Hooks – make the right choice

hooksThere are many different brands of hooks on the market today. Some of the more popular names that spring to mind include Kamasan, Sakuma, Gamakatsu, Owner, Mustad & Varivas.

Many anglers spend a fortune on the latest rods and reels, to aid in their quest for a new specie or double figure catch, however often pay little attention to the detail on the hooks that they need for the job. Hooks are not a great expense, but the style and choice of pattern is imperative to the species being targeted. I use a variety of different hooks in my angling exploits, but if pushed, I would list Kamasan and Sakuma as having the hooks to cover most situations in the UK.

Looking at Kamasan first, they have a very strong range of hooks for most sea angling occasions, the following being some of my favourites –

B940 – Aberdeen hook has been popular with both boat and shore anglers for many years. These hooks are extremely sharp, with a fine barb.

B940m – Aberdeen hook evolved from the B940 and has been a firm favourite with match anglers for many years. These hooks are extremely sharp, with a fine barb.

B950u – These hooks make up the Kamasan range of uptide, they are robust, extremely sharp and have a chemically etched needle point.

B980 – A traditional eyed specimen hook, more commonly found in course anglers tackle box, however in the smaller sizes 8, 10, 12, is a strong hook capable of dealing with the rigors of sea fishing along with landing some specimen sized fish.

The B940 is my hook of choice when we turn our attentions to drifting the many kelp covered rocky areas for the likes of wrasse and small pollack. With a good long shank and fine barb, they are perfect for presenting the wrasses main dinner of ragworm; either head hooked or with the worm pushed gently passed the eye.

With a strong powerful jaw, the wrasse is not always the easiest fish to hook up which is where the ultra fine barb of the B940 helps out. The size of hook varies, but for our staple wrasse fishing which can range for small cuckoo wrasse up to ballans of 3lb average – the B940 in sizes 6, 4 or 2 tend to cover most situations.

Another major plus when using these hooks is that drifting over the rock and kelp covered ground will at some point result in the hook getting snagged up.

As a fine wire Aberdeen hook, on many occasions you will be able to bend the hook straight out of the snag and retrieve your end tackle. The hook will then simply bend back into place. This won’t work all the time, and often you may still need to replace a damaged hook – but it certainly does help out with tackle loss.

When moving onto anchor work over the fair amount of rough and broken ground in Holyhead and Trearddur I tend to use Sakuma hooks; styles of choice being the Manta and Phantom ranges.

Importing a range of hooks from Japan, Sakuma started trading in the UK just over 10 years ago. Since that time, the brand has gone from strength to strength and is commonly regarded as having one of the best ranges of hooks on the market today.

They have quickly become a firm favourite with some of the UK’s accomplished Match Anglers.

A super sharp forged wire, the Manta hook is finished in anti-corrosive black nickel. It has a special wide gape that will offers superb presentation to bulky baits like crab and squid. With sizes ranging from 6 up to 5/0, it covers most angling situations.

A Sakuma Manta 4/0 being a firm favourite aboard My Way when targeting the hard fighting double figure smoothhound that visit our shores from mid May each year.

The Manta is certainly a top choice for specimen hunting in the larger sizes and match fishing in the smaller sizes.

Strength & Reliability

When thinking of our bigger and stronger prey, tope and conger spring immediately to mind.

Targeting such species, you need a big strong hook, that will not bend or snap under the strain of hook up. tend to turn to the old faithful of O’Shaunessey hook pattern.

As mentioned earlier, there may be a number of different brands to choose from, however Mustad have been a world leader in hook manufacture to the commercial and recreational fisherman for many years.

For overall strength and reliability you won’t go wrong with a Mustad 3406. Made from forged bronze, these hooks can be bought in a variety of sizes up to 14/0, ideal if thinking about big shark fishing.