“Sticky Sharp” Fishing Hooks

Our recent visit to Canada took us to the country of the BuzzBomb, my favorite fishing lure. We did a little shopping, and I kept an eye out for the lure, reasoning that they might be slightly cheaper in its homeland. I brought home a small Zzinger, another product by the Tyee Tackle Company. It’s a minnow shaped lead lure that is played the same as a BuzzBomb.

I’ve been fishing it as winds allow since we returned from the trip (most of our days lately have been so windy I risk losing gear fishing off the rocks). I’ve caught a greenling on it, and had plenty of bumps and nibbles, but nothing’s caught. Finally, I did what I should have done as soon as I opened the package: I tested the treble hook on my thumbnail. I immediately realized my problem, the hook wasn’t “sticky sharp.”

fish hook and sharpener

My Zzinger’s treble hook and sharpening wand (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

This surprised me, as almost all the hooks included with BuzzBombs have been sticky sharp out of the package. The experience reminded me that the fisher who doesn’t check for sharpness every time generally goes without fish for dinner.

“Sticky sharp” means a hook passes the sharpness test of hanging the hook of a fingernail. If the point is sharp enough to stick on the nail, it’s sharp enough to hook a fish that strikes it. If not, it needs to be sharpened.

I have a whetstone designed for the purpose, with a groove cut down the center of it. However, it’s not as fine as I’d like, so I use a diamond sharpening steel made by The Ultimate Edge. Its diamond dust-coated wand sharpens freehand very well; I turn it sideways to the hook point and stroke it all around in short, brushing motions. A couple of passes over each tip sharpens a hook very well.

Voila! Sticky sharp. The hook stopped bouncing off the fish that struck it, and started catching them. Every hook should be checked for sharpness out of the box, and should be resharpened after use. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of occasionally.

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