For a long time my hook of preference has been the Kamasan B981 Eyed Barbless.
The ideal Eyed Specimen hook for a wide range of baits, and based on the B980 barbed hook, it is produced from a medium gauge of carbon wire and has been heavily forged to strengthen the bend.
However, recently, I have found that many, admittedly with both fish and hooks of the smaller end of their scales, fish were being lost by either ‘bouncing’ off (ie flapping and rolling on the surface) or coming adrift whilst trying to lessen the pressure applied to the fish to try to alleviate the ‘bouncing problem. The problem lessens with size of the fish (generally 1lb+ are no problem) and increased size of hook (size 6 has no problems). It seems that with larger fish, there being more bulk to apply pressure against, then the hook is held more tightly to the bend.
Anyway, although I don’t really mind losing small fish per se (I’d much rather catch one 10lb carp than have a bag of 200lb of 8oz roach, for instance) it provided a ‘problem’ which was there to be solved (or to be at least improved upon).
To this end, I studied the various eyed barbless hooks available and decided that the Kamasan ‘Animal’ range would be worth a try in its eyed barbless genre. These hooks feature an in-turned curved beak point and medium length shank.
Kamasan Animal Eyed hooks are the ideal big fish and bagging up hook for Carp, Barbel, Tench, Chub etc.
The curved beak point greatly reduces the chances of gaping and provides a most secure super strong hook hold.
BTW – Our club waters are subject to a barbless hook only rule but even if that were not the case then I prefer the use of barbless anyway using only barbed hooks when pike fishing with treble hooks and even then only one point is barbed – the one, or one of the one’s, that are the bait holding points – with the barbs on the other points flattened down with pliers. I use eyed hooks in preference to spade end as I believe that,however well the spade end is made, at some point it will cut/fray the line around the knot due to chaffing. Also I do not use ‘knotless knots’ on any hook to create hair rigs either for the same reason and more so due to the bare end of the wrap that creates the hook’s eye.
Anyway, I’ve now obtained some of these ‘Animal’ hooks in the sizes 12, 14, 16 and 18 and have used a size 16 on my latest trip out replacing the usual size 16 B981. I must say that I did, on this admittedly limited usage period, detect an improvement in connecting with and retaining fish to the landing net and I should say that there was at least a 50% improvement on this session from any previous session when I used B981 regarding the number of fish (mainly perch which are well noted for having bony mouths which do take hookholds easily). I did still lose a few fish enroute to the net/landing but far fewer and in general, as I recall, when using a bait that may have been a bit big for the hook and thus ‘shielding’ the point on the strike. Early days yet to come to a real conclusion but this single session does seem to show some promise.
My hook wallet is one of these type – about 24″ long – which allows hooklengths to be stored straight and stretched thus alleviating the curls that occur when hooklegths are stored wrapped around formers or in coils in plastic packets. The loop on the end of the link is placed behind a peg at the end of the wallet and then the length tensioned using the natural elasticity that exists in nylon, even the pre-stretched versions still have a little, and the hook is placed into one of the foam strips that are fixed across the boards. So, then the elasticity of the line keeps the length tensioned and held in postion.
BTW the wallet can hold in excess of 80 made up lengths when full.
Anyway, all of which is great…. if you use nylon hook lengths…. but not so good if you use braid, as I do for all my hook lengths for the suppleness it provides. I believe that the stiffness of even 2lb monofilament is more of deterrent to a fish taking a bait than the ‘invisibility’ factor of it being a ‘plus’ ie cons far outweight pros in this case. That being the case I use hooklengths of braid of 8lb or 12lb BS depending on the BS of the mainline and the fish being targetted.
Anyway, 100% braid hooklengths exhibit zero stretch – and thus one cannot tension the hooklength to fit tightly between hook in foam and the loop on peg and so at best the lengths sort of float around, at worst the loops come off the pegs and tangles can occur.
Also, long braid hooklengths are easily tangled when in use due to their suppleness – and although with a bit of patience they can usually be unravelled its fishing we’re supposed to be spending time at – not unwrapping line loops….
So looking for the solutions to the two problems I came across a single solution that resolves both…. the use of combination lengths ie braid at the hook connection with an upper nylon section with loop for connecting to mainline as is the norm… and this resolves the two problems thusly:
- Hook Wallet – the nylon top section supplies the stretch needed to maintain the tension on the length
- Braid tangling in use – well, really for fish fooling purposes the braid really only needs to be a few inches long – six inches being more than enough – and the shorter the braid the less likely tangles can occur…
- AND – the hook length now uses less of the expensive braid, more of the cheaper nylon with the advantage of suppleness applying only where it really matters. So better on the pocket albeit that saving being not too great. Esp. if you buy your braid on eBay from China at about £5 for 300+ metres (inc postage)… :D
Ok, so I’d solved the problems and just needed to connect the hook-tied braid to the looped piece of nylon. And now the fun starts… what is the traditional knots for joining lines?
Loop to loop.
Loops are made in both pieces of line at the points they are to connect together, then one loop is passed through the other, and folded back and the loose end of that piece is passed through its own tied loop and pulled down until the two tied loops lock together in a sort of figure ‘8’. Works but not a tidy solution to me….
The Blood Knot.
The 2 loose ends of the lines (A & B) are laid alongside each other in opposing directions. A is then wrapped (usually 3 times) around B and its loose end brought back down and passed in the gap between A & B below the wraps and held in position there whilst B is now wound around A in the opposite direction that A wound around B (eg A-B clockwise, then B-A anti-clockwise) for the same number of turns and then the loose end passed through the loop between A and B through which A passes but in the opposite direction (although the diagram shows differently it is incorrect!). The lnes are then pulled away from each other causing the wraps to close up on each other and tighten trapping the loose ends and making a secure join. OK!!… now try that in a draught free room under perfect lighting… easy??? NO!! And then imagine a dull day at a windy waterside…. Not for the faint-hearted or the easily defeated!!
So enter the ‘shridd’ knot – and I claim copyright on this if it does not already exist. But fear not, all I ask in recompense is that you you refer only to the knot by my defined name – the ‘shridd knot’… :)
The ‘shridd’ knot.
If you can tie a eyed hook with a 5-turn half blood knot, then you’re sorted. Especially if you can do it with your eyes shut as I can. Basically, it’s just a matter of tying 2 3-turn half-blood knots… Take your two lengths of line (A & B) and fold the end of line A that is to be the connection end into a loop held between forefinger and thumb… now think of that as the eye of an hook and tie a 3-turn half-blood knot around it with line B…. now using line B create a loop in that higher up than the line A knot and using the loose end of line A tie another 3-turn half-blood knot on the loop in line B. What you should end up with is something like the 3rd or 4th diagram of the blood knot above but instead of just two loose wrap and tucks you’ve two fully independent knots in their own right… and the only thing to do now is to pull and the main lengths of A & B to pull the knots down onto each other (lubricate the knots with a bit of spit – or Perrier water if you’re posh – before sliding to prevent heat damage due to friction. Dead easy to do in the living room – and just as easy on the river bank, in a howling gale and whilst it’s lashing it down.
In my knot the loops made in the line take the place of the hook’s eye.