No item of the sea angler’s equipment is more important than the hook which, after all, is in direct contact with the fish and so has to withstand all kinds of strain.

For sea fishing hooks can be reduced conveniently to around half a dozen kinds. Among the most popular is the razor sharp, straight eyed Aberdeen hook which has a long shank made from light wire. Perfect temper prevents any straightening despite the extra leverage from the shank. This hook is used extensively for estuary fishing, particularly for bass, plaice and flounders. As it is so fine in the shank of wire the Aberdeen hook is most suitable for baiting live sandeel and prawn.

For general bottom fishing three kinds stand out—Limerick, Kirby and O’Shaughnessy. The Limerick is well suited to use with a paternoster for bream, whiting, pouting, cod and ling, its pull being direct and its penetration excellent. For ledgering there is little to choose between the other varieties, which have a wide gape between the point and the shank, but the O’Shaughnessy is the strongest and particularly suitable for holding such heavy fish as the conger eel.

Care of hooks

No article on hooks would be complete without reference to the care of them. While most are sharp when they leave the factory, handling can easily dull them, and so it is essential to examine each one before it is used, and from time to time while fishing.

Lastly, never put wet hooks away with unused ones. The seawater will rapidly corrode any not made of stainless steel.