I believe in using sharp hooks, and sharpening them routinely - but it's always been something of a chore, until now. What I learned this past weekend is such a simple little thing that I expect everyone reading this already knows it. It took me 62 years to figure this out - which just goes to show how un-bright I can be.
Seriously simple and easy and so damned effective and I've not figured it out until now? I don't recall reading about it either, although I bet if I did a google key word search I'd probably find a zillion how-to articles that describe and show the technique in great detail. I'm not going to look, I already feel dumb enough.
Last weekend I put on a fly, got two strikes and the fish got off both times. I checked the hook and it had a dull point. I whipped out my sharpening widget - basically a fancy emory like file with some grooves in it - and commenced to sharpen. But I had cuts on my hands in strategic places that made it difficult to hold the hook.
So I took my hemostats and tried getting hold of the hook a couple of different ways. The way that worked, and worked really well, was to clamp the hook across the bow of the hook, so that it was basically held by the hemostat gripper part in two places. This kept the hook from rotating when applying the sharpener. I also adjusted the hook's angle of approach a little and suddenly the hook was in the perfect position to be sharpened and it was stable as hell. I could stroke the file against the hook with a lot of pressure and at a precise angle and the hook didn't move at all - kind of like having a bench vise working for me.
What I used to do was hold the sharpener steady and then stroke the hook against it; a method that was always awkward - my big fat clumsy fingers always in the way somethow - this way, with the forceps, I held the hook steady and stroked the sharpener against it. It was dirt easy to get a needle point with just a very few strokes.
I suppose that written explanation sounds like garbage and that a photo essay would be much better - but it's so simple that all you have to do is get a hook, a set of hemo's, and your sharpener and play with it a bit. You'll figure it out in a heart beat - assuming you don't already do it this way.
I'll never go back to the old way, just wish I'd figured this out 50 years ago.