Over the years I have had more than my fair share of hook pulls and some with very large fish on the end. At one time I would be messing around with different hook patterns all the time, which in hindsight wasn’t a great thing to be doing as I never really got to understand the ‘best way’ to use each pattern.
Hooks as we all know vary in so many ways from wire thickness, shank length, curve style, gape, angle of the eye, barb type, straight point, claw point and so on. Each pattern will have a knot, shrink wrap tubing or sliding ring set up that will be ‘just right’ for that pattern, but not necessarily right for another pattern.
I don’t want to go down the rig stage here but merely enquire what pattern or patterns do you favour for the biggest percentage of your angling?
Which ones do you have the most confidence in?
Which ones do you seem to suffer the least hook pulls with?
Now, it is only fair that I give my favourites.
Like I said at the start over the years I suffered a lot of hook pulls but in hindsight that was more to do with using certain patterns in a less than ideal situation. I may have seen a rig idea and then simply used what hooks I had. To be fair it never really hit home just how much difference a slightly different pattern could make in regards to working with your chosen rig. This may seem a bit of a strange statement these days but remember I was carp fishing in the 1970’s before the massive surge forward in rig development. The basic hair rig was still a few years away.
Through the 70’s and the 80’s I always worried about my hook hold and to be honest it wasn’t until 1995 that I finally found a hook that landed almost every fish I hooked. The hook was a Terry Eustace Gold Label Penetrator Two. It was the first curved shank hook I had used and it was a year I caught an awful lot of fish too.
The next hook that became a major part of my angling was the Ashima C310. I can’t remember now how I came to be using those but for around a 15 year period just about every carp I caught was on them. I had developed my home tied Combi Rig at this stage and the pattern suited it brilliantly. I think every fish from me joining the Mangrove up until a couple of years ago were on this pattern and I must admit that for years I never even looked at other hooks, I was so confident in what I used.
There was a bit of a problem sourcing them for a while but I found what looked like the same pattern sold as a Carp R Us Short Straight Shank Nailer and then also as a Smart Point SP310. The Smart Points were the easiest for me to get so that was what I continued to use although the eye was different on the size 4 to the size 6 but that didn’t seem to alter my hooked to landed ratio.
The 4 and 6 sizes sound large but they were the same as the Nailer 6 and 8. It seems most stick on whatever size they like as there is no set hook scale around.
I was happy with this pattern for years as I say but must admit to getting fed up with having to sharpen them all before I used them and during one session when I was catching a lot I was envious of a mate who was able to take a hook straight out of a pack and use it without working upon it first.
Around the same time Jon Caers from Belgium gave me a pack of PB Products Super Strong hooks when I bumped into him on a French trip. I have continued to use them ever since. Until that is, I had a session on Brocard Large last year that demanded barbless hooks. I must admit I prefer not to use barbless but obviously do when I have to (in silkweed or when the rules dictate).
Even after 37 years of carp angling I was still a bit unsure which barbless patterns I like and I must admit it was only during a quick coffee break to catch up with fellow Free Spirit Team Member Lee Jackson at the Tackle Box in Kent whilst travelling over to Brocard that Kevin Peat (one of the Tackle Box owners) mentioned he had enjoyed a silly session at Les Quis landing a lot of fish. Knowing that is barbless only I quickly asked the question – which pattern?
It transpired he had been trying the ACE Short Curve Shank Razor Points, Jacko quickly piped in with the fact he had been using the longer shank version couldn’t fault them so naturally I took advice and purchased some. Suffice to say I landed every fish I hooked that trip and all on the size 8.
There you have it – my hook preferences over the years.
Barbed I am currently using the PB Super Strongs
Barbless I was really impressed with the ACE ones
What do you have confidence in?