Sharpen Your Fishing Hooks

I was rummaging around in some tackle bags last night, looking for lures that I'll use for a saltwater trip next week. There were some oldies but goodies-- ancient Kastmaster and Hopkins tins, for example-- that are great producers but need work. So it's time to sharpen some hooks.

Hook sharpening is probably the single most neglected thing in all of fishing. It's true that the latest generations of chemically sharpened hooks don't need touching up, especially in smaller sizes, but older hooks do, along with larger trebles and the big hooks on larger streamer flies. The easiest way is to use the Donmar-style sharpener shown in the photo. (As far as I can tell, the company doesn't have a website, but you can find the product at various online retail-tackle outlets.)

Look carefully and you'll see this is nothing more than a pair of round, chainsaw files held tightly together. Swipe a hook point along the groove where the files meet. Sharpening is very fast and easy.

It's also easy to make you own, similar device. Just tape a couple of round files tightly together. Make sure the teeth on both files are pointing in the same direction. Or you can get fancy and cut shorter sections from the same files. Then mount one pair of ends in a wooden handle with epoxy. Tightly tape the other ends together, and you've made a device that's smaller and easier to use.

There are lots of ways to sharpen hooks, of course. Small grooved "stones" impregnated with diamond dust works well, or you might even use an old-fashioned Arkansas stone for tiny dry-fly hooks. But the simple, two-file system is by far the fastest device I've found for bigger hooks.

So let's hear what you do. Are you ever sharpening hooks, and with what? Or do you even bother?