Its been a while since I wrote anything about end tackle so I thought I’d concentrate on possibly the most important part of any carp rig, namely the carp hook. The carp hook is so important but it can so often be overlooked, these days I really only have 3 patterns of carp hook I use regularly but before I look at them I’d like to look at two other important items namely a magnifier and a hook sharpener.
Your hook point is so vitally important, a razor sharp hook that’s able to take hold easily is vital in today’s modern carp world, if you don’t keep your hooks razor sharp you will undoubtedly loose fish at some point (lol).
Two things I always carry in my tackle box are a magnifier and a diamond file hook sharpener. I’ve seen the magnifier available from the odd fishing tackle company but it comes at a bit of an extortionate price!, the magnifiers correct name is a Jewellers Loupe and you can find them for a fraction of the cost a tackle company charges if you click the link!. Generally you want a jewellers loupe with a x10 magnification to inspect your hook point carefully but they are also available in x12, x15, x20 and x30 if you want to take an even closer look at your hook point. As a matter of routine I always check my hook before I cast out any rig, to not do so is to invite a lost fish and it’s something every angler should do. Can you imagine fishing a hard carp water and waiting 6 months for a run only to loose the fish because your hook point had turned over and you hadn’t checked it?, it’s just not worth missing out that quick hook check before casting!.
As much as tackle companies would like you to use a fresh rig after catching a fish, or starting a new session, or even casting out again!, you can’t escape the fact that carp hooks are expensive!. I tend to use the same hook week to week until it’s blunt enough to need sharpening, when the hook reaches this stage I’ll touch it up using the jewellers loupe and a Diamond File Hook Sharpener. After one touch up job, next time the hook blunts I’ll bin it and tie a new rig. Again you can get a diamond file from a few tackle companies but they are available cheaper elsewhere, it seems these days putting ‘carp’ next to something entitles people to double the price and I’d advise buying a diamond file from a trout fishing shop instead.
My first and top carp hook is the Kamasan B175, this hook is actually a very heavy trout hook but many years ago carp anglers adopted it to our style of fishing as it lent itself perfectly to the knotless knot. The Kamasan B175 is a long shank hook with a straight point and a down turned eye, used with the famous knotless knot it has that lovely turn or flip effect when you draw the rig across your finger. One test I do is to try and pull the hook over my finger without it turning and digging in, due to the long shank and down turned eye this is very difficult, not only will you have difficultly avoiding the hook turning and taking hold, so will the carp!. Another good point about the B175 hooks is their price, we seem to have reached the £5 per 10 packet of carp hooks so at around £8 per box of 100 hooks, the Kamasan B175’s will really help keep your end tackle costs down. All in all, I’ve been using this particular pattern of hook for carp fishing for around 17/18 years now and where I’m allowed to use it, it’s my first choice every time.
Next up is the Korda Kaptor Kurv Shank Hooks.Some carp waters have banned long shank carp hooks and my syndicate water is one of them. Having spent so many years having total confidence in Kamasan hooks I had some real confidence issues when it came to switching patterns. It took me a while to find a suitable alternative and unfortunately the hook that fitted the bill was one of the most expensive!. Price aside though, the Korda Kurv shank hooks have really been superb for me during my time in the syndicate, I’ve had no issues with hook pulls or missed runs and every fish has been nailed. The first thing you notice about the Korda Kurv shanked hooks is the hook points, in keeping with my liking for a razor sharp hook I really can’t fault these hooks. They are packaged perfectly with each hook clipped into the box and coming with a small hook point protector to ensure they stay razor sharp. I’m not usually a fan of Korda Tackle but I have to say these kurv hooks are brilliant. The Kurv hooks are quite big and I like a quite small hook so the size I’ve been using is a 12!. Tied either as a kd-rig for popups or with the hair exiting near the bend of the hook for bottom baits as per the korda instructions and dvd’s, these hooks have worked superbly well for me and they are something Korda have got absolutely spot on.
My third hook is the ESP Big T Raptor Hook in size 10. Although ESP recommend this hook for bottom bait fishing, I use the Big-T Raptor strictly for fishing up in the water, either with a floater setup or as part of a zig rig. This particular ESP hook lends itself perfectly to surface fishing and the size 10 is small enough to fool wary fish and strong enough to cope with the big ones. I generally use Drennan Double Strength mono for both surface and zig fishing and with only a 12% downturn in the eye these hooks lend themselves to a mono hook length nicely. Again the hook point is mega sharp and I’ve never had one let me down yet.
So that’s just about it for carp hooks, I do have a few other patterns in my tackle box, Drennan Super Specialist Hooks in size 6 and 8, I use these for surface fishing too or rather I did before ESP brought out the Big-T Raptor. Fox Arma Point SSP Hooks I found these to be mega sharp too but the Korda Kurv Hooks quickly run out winners for me purely because they are so versatile, I can use them with pop up or bottom baits. This is not to detract from the Arma Points, they too are a very good hook, me choosing the Korda Kurv was just personal choice but I still keep the Armapoints handy just in case.
The above carp hooks are just my personal choice based on my own fishing, there are many other patterns of carp hook available today and if you put 10 carp anglers in a room I reckon they’d all have different opinions of which hook is best. No matter what hook you use, my final advice is to make sure you check the hook point before every cast, use a jewellers loupe and a diamond file to sharpen your hook if you feel the point isn’t sharp enough, make the process of checking the hook first part of your casting routine so you don’t forget to do it. If you can discipline yourself to carry out regular hook point checks prior to casting it will certainly help you put more carp on the bank.
A useful clip looking at the basic and very safe carp hair rig I use for most of my fishing.