BET­TER GRIP

Gard­ner Tackle’s res­i­dent tactical ex­pert LEWIS READ looks at the prin­ci­pal causes of poor hookholds, and some of the sim­ple steps you can take to avoid them

Angling Times (UK) - - TACTICS -

THERE are few more galling feel­ings than los­ing a fish half­way through the fight or, worse still, at the net.

The ini­tial shock soon gives way to anger and, once the of­fend­ing rod has been re­trieved from the bush it was thrown into, de­jec­tion takes over.

Some of these losses might be down to tackle break­ages or un­seen sub­merged ob­sta­cles but, in most cases, it’s a poor hookhold that’s to blame.

So, what are the main con­tribut­ing causes of poor hookholds? Main­tain­ing a ‘good’ pre­sen­ta­tion that is un­tan­gled is ob­vi­ously a vi­tal con­sid­er­a­tion, and sim­ple things, like mak­ing sure the hair comes off the back of the shank un­twisted, and that the hair, bait size and hook­link length are all in pro­por­tion with one an­other, are cen­tral to gain­ing se­cure hookholds.

Ba­sic stuff, for sure, but these are the things that make rigs work or fail. Some an­glers seem to suf­fer far more hookpulls than oth­ers, and the rea­sons are nor­mally ex­tremely var­ied…and eas­ily fix­able! If you’re one of those un­lucky an­glers, then hope­fully I’ll be able to sug­gest a so­lu­tion that will help to some de­gree.

Points and an­gles

Stan­dard rig prin­ci­ples are well-known, but some as­pects are so im­por­tant that, if con­tra­vened, the con­se­quences can be dis­mal bankside re­sults.

The ob­vi­ous start­ing point is the hook it­self. Most of the time we rely on the hook to prick and pen­e­trate quickly, with min­i­mal re­sis­tance, but if yours is any­thing other than sticky sharp you will be com­pletely un­der­min­ing the po­ten­tial of the ter­mi­nal ar­range­ment – it’s that sim­ple.

This could lead to ‘un­miss­able runs’ be­ing missed, or fish fall­ing off a few sec­onds into the fight due to the hook not pen­e­trat­ing as it should.

Some an­glers will say they bin the hook af­ter ev­ery fish, but I take a more re­al­is­tic view, and just test the point. If it’s not ‘sticky sharp’, I’ll either re­sharpen it (if I’m tight for time) or tie up a new rig.

There’s all sorts of ways of test­ing the hook­point, but my pre­ferred method is to put the point ver­ti­cally on to your fin­ger­nail. If it slides at all, then it’s blunt and you’ll need to change the hook or give it some TLC.

There’s lit­tle use in hon­ing your points to per­fec­tion if the pat­tern of hook you’re us­ing isn’t suited for the rig or hook­bait be­ing used. If it has a shape that doesn’t cre­ate a pos­i­tive an­gle of draw (so that the pres­sure on the hook pulls the point in align­ment with the force), then it doesn’t mat­ter how sharp the point is – it’s not go­ing to be pulling in the right di­rec­tion.

For ex­am­ple, if you’re fish­ing with a wide gape pat­tern with a straight point on a soft hook­link, it may pull across the skin rather than pen­e­trate be­cause the point is drag­ging at quite a se­vere an­gle – rather than be­ing pulled at an an­gle that of­fers min­i­mal re­sis­tance to go­ing in. Con­versely, the same pat­tern mounted on a stiff ma­te­rial that holds the hook at a suf­fi­cient an­gle to min­imise this is­sue is far more likely to go in prop­erly.

Why length mat­ters…

The length of hook­link you use can also have a big bear­ing on hookholds, not least in the way it com­pen­sates for the pres­ence of any de­tri­tus, weed or soft sed­i­ment which could im­pede pen­e­tra­tion. If your hook­bait and rig get buried in weed, then the rig sim­ply may not work as in­tended. ‘Go­ing longer’ en­sures that the rig isn’t

“Xoxox oxx oxox x xox­oox xox x x xxoxox x xox oxox xo xox xox xox xox xoxo xoxo xxo xoxo xoxox oxo xox xox xox­oox oxo xooxxo xo BOT­TOM RIGHT: A small PVA mesh bag of boilie crumb threaded down the hook­link will help the rig to set­tle on top of any weed or lakebed debris, thereby keep­ing the hook clear of trou­ble.

ABOVE: Put the point ver­ti­cally on to your fin­ger­nail. If it stays put, it’s sharp, if it slides at all un­der light pres­sure, sharpen it or bin it!

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