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#19359 - 09/23/03 03:39 AM Fish hooks
Doug_Ritter Offline


Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1948
A gentleman recently contacted my with the following message that I found to be interesting. Wondered if anyone here had any personal experience that might corroborate or refute this using the very basic fishing gear we pack into a survival kit?
I noticed in your review of various individual compact survival kits that you did not address the quality of the fishing kit components... Much experience in fly fishing for trout and steelhead has taught me that it is supremely important to have the sharpest fishhooks available. Using Gamakatsu, and other premium Japanese hooks, instead of WalMart staples like Eagle Claw and even Mustad, increases hooking and fish landing percentages dramatically. Considering the difficulty of catching anything at all with the typical survival-kit fishing..., I think high quality hooks would be an important advantage to add, especially because the advantage comes without increasing the weight or bulk of the kit. I might also suggest some lighter (say 3 lb. test flourocarbon) monofilament line, to provide a better chance at catching the small fish in shallow water necessitated by only having a short total length of line available. Of course the lighter line will also tend be more affected by deterioration due to heat or solvents.

Thoughts or comments welcome.
Doug Ritter
Equipped To SurviveŪ
Chairman & Executive Director
Equipped To Survive Foundation

#19360 - 09/23/03 09:56 AM Re: Fish hooks

This is something that I have noticed also, the quality of the items in the survival fishing kit were awful, obviously the person putting most of the commercial kits together were not fishermen. I carry a bigger than normal fishing kit because I love to fish and like to keep the right gear close to hand. Three things that I think that you should always have in your kit are, quality hand tied fly hooks in a variety of patterns, my favorites are telico nymph, hares ear nymph, and adams dry fly. Beetlespin lures, work on a variety of species of fish, and work well. A spool of 4 pound test line, the type that is sold to tie your own leaders, again quality, not walmart. I am not suggesting that this be the only line you carry but in a survival situation I will probably go for the small frying pan size fish instead of the lunkers, much easier on the tackle, plentiful, and in most cases easier to catch. My heavy line will be used for limb lines and trot lines. As far as hooks go I am a fan of Tru Turn hooks I always touch up the point myself, you know it is sharp enough when you drag it across your thumbnail and it grabs and doesn't slide. One more thing that I like to keep with me is a piece of emory cloth, it doesn't take up much space and is handy to sharpen hooks and even your knife in an emergency. Chris

#19361 - 09/23/03 01:41 PM Re: Fish hooks
indoorsman Offline

Registered: 05/10/03
Posts: 88
Loc: Ohio
Sad to say, I know absolutely nothing about fishing, and so Wal-Mart looked about as good as anyplace else fishing-wise. I wouldn't know what to look for or even where to look. This might be a topic worthy of some elaboration, as the fishing 'challenged' among us could undoubtedly use every little bit of help we could get. <img src="images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
It's later than you think...

#19362 - 09/23/03 03:07 PM Re: Fish hooks

Hi guys:

I've been fishing since I was three. Spent every summer on an island, and did little but fish fish fish. And it caught everything from four inch shiners, panfish, bass, pike, walleye through to muskie. And I have to say I notice a big difference in hook quality.

First of all, I never buy a snelled hook. This really isn't relevant for PSKs, but most snells are too darned stiff and heavy.

As for the typical "walmart" cheapo Eagle and assorted no-name stuff, I won't use them. For any given size these cheap hooks are usually heavier (thicker) than usual. Despite more metal, they seem to bend far too easily. I can only conclude that they are some inferior metal. They also rarely have an adequately sharpened point, and do not take sharpening well. The metal is too soft to take a good point.

Depending on purpose and size I stick exclusively to a variety of 'premium' hooks. I'll use Gamakatsu's for larger bass and game fish. They are definite sharper, and are stronger despite being thinner. They typically hold up better too.

As for panfish and trout, I opt for fly tying hooks. I'm often using Mustad, but these hooks seem to be of higher quality than the usual Walmart Mustad bait holder bulk packed junk. The fly hooks are available in almost every conceivable size and shape, and quality is very very good.

For extremely small hooks, opt for a dry fly hook. The dry fly hooks are thinner by a good margin, and you can catch a lot of smaller fish that won't reliably hook up on a larger, thicker hook. Better a lot of small fish than no fish at all... And these high quality fly hooks are used to land some truly large trout. It's amazing to see a BIG brown or rainbow landed on a size 22 dry...

There is only one down side to some of these fly hooks. They rust rather readily. If stored well, they keep well. However, high moisture over long period of time make for rusted hooks. Swap the hooks out occasionally.

In the North Eastern US, there are plentiful streams and ponds. Some have bigger fish, but many do not. A lot of Adoprindack streams hold small trout and a variety of chubs. All of these fish have rather small mouths, and the usual size 6 or 8 hooks, especially the cheapie hooks, will not reliably hook these fish. A short length of 2 or 4 lb test mono, and a size 12, 14 or 16 dry fly hook, baited with almost anything that looks remotely edible, will make for a fun afternoon catching a mutlitude of small but scrappy little fish. And it will land the occasional big one too.

On the smallest sizes you may want to opt for an up-turned eye, to increase the point to shank clearance to help ensure hook ups.

Just my $0.02


#19363 - 09/23/03 03:21 PM Re: Fish hooks

You are spot on. I have fished mustad number 8 and 10s with crickets for panfish since forever and they are excellent hooks. I didn't mention gamagatsu(sp) I have never seen these any smaller than 4 and most in the 0 range. Do they even make smaller sizes, I am going to research it now and order some if they do, because they are the best I have fished, razor sharp out of the package. We are talking about hook sharpness, an interesting demonstration is to take a fresh caght catfish and slide the hook along its skin, 90% will slide right off, if it grabs its sharp enough and you will catch more fish.

I did research it and here is the link.

Edited by WEB (09/23/03 03:29 PM)

#19364 - 09/23/03 03:31 PM Re: Fish hooks
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 962
Loc: Germany
I started fishing more than two decades ago. The quality of the hooks proved to be vital when it was hard to hook a fish and premium hooks are an advantage on normal days. I observed that fishermen who used cheap blunt hooks broke the leader more often than others as they yanked harder to set the hook. For a survival kit I wouldnīt take cheap hooks as the saving isnīt really substantial and the disadvantages are far too obvious. A light monofilament will make it easier to tie small hooks to the line. It is an asset if you have it at least for the leaders.
My favorite hooks are Gamakatsu and VMC (a french brand).
If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

#19365 - 09/23/03 03:35 PM Re: Fish hooks

As someone who only includes a pre-bought fishing kit (from the BCB PSK) for the fishing line as extra thread and has never fished (beyond crab catching rom a pier), what would people recommend be included, more in case I'm with someone who can fish rather than me using it.Or should I not bother?

I also live in the UK, so no Walmart anyway!

Fishing is a skill I'd like to learn but I'm not currently in a position to... <img src="images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> (I'm trying to learn some knots though, but they're not going to be fish-tested for quite some time)

#19366 - 09/23/03 03:49 PM Re: Fish hooks
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1709
yeah, i have no experians in fishing either, any tips ? i do have some very sharp japanse highcarbon chemical sharpend hooks ( i hook my self everytime i come close to those fellows, auw.. <img src="images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />) but i did made a nightline, but never used it ( illegal to use here ). I'm lucky to have a very nice fishing store in town....
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjQHh-hs39h6xWirxHo_HwA

#19367 - 09/23/03 05:00 PM Re: Fish hooks
boatman Offline

Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 424
Loc: Michigan
I have had good luck with Tru-Turns.I have also wanted to try circle sea hooks.Friends have told me they practicly set them selves.Just a slow steady pull and they're on.I also have a U.S.issued survival fishing kit and most of it is JUNK! In the military we always joke on how most every thing is made by the lowest bidder and it shows. I am using it as a model and replacing it all with high end stuff. I do need to learn more on fly fishing so I can pick out appropriate flies.The only quality items in the Mil-Spec kit were the sail needles and safety pins.
Just my $.02

#19368 - 09/23/03 06:10 PM Re: Fish hooks
elnath Offline

Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 38
Loc: SouthEast New Hampshire
Well, I'm sure Chris's fishing kit review will address all of this....and maybe the new nanotechnology hooks...or will they be old technology by the time we see the article <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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