Hooks there’s loads of them i’m confused!!
It’s some thing I do get asked quite a lot about and yes it’s another bit of a mine field just like lines.
To start with many of us don’t have much free time and the thought of tying hooks just before fishing or on the bank when all we want to do is grab a few hours fishing leads us to taking the easy option ‘pre-tied’. Yes there are plenty of pre-tied hooks out there and many are of good quality but there is a limit to what there is. Tying your own allows you to tie to different hook patterns, sizes and to different line sizes that suit you, thus improving your fishing. Plus with a few simple tools it’s dead easy and saves you a heap of money.
One thing match fishing has taught me and that is ‘preparation’ It’s no good trying to get stuff ready the night before tying hooks and rigs etc.
All my prep is done at home normally with in the winter months with the fire roaring and a few tins. Over a few evenings I can soon refill my hook boxes and make my pole rigs up. And generally that’s it done for much of the year with the odd top up here and there.
So hooks! we’ll all have our favorite makes, patterns etc and there’s nothing set in stone. Below is what suits me and what I have confidence in using, hopefully it’ll be something for you to take away with you and add in to your fishing.
I have four hook boxes, three being Stonfo boxes and one being of an Eva spool type. The Stonfo boxes are labeled up with Canal, River, Commercial these are for float fishing either on the pole or rod and line. Where’s the EVA spools are for bomb and feeder.
The Canal and River boxes house much the same hooks all being barbed and the commercial box housing barbless hooks and hair rigged hooks.
You may ask why have two the nearly the same? The canal box will have hooks in smaller sizes that are tied to lower line diameters than the river box.
On the line diameter note all my pole rigs are tied using just two line thickness’s 95% of them canal and river will all be on Colmic X5000 0.125mm. Meaning the only line diameter / breaking strain I will change will be the hook length. Saving loads of time and effort, there’s just no need to have loads of rigs tied to loads of different breaking strain lines. I’ll have couple of stronger rigs tied to Middy Lo-viz just in case there’s a chance of a big Perch or something. My commercial rigs are all done in the same way 95% will be tied to Middy Lo-viz 0.14mm dia with a few tied to 0.18mm.
Back to the hook boxes then, As with my rigs I’ve a narrow selection of hooks for that cover everything I need them for.
Whether your fishing natural venues or commercials, hooks are normally in a variation of two shapes. Take a look at their shape and you’ll find there’ll be hooks that have a round bend and some that will almost have a notched bend these being called crystal bend. This is the same whether they are eye’d or spade end.
To those two shapes we can add in wide gape, long shank and short shank and of cause fine wire, forged nickle and dull, spade end or eyed. There’s a few more but the above are the most common.
How do I narrow these down?
I think the easiest way to narrow them down is to picture the bait your going to use on the hook, I say on the hook as a hair rigged bait is slightly different.
Lets start with what I use for natural venue fishing, as in Canals, Drains and Rivers. All of which are of a barbed type, Ill cover commercial hooks another day.
Round bend hooks
Round bend hooks are a bit of an all rounder suitable for most baits. But their round bend makes them prefect for bread, hemp and tare. (picture the shape of the bait and how it will sit on the hook) I use a Hayabusa 128 hook pattern from Colmic, they are a medium wire that have a fairly long shank which helps with mounting a bait on them. A very sharp hook, that takes some blunting!
On to the crystal bend hook. The shape of these hooks means they kind of sit down below the hook point. These hooks are great for maggots and caster plus small bits of worm. The shape of the hook makes the bait sit down in the deep part of the bend which helps stop the hook point from being masked. Casters also sit nice and straight which helps stop them from spinning in the flow. For these I use Colmic Nuclear B2000 hooks they have a long shank and are a fine wire. In tough cold conditions I will also use the B2000 for bread punch as the long shank makes holding the hook far easier with cold fingers.
Sticking with the crystal bend hook but in a short shank is the Colmic Nuclear B900 hook.
I find these being of a fine wire are spot on for small baits like Pinkies and Squats. The short shank helps balance the bait giving a slow and more natural fall. Downside with the short shank is mounting small baits can be a bit fiddly with cold hands.
Wide gaped hooks. I often hear “these 18’s are never 18’s their massive!”. The reason being is they’re wide gaped hooks effectively stretched to accommodate bigger baits. A lot of these patterns are taken from fly fishing where’s the hook needs to be wide to allow the tying of fly materials to them.
So wide gape in the crystal bend I use a Hayabusa 157 hook these are my go to worm hooks. Yes they are a big hook but there’s no point in messing about when your fishing a Lobworm or a bunch of Dendies. If your fishing with these bad boy’s the fish your after are generally not hook shy and you’re going to need a hook that’ll hang on!. Again the crystal bend helps keep the bait in the right place, a size 14 hook with a worm and corn cocktail can be a deadly bait in the summer. Picture the size of the bait to the size of the hook. A standard gape hook just won’t be big enough.
For the canal I’ll use the Hayabusa 220 which is a fine wire wade gape crystal bend. A very strong hook for the gauge of wire, a great bream hook.
Wide gape round bend hooks. I’ll tend to use these for baits like sweetcorn, meat and bread flake. Hayabusa 122 are the hook of choice, a very strong hook with quite a heavy gauge wire. Ideal for Barbel and Chub fishing with large baits like the above.
I’m sure your still thinking that’s a lot of hooks to remember and for which baits. So as mentioned above think bait size and shape.
I don’t have a massive selection of sizes so this narrows things down again. My hook boxes are for my float rigs this includes pole and rod and line.
River and Canal hooks boxes will have B2000’s and B900’s (crystal bend) in sizes 16’s 18’s and 20’s. Think bait sizes maggots casters, bread punch.
Hayabusa 128 (round bends) 16’s 18’s 20’s and 22’s
Wide gape crystal bends Hayabusa 157 16’s and 14’s
Only difference being the canal box will also have B2000’s in size 22 and I will have changed the Hayabusa 157’s for size 18 220 hooks.
The EVA spools will have wide gape hooks both in round and crystal bends in sizes from 14 to 8. These are my feeder / bomb hooks all of which are tied of to the spools due to wants hook lengths up to 3ft in length. School of thought is fish don’t tend to be hook shy when fishing the feeder or bomb and when they pick up that baited hook you want to know they are on! no point in messing about.
The main difference between the two hook boxes are line diameters, Ill go down a diameter for the canal hooks. So they’ll start on a 0.70mm to size 22 hooks where’s the river box will start at 0.80mm on a size 20 hook.
Canal box line diameters to hook sizes using Colmic stream line.
0.70mm size 22 0.80mm size 20, 18 0.90mm size 18, 16 0.103 size 18 220 pattern.
River box line diameters to hook sizes using Colmic stream line.
0.80mm size 20, 18 0.90mm size 18 0.103mm size 18, 16 0.115mm size 16 plus size 16 and 14 wide gape 157 pattern.
EVA spool Feeder & Bomb all hook sizes to 0.14mm Middy Lo-viz line
On a final note and I’m sure your asking yourself, but what do I use for tying my hooks?
I use a Stonfo hook tying machine, there are the more traditional hook tyers like the Match hook tyer. But with the bit of kit in the picture I can tie all my hooks to a set length with ease, and with no kinks in the line. There are more modern hook tying machines from Gizmo which are meant to be very good. But the Stonfo does the job prefect for me.