Catch comes easy when you have right hook

OUTDOORS

August 15, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

The fishing hook is one of mankind's oldest tools. Today's selection of hooks reflects a high degree of engineering but because there are so many designs available, the fisherman must understand some basic characteristics of the hook to maximize his chances of success.

This was pounded home to me recently when I made a presentation to one of Carroll County's youth groups.

Depending upon the intended purpose of the hook, a point can be long, short, straight or curved. It can be angled away from the shank or even with it. Whether triangulated or hollow ground, the point must be kept needle sharp because more fish probably are lost to dull hooks than any other reason.

New hooks are rarely fishing sharp. The best tool for the job is a small hook hone, available at any tackle shop, or a small grit file.

Any hook featuring an offset point is intended for bait-fishing.

The hook's barb prevents the hook from backing its way out of a fish's mouth.

Or, the barb can be filed away or bent closed. When choosing barbed hook, pick one with a relatively high barb when going after big fish with heavy tackle. A low barb penetrates easier than a high design and is intended for light lines.

Hook size is determined by the gap, which is the distance between the hook shank and the point. The bite is the distance between the point of the hook and the bend. Bite limits the penetration of the barb.

The curved portion of the hook is called the bend. The round bend, also called "perfect," is the most common. A parabolic bend is found on limerick and sprout model hooks.

The hook shank is the straight portion between the bend and the eye. A bait fisherman should choose a short or curved shank coupled with an offset point. This short shank is easier to hide and less apt to damage your bait.

A long shank is ideal for bucktails and streamers and probably is the best choice for fish like muskie or pike because of their teeth. Offset shanks are the choice for plastic baits. Lastly, there is a humped shank that is used mostly in lure bodies.

Shanks also are designated by length. This is described in relation to the shank lengths of other sizes and can be confusing to the novice. For example, a 2X long has a shank equal in length to a hook two sizes larger. Likewise, a 3X short is three times smaller, and so on.

Of course, the fishing line is attached to a hook's eye, but do you know whether a hook that is turned up, down or straight will serve your needs whether bassing on the Potomac or bottom fishing on the Bay, or maybe going for pike out at Deep Creek?

The straight or ring eye is found on all treble hooks. Single-point hooks use a turned-down eye. A turned-up eye usually is found only on small hooks and aids in better point and barb penetration.

Bay, ocean or brackish water anglers always should use stainless hooks, and the freshwater angler is best served by a bronze-finished hook. Both resist rusting. Blued hooks are cheaper, but rust quickly.

There are four types of sinkers, each serving a specific purpose.

Pyramid-shaped sinkers are intended for bottom fishing and are at their best on soft or sandy bottoms. The Depsey is similar to the pyramid.

Carroll bass anglers are familiar with the sliding sinker, which is drilled through to allow the line to pass through. It is the favorite of plastic wormers. Split shot is the most common sinker. It is a piece of round lead with a split on one side.

Dove season dates

Since the bottom fell out of pheasant hunting in the area some years ago, the dove has become the local favorite upland bird. This year's dates are Sept. 1-Oct. 23, Nov. 16-26 and Dec. 20-25.

The early season shooting hours are noon to sunset. During the two short hunts, the hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. The daily limit is 12 and the possession limit is 24.

Carroll does have some limited woodcock gunning. This season is set for Oct. 19-26 and Dec. 13-18 and the daily limit is three with six in possession.

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