TIP #8: Keep your hooks sharp. Temperate bass tend to feed by "swiping", meaning they approach from behind, grab, and turn quickly to the side. Sharp hooks will catch more fish than dull ones as the fish turn while feeding in this manner.

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CAPTION: Sharp hooks are a fishing fundamental. Below I have described a quick, inexpensive, three-step method for sharpening your hooks.

No matter the size of hook, the material the hook is made of, or the construct of the hook (single, double, treble, etc.) the only tool required for sharpening is a small, metallic hobby file. I use flat and half-round files interchangeably and they both do an excellent job
The brand of file I use is made by Glardon Vallorbe. The Glardon Vallorbe LA2402-200-2 half-round file and their LA2405-200-2 knife file are both 7 7/8-inches long. These have served me well for years. These are both classified as needle files. There is a similar set of files sold by Harbor Freight and made by Central Forge currently selling for under $5.00.

The process goes like this. First, see if the hook needs to be sharpened. To do this, gently place the point of the hook on your fingernail and gently move the hook across your nail. If it grabs or scratches the nail, the hook will not need sharpening.

However, if the hook smoothly “skates” or glides across your nail, it will need to be sharpened.

Now, be careful here. I remember my first time “testing” a hook for sharpness. I had a big, 4/0 plastic worm hook in my right hand and I placed the point of the hook onto the nail of my left thumb. Never having done this before (and being about 13 years old), I was unsure how much downward pressure I should exert to see if the point would scratch my nail. Well, after I punctured by thumbnail and bloodied the quick beneath it, I realized that was a bit too much pressure.

The operative word here is “gently”.

As I begin the sharpening process, my aim is to create three clean, beveled surfaces at the hook’s point, with two of those surfaces on the “top” of the point (that side of the point closest to the eye of the hook), and the third of those surfaces on the “bottom” of the point (that side of the point furthest from the eye of the hook).

Done correctly, just three or four gentle passes to create each of these three bevels should be sufficient.

Remember, you are only trying to make the hairlike tip of the hook point point forward (as it has most likely been bent or curved by use). You are not trying to reshape the hook, and you should definitely not shorten the point as a result of your efforts.

When I make the file strokes, I use a back-and-forth motion on the topside, and a one-way motion from the bend toward the point on the bottom side.

After three or four gentle strokes on all three bevels, check the sharpness again to see if it grabs or scratches your fingernail. If not, do just two more strokes on each bevel, this time at a slightly steeper angle.

If you’ve never done this before, pull out a couple of cheap hooks and practice so you do not screw up your $7.70 MAL Lure on your first go of it.

I keep my files in my drybox on the leaning post of my center console. As I am waiting on clients to arrive, I fill in the time by grabbing a file and systematically going over each point on each hook on each lure and making sure the point is in excellent shape. Over the course of a year, I feel this adds dozens of additional fish to my clients’ tallies.

You will quickly get the hang of the correct pressure and angles as you practice. It is more of an art than a science.

If nothing else, you may come away with an appreciation that the price of a new hook is a small price to pay for those of you not inclined to physical labor (or physical coordination!).

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If you have tips of your own, feel free to respond to this post, or send a private message. I will give credit where credit is due!

Last edited by Holding The Line; 07/02/22 09:25 PM.

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Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411
Holding The Line Guide Service
Stillhouse & Belton
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