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Many larger types of bait come with hooks that are not very sharp.

Do you replace the hooks with out of the box needle sharp hooks from Owner or Gamakatsu, etc?

Or do you use the often relatively dull large hooks that come with these baits and sharpen them yourselves. Say using the Smity file or other file.

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Sharp hooks are crucial at times, especially when you may only get one shot at a fish that day, you don't want a dull hook to be the reason you go home skunked. I like to sharpen hooks whether they are ones that come on a bait or new replacement hooks. When you get up above 5/0, it's tough to find hooks that are sharp enough out of the box.

I saw a video of how to sharpen hooks with a dremel tool, really neat and works well when you are at home to do mass hook sharpening. A lot of people carry files with them to sharpen their hooks after any "event" whether it be bumping structure (timber, rocks, etc.), snags, or contact with a fish.

I am too lazy to sharpen on the water but maybe I should at least being a file with me.... or invest in a battery powered dremel.

With that said, I'm not sure that I can say that I 100% lost a fish due to a dull hook. I do know that I am certain I do not want to miss a fish of a lifetime because of something silly that I can prevent in our 6 month off season!

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I like sharp hooks, vmc conecuts is what I settled on after trying em all. No matter what, a nice file either a normal flat one or the two round ones put together. Leo lures makes a great one that easy to use. I can't afford the owner hooks and gamies doesn't make hooks in some of the larger sizes we need.

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While we're at it, who's making GOOD split rings these days? I like storm lures. Hooks are wicked sharp out of the box, but thin wire bends up easily, especially in the net. Usually replace the center hook with a Gamatsu. Now split rings are the issue.

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A sharp hook should stick to your fingernail instead of sliding across it. Most new hooks do not. If it doesn't, it isn't sharp. Having sharp hooks is arguably the most important factor in strike to hookup ratio. They can become a little dull over time (due to oxidation) or from contacting structure. It is a good idea to check them often, especially after missing a fish or contacting structure. They also need to have a nice gradual taper for deep and easy penetration. So they can only be sharpened so many times before they need to be replaced. Becoming experienced at using a good flat hook file is the best way to go. Using a power tool can heat up the very point of the hook and compromise the hardness of the steel.

Edited by muskiedreams
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A sharp hook should stick to your fingernail instead of sliding across it. Most new hooks do not. If it doesn't, it isn't sharp. Having sharp hooks is arguably the most important factor in strike to hookup ratio. They can become a little dull over time (due to oxidation) or from contacting structure. It is a good idea to check them often, especially after missing a fish or contacting structure. They also need to have a nice gradual taper for deep and easy penetration. So they can only be sharpened so many times before they need to be replaced. Becoming experienced at using a good flat hook file is the best way to go. Using a power tool can heat up the very point of the hook and compromise the hardness of the steel.

Agreed I’ve come to learn sharp hooks are important as a safeguard against lost fish. My lost fish ratio has gone down by using sharp hooks. It doesn’t seem to be so much an issue with the smaller baits. But with larger hooks “for me 1/0 to 5/0â€, it seems to make a big difference. As mentioned many out of the box baits: DepthRaider’s, DDD’s, large Rapala’s, to name a few come with hooks that just aren’t that sharp. The issue it seems to get worse with larger hooks.

Personally I like the chain saw type of file, as sold by Smity. But to each their own. The key is to file off enough material to give it that needle sharp point. This should be performed so the tip is not filed at too steep an angle. Also not to take off to much material, thus ruining the point or misshaping it to a nub.

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"Big" hooks start at 7/0s and go as large as 10/0s in my boat. Mustad 3551s are dull from the box but once you prep them quick with a flat file and a couple chainsaw files taped together the things get scary sharp quick. Size 7 bucher split rings are an amazing option for those not wanting to spring for spros, not going to bend them out, outside of the net anyway. Every musky angler should be proficient with a hook file and no bait should hit the drink without being checked over for razor sharp hooks. Also anybody fishing trophy waters should really consider upping your hook size to the biggest the bait can handle withoutbimpacting lure action negatively. I starting upping all my mag dawgs to at least 8/0s with pounders getting outfitted with 9s or even 10s. Same with bucktails, twin 10s get a 9/0 out back and a 7 or 8 up front anytime the fishery deserves the respect.

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Many larger types of bait come with hooks that are not very sharp.

Do you replace the hooks with out of the box needle sharp hooks from Owner or Gamakatsu, etc?

Or do you use the often relatively dull large hooks that come with these baits and sharpen them yourselves. Say using the Smity file or other file.

I use VMC hooks as they sharpen nice and typically are good to go out of the box. A lot of larger hooks come dull in the box from being tossed around or weren't needle sharp when they left the factory. A quick filing takes care of that, no big deal. Most 3x or 4x hooks will work regardless of brand. A flat chainsaw file is all you need.

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I don't think the difference is that much so long as you get a good solid hookset... I think you could cut the tip off and still bury it with a good hookset

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I would have to disagree 100%. Sharp hooks are a must when trying to penetrate an esoxs mouth. Every cast made with even one dull hook out of the 6 or 9 on the bait is a waste of time.

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Sharp hooks are crucial at times, especially when you may only get one shot at a fish that day, you don't want a dull hook to be the reason you go home skunked. I like to sharpen hooks whether they are ones that come on a bait or new replacement hooks. When you get up above 5/0, it's tough to find hooks that are sharp enough out of the box.

I saw a video of how to sharpen hooks with a dremel tool, really neat and works well when you are at home to do mass hook sharpening. A lot of people carry files with them to sharpen their hooks after any "event" whether it be bumping structure (timber, rocks, etc.), snags, or contact with a fish.

I am too lazy to sharpen on the water but maybe I should at least being a file with me.... or invest in a battery powered dremel.

With that said, I'm not sure that I can say that I 100% lost a fish due to a dull hook. I do know that I am certain I do not want to miss a fish of a lifetime because of something silly that I can prevent in our 6 month off season!

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

I can say that I have lost a fish one time due to a dull hook. One time is all it took. You can dull a hook on a rock your first cast and be screwed the rest of the day if that's the hot bait. 30 seconds and you're sharpened up.

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I totally agree that sharp hooks are important. I have lost many fish, including straightening a hook, bite off(s), and fish just coming loose. I fixed straightening hooks by paying attention to my drag, the bite off by switching from fluoro to steel and if I am vigilant with sharpening hooks, I expect to see an improvement with losing fish there as well.

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I totally agree that sharp hooks are important. I have lost many fish, including straightening a hook, bite off(s), and fish just coming loose. I fixed straightening hooks by paying attention to my drag, the bite off by switching from fluoro to steel and if I am vigilant with sharpening hooks, I expect to see an improvement with losing fish there as well.

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I have a flat file, a couple of small 1/2 round files, and a small stone. Whichever hook I'm using from 6/0 circles to #4 bait-holder hooks seems to be covered. They take up very little space, and I want sticky sharp hooks for every thing.

I check hooks often.

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Key points are to sharpen the sides of the point, then just touching up the outward pointing edge. The angle used during sharpening should be keep very narrow only a few degrees.

When the sharpened hook digs in (makes a scratch) when run across your finger nail it's sharp enough. Simple but effective test for hooks after sharpening.

One can over sharpen a hook point thus ruining it's point which is often tempered steel. Once a hook effectivly losses it's point it will never hold the point the same way.

Edited by NPike
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I love it when when my 1/2 spinner bait goes right through the roof of a pikes mouth as far as hooks I like vmc. Not only are they sharp, but they stay sharp

Agreed with smaller sized it doesn’t seem to be as critical. However with the larger hooks it is very critical. For size 1/0 to 5/0+ only a few brands are sharp out of the box: Owner, Gamakatsu and a few Mustads like their ultra points. The rest of the larger hooks made by VMC, Eagle claw, most Mustads, Tyrant to name a few need touching up when using larger baits.

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I totally agree that sharp hooks are important. I have lost many fish, including straightening a hook, bite off(s), and fish just coming loose. I fixed straightening hooks by paying attention to my drag, the bite off by switching from fluoro to steel and if I am vigilant with sharpening hooks, I expect to see an improvement with losing fish there as well.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

when i switched from mono to 80 lb braid i got cocky about how strong it was and cranked the drag down. That's when i found out how weak some of the hooks are that come on lures. You really have to adjust the drag to match the hooks you're using.

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