A recent addition to the carp market is the JAG Hook Sharpening Kit. Though aimed mainly at the carp market, it’s also ideal for coarse, game and sea hooks.
Anglers are waking up to the fact that hooks straight out of the box or packet, and that includes chemically sharpened ones, might not be as sharp as they could be. You may not realise it, but it’s costing you fish trusting to luck.
I started re sharpening new hooks when I was rough ground bass fishing back in my teens. Bass have bony mouths, and I quickly realised the sharper a hook is, the better chance you have of pricking a fish and then setting the hook as the bite shows through the rod. What’s more, sharp hooks cut deeper with less line and rod pressure giving a more secure hook hold. Good carp and fly anglers have also been sharpening their hooks for years, but it has to be said that sea anglers do seem to be lagging behind a little.
The kit comprises three files, a coarse, medium and fine gauge, also a hand vice designed to grip the hook securely while you’re working on the point, a very nifty eye-glass that allows you close up viewing of the hook point to get it just right, also a pen that adds a protective coat to the bared area of metal you’ve worked on to reduce the effects of corrosion.
The files are good and quickly bring a point to increased sharpness. On smaller fairly sharp hooks up to size 1/0’s, I use the medium gauge running the file along the length of the point from the barb upwards four times, and equally up the sides of the point to gradually thin it, check it, then if its approaching full sharpness, I run the fine file up the point two or three times, just to bring it to full sharpness. If it’s still dull, use the same file for three or more strokes to whittle the point down further. On hooks with less sharp points, you’ll obviously need to work the point more with the medium file until its nearly sharp, then again finish with the fine file. Always make sure you use the same number of file strokes on the top, and sides, to make the point shape equal.
Bigger hooks up to about 6/0 might require starting with the coarse grade file, then the medium file, then a couple of strokes of the fine file to get a really sharp point. Chemically sharpened hooks may only need the fine file, just to lift them to a full degree of sharpness.
What you’re looking for is for the hook point to instantly dig in to your thumb nail when you try and drag the point across it. If it skids at all, its not sharp enough.
It’s the hand vice that steals the show. This has a locking jaw in the top to take the hook allowing you to position it so that you have full access to the point to be worked on. More importantly, the vice, with your arm and hand laid against your knee, or on a table, enables you to hold the hook totally steady giving you the control and accuracy with the file to fine the point down evenly. If you just hold the hook between thumb and forefinger, there is inevitable rocking of the hand that makes sharpening evenly along the point much more difficult.
The eye-glass also means you can check for burring of new hook points, or see in fine detail where a hook in the process of sharpening needs a little more work.
The files and tools come in a small zipped case 8-inches by 3.5-inches, so it fits easily in your rucksack, bag, or seat box if you take it with you on the beach or bank.
It retails for about 49.99, plus postage, but you can also buy the individual files and bits separately. I bought the complete kit, and £50 is a big chunk of cash, but having used the kit now for over two months I feel its well worth the money and gets my hooks to the degree of sharpness I need for confident fishing across all disciplines.
It’s available from Numerous outlets online, and from most good tackle shops.