New Fishing Tackle: Needle Sharp Hooks Penetrate Better
We all recall being taught to use a fine file to hone a sharp point on a brand new hook before using it. Under magnification, many brand new hooks were really dull. The test was to sharpen it until when scraped across your fingernail it would begin to penetrate.
Hooks manufactured with that technology are still on the shelves of many tackle shops, although they quite properly should be discarded.
Today when you place a hook under the magnifying glass the point is needle sharp, and hard, so it penetrates with ease. The hooks are laser sharpened, and chemically treated, resulting in an excellent quality hook that holds its point and strength, and resists rust in the hostile salt water environment. You actually dull today’s hooks if you attempt to sharpen them with a file!
In addition, there are many new hook designs, especially the ringed hook systems offered by some manufacturers. The free-swinging ring is ideal for live bait fishing, for it offers the baitfish more freedom to move about.
There are no tackle shops at sea, and anglers who fish on long-range party boats require dependable fishing tackle. Any equipment in your tackle locker that’s over 5 years old may well need to be retired, for you’ll enhance your fishing enjoyment with the newest gear.
New Fishing Tackle Designs
This selection of stand-up tackle and high-speed trolling lures just didn’t exist years ago. With the great improvement in tackle of this type, anglers are able to subdue tuna and marlin of several hundred pounds while fishing from the decks of party boats on all three coasts.
Surf anglers subject their tackle to the worst elements saltwater fishing has to offer. The new reels are impervious to salt water’s corrosive action when properly cared for. Each season sees a host of lures enter the market, offering usability and reliability to the serious surf fisherman.
The Circle Style Hook
The Circle style hook, while dating back centuries, found little application in the sport fishing community until recently. By virtue of its design, the Circle hook is seldom swallowed by a fish, but instead lodges in the corner of the fish’s jaw, where it may easily be removed.
This is extremely important when seeking species that are regulated by states where there are size limits, or where an angler wishes to practice catch and release.
Circle hooks are even being used with excellent results while seeking billfish and tunas on the offshore grounds. While with the “J” style hook the angler customarily hooks the fish by striking back with his rod, with Circle hooks the best success rates are achieved by hesitating and not reeling until the fish has turned and moved off with the bait.
For years anglers have used a small barrel swivel to join their leader to their line. While small, they were still bulky, and you couldn’t go to too small a swivel because they just didn’t have sufficient breaking strength.
Suddenly, the Spro power barrel swivel came to market, and it’s only a third the size of a conventional barrel swivel of the same test. This results in a connection between line and leader that is barely noticeable.
The same is true with the variety of snaps and hardware used to attach lures, all of which are now available in small sizes with greatly improved strength and resistance to the onslaughts of a saltwater environment.
Plethora of Lures Tempt Lunkers
Today’s plugs are designed for every application, from swimming enticingly on the surface, to probing the depths. They’re made of plastic for the most part, nearly indestructible, and their colors replicate in detail the baitfish they’re meant to imitate.
Some have metal rattles built into their body, which aid in casting, but also emits fish-attracting sound. Most important of all, the split rings and through-wire hook hangers are made of stainless steel that is virtually impervious to corrosion.
The same improvements observed earlier for “J” style and Circle hooks have also occurred with treble hooks. The hooking qualities of the triple grip style treble is awesome. One style still lacking is a quality treble without a barb, so as to facilitate quick release.
On a triple grip style hook this would be a godsend, so go to it manufacturers, as every catch and release angler will replace barbed trebles with your offering!
Climbing around coastal rockpiles requires dependable equipment that can take a lot of abuse. Today’s anglers have the opportunity of using of the finest quality, and they have a huge selection of excellent lures and fishing tackle at their disposal.
The anglers who troll blue water for pelagic species, including the tunas, billfish, wahoo, and dolphin, now enjoy a selection of high-speed trolling lures that are virtually guaranteed to bring results.
Much the same is true for anglers who probe estuaries with light tackle and use lead head jigs. Years ago there were but a handful of jigs available, and today the lead heads are airbrushed to resemble every baitfish imaginable, with finite detail right down to their eyes. The skirts were once but bucktail or feathers.
Today they’re soft plastic, in every color imaginable, with such minute detail that if you hold a live sand launce in the palm of your hand and a soft plastic replica, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference.
While the tackle and lures have changed, there is one technique that we’d like to share with all saltwater anglers, on all three coasts. Throughout the season, while having upgraded to the equipment just described, make yourself a promise to try a teaser ahead of your primary lure.
Begin with a 4-foot long piece of fluorocarbon leader material. Tie a tiny Spro power swivel within a dropper loop, with one end measuring 12 inches and the other 36 inches. Tie a tiny duo-lock snap to the short leader end to accommodate the teaser, and a somewhat larger duo-lock snap to the terminal end of the leader for your primary lure.
Use a small saltwater fly like the Clouser minnow as a teaser, although most any saltwater fly will do. By season’s end you may find yourself catching more fish on the teaser than on the primary lure. Importantly, you’ll receive strikes from species that normally would not strike the large primary lure.
Years ago anglers fought sailfish while strapped into a harness in a fighting chair. Today’s quality light tackle enables anglers to catch the magnificent game fish while using stand-up tackle, and 15- to 20-pound test fine diameter lines balanced to equally light tackle, maximizing the enjoyment.
Light spinning tackle enables saltwater anglers to tangle with great gamefish, like this fine wahoo being brought to boatside while drifting across Challenger Banks off Bermuda.
Tarpon are great acrobats, jumping repeatedly as they tear line from the reel with a smooth as silk drag being used by the author as he fished out of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
Light tackle provides anglers the opportunity of maximizing their enjoyment of the sport, and today’s reliable, state of the art tackle makes it all possible.
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