With New Year’s behind us, we’re entering that time of the season when it seems winter drags on forever. For many anglers, this time of year is especially hard. With their boats in hibernation, most recreational fishermen are stuck on land, and they’re left to dream of warm fishing days to come as it seems the cold winter days slow to a crawl. But fishing isn’t all about the thrill of the catch. There’s other work to be done. And smart fishermen know to make the most of these fishless winter days. One way to do that is to spend this time sharpening your fishing hooks.
A good fisherman always wants to be sure his hooks are in great condition and ready for action before he hits the water. To do this, start by inspecting your hooks and toss out any old or rusty ones. Any hooks that look good might still be dull. Test this by lightly dragging the point of the hook across your thumbnail. If it digs into your nail, it’s sharp. But if it slides across it, it needs to be sharpened.
You should have a simple hook file handy. If you don’t, get one. Everyone fisherman should have one. Hold the hook firmly between your thumb and forefinger and then push the file across the angled cutting edge of the hook. Don’t saw the file back and forth. Make sure to push the file away from you with each swipe. Just three or four swipes should do the trick.
Next, turn the hook over, hold it in your other hand and file the other edge, remembering to push the file away from you. A few swipes along the base of the point should remove any burrs. When you’re done, test it again by lightly dragging it along your thumbnail. When all your hooks are sharpened, you’ll be that much closer to the start of the fishing season.