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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rosthern, SK
    Posts
    277

    Default Sharpening Hooks

    Well I read an article yesterday about sharpening your hooks at the tying bench and it basically stated that increased penetrability will allow you to hook and keep hooked more fish. Now this made sense to me, cos if the hooks were sharper then it may convert some of those hits that get off and those fish that are on the line that shake off early in the fight. Even increasing the rate a bit sounds worthwhile. BUT, and there is always a but... Most hooks these days come chemically sharpened and I have also heard that if you take a sharpener to them you will remove the coating which can accelerate the rusting of the hook and the life of the fly. So I pose this:

    To sharpen or not to sharpen? That is the question...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Upper Mojave Desert
    Posts
    1,823

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    I'm not sure about the right answer. I don't sharpen at the vise. After the first drag across anything (rock, bottom, etc) the guys taught me to do the fingernail test. Drag the hook point over a thumbnail. If if grabs it's OK. If it slides over the nail then I sharpen it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    Realistically, does a fly last that long? Most of my flies get beat up fairly quickly when the fish are hot-- And I'm not one to strip materials off of a hook to re-tie another fly... While they are typically the most expensive part of a fly, the hooks are still relatively cheap. I toss 'em out (if I don't lose them to cover and rocks before their prime...)and tie with new ones. (Chemically sharpened are sharp enough and I don't use a fly long enough to notice any appreciable 'dulling' of the hook.)

    I find limited time to sharpen chainsaw chains--- not gonna' waste my time (IMO- it is a waste of time-- no offense to those who do sharpen hooks...) with sharpening a .10-.12 cent hook.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Southeast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,760

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    I carry a Dr. Slick hook sharpener. If the hook isn't sharp, I don't tie with it. Like Jimmie, I check my hooks after bumps and catches. Sometimes the hook
    takes a new point nicely, and other times my best efforts don't get the point nearly as sharp as I'd like. I toss out the hooks that refuse to take a new point. Loosing the fish of a lifetime to a less than razor sharp hook isn't worth the 10-25 cents per hook, and the few minutes it takes to tie a fly.

    As far as rust, I've never kept a fly long enough after sharpening the hook to notice any. I view flies and tippet the same way: when in doubt, toss it out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    quiet corner, ct
    Posts
    8,867

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    I always check my hooks to see if they need to be touched up before tying.
    I got into the habit because (non-chemically sharpened) saltwater hooks always need sharpening.
    For small hooks I use an emery board and I have a small stone for medium sized hooks and I carry a sharpening stone zipper-pull on my vest
    For saltwater hooks I use a Dremel tool at the bench and a ******* file on the water.

    Edit
    I guess the filter doesn't allow the word "bass-turd"
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    5,396

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    Hi twfitw,

    If you use top quality fresh water hooks that are chemical sharpened I don't think you need to sharpen them at the bench. One of the problems with small hooks is we don't know how to sharpen them and end up making them dull instead of sharp. On the stream you should carry something to sharpen your hooks as they get beat up on rocks. I have used an EZE-LAP sharpener for years for fresh water hooks.

    Saltwater hooks almost always need to be sharpened at the bench. At least that use to be the norm.

    Frank

    EZE-LAP Hook Sharpener

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rosthern, SK
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    OK, that makes sense... I am going to need to get a sharpener for my vest, although I fish mainly still water so not too much rock-clattering, but I do intend to explore more creeks in the province... I am now thinking about sharpening the larger flies at the bench, especially the pike flies given that they have tougher jaws which need penetrating...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    3,848
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    In most cases, I do not sharpen my hooks. It is easier to grab a new fly. Plus most of the hooks that I tie are on chemically sharpened hooks.

    A few years back, my boat partner tied up two dozen flies for a Tarpon trip. She filed her new Trey Combes hooks at the vise. During the trip, she could not get a hookset. Once she switched over to my flies which were the same patterns as hers, she started hooking up.

    Back to the original question. To sharpen or not to sharpen? For new flies, leave them alone. If you have the time to sharpen a used dull hook, go ahead.

    MP

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    I've never really given much thought to sharpening flies. I've done it on lures but flies I usually just toss or I end up losing them before they need to be sharpened.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sharpening Hooks

    I do the thumbnail test. If it don't grab I sharpen.
    I also use the 'lost fish' test. If I start to miss a number of strikes or the fish spit the hook out...I check for sharpness.
    Works for me.

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