Hook Size ? Part 1 - Logic not Folk Lore.
Although I've been an angler for forty seven years now and specialist carp fishing for thirty nine of those hook size has always been a subject of debate whether fishing for roach, perch, eels, tench or carp ! Luckily all those years of experience has taught me a lot particularly when it comes to hook size. Not just watching a few underwater films ( always filmed in a controlled enviroment
because they have to be ) but a combination of old fables, new knowledge and most importantly a lot of carp from a lot of waters being sat in my landing net. Whilst everyone has the right to an opinion the validity of the said opinion will vary depending on the individual and the longevity of their experience
To start with a little history lesson which shows where many 'assumptions' come from. Hooks today are light years ahead of the hooks from the noughties never mind the eighties and nineties. Back in the day a 4/5/6 was generally larger than a standard 4/5/6 of today and I guarantee a lot blunter to say the least. Hence anglers would drop hook sizes ( particularly in the colder months ), get more bites and say smaller hooks catch more carp. Technically yes but it was not particularly that the hook was smaller but it was sharper. Changing from a 6 to a 10 gave you a much finer slimmer point which naturally pricked more carp and caught you more fish. Go to a 12 and it was even sharper ( smaller ) . So that's where one of the misconceptions started ( from someone who believed it until I thought deeper about it ). Nowadays the point that the team at Rig It Tackle do me on my Twister 4's ( never mind 5's ) is as sharp / fine as a 10 from back in the day.
Another misconception I hear trotted out is that they see the bigger hooks...on the deck. Crazy! Drop a 4 into your lake and you won't see it; heck it's a lot thinner than virtually every weed strand I've ever seen ! And compared to the thickness / size / appearance of your tubing / leader /swivel / lead that hook is nothing ! If you believe that visually a big hook scares carp and a small hook doesn't then think again ( with the greatest of respect readers).
Thirdly when fishing for carp (certainly ten pounds and above ) most of them have a huge diameter of mouth in comparison to the hooks we use. Put a size 4 hook in a doubles mouth and it just disappears size wise. You could get ten in a line across it ...easy !
And bigger carp even more so. Remember this is not roach fishing, match fishing where often you are targeting fish under one
pound with comparatively small mouths. An 18 / 20 may be huge in comparison to a four ounce roach's mouth... The fact that those guys may think our hooks are too big is illogical when you think of it. Our quarry is probably ten, maybe twenty times bigger than their quarry yet our hooks certainly are not ! Logic not flipping folk lore!
Another misconception is when people look at rig diagrams, pictures and nice clean tank tests....which bear no resemblance to the carp's environment. Carp live in water, often murky, weedy, silty and coloured. If we are fishing close to the deck how on earth do you think they can identify that 'big' hook? They test items by sucking them in (they've not got hands) not by looking at them (unless blatantly obvious). I'd be far more worried about looped hooklengths, shiny hooks in shallow water etc than size alone. And when the carp do take the item (hook) in it goes in with loads of water, silt, weed and crud. That 4 gets lost in the mix to say the least!
And the final misconception is how the size / weight of the hook affects the performance / behaviour of your hookbait? Again in this day and age the weight of a 4 in comparison to a 15mm boilie, bunch of maggots / worms, double tiger nut etc is nothing. Obviously you wouldn't fish a grain of corn, single maggot / caster with a larger hook but again think logically. Most hookbaits / setups dwarf the size of the hook. Think about where a carp's eyes are and it's position in relation to the hookbait? It's not swimming along the bottom like an eel, or the size of a dace / small bait fish. It dwarfs that hook .... not that it knows what a hook is anyway!
Right I think that just about concludes the first part and hopefully puts to sleep some of the rubbish / folk lore I still hear trotted out now. This is not floater fishing / zig fishing where sight but probably how it affects the buoyancy / movement of the hookbait IS a major factor when deciding what hook to use.
See you next month when in the second part I will look at why I choose certain sized hooks, when I up / decrease them and why as the ladies say 'bigger is better' !!