carp can no longer ‘bite through’, yet nobody was suddenly landing deeply hooked carp...? Silkworm was ever so supple, and we used to use it with small hooks and links of up to eighteen-inches in length too, yet I never knew anyone who caught a carp which swallowed the hook, ever, hmmm…

Maybe if we go back further to times when baits were fished directly on the hooks we could be getting closer to a reason for bite-offs. In all my carping years I’ve only once had a carp swallow the hook, and that was whilst float fishing bread flake one winter on the Grand Union Canal. I can still picture the bite, the wire stemmed Avon slowly dragging under as though it was caught on the bottom, and my delayed reaction because of it. I gave it a little flick of the tip to dislodge it and send it back on its way downstream, but it stayed under and so I followed through with one of those ‘just in case’ strikes. The rod arched round and it turned out to be a dumpy mirror, a low-double. The hook attached to 6lb mono was way out of sight, so far down that I had no choice but to cut the line as close as I could get. I’m sure he would have been okay. Anyway, like I say, maybe baits directly on the hook would have been more likely to be swallowed, just like my lump of slow sinking bread flake that cold winter’s day on the canal. Nothing sharp to feel and therefore no reason to eject, very different to the type of presentations we’re likely to have on the end for most of our carping today.

Until next time, keep catching ‘em.

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