Fishing hooks have a deep history of fish catching technology.
Some of the first fishing hooks were made from copper around 4000 BC. Civilizations along the river banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers fished with copper hooks; fishing in those days was simply phenomenal! Copper hooks that are half a thousand years older than Abraham’s Mesopotamia (around 1800 BC) have been discovered. Bronze hooks found at Pompeii and Herculaneum are simply masterpieces of craftsmanship.
Fish hooks have also been made from bone and other materials and objects including a simple safety pin!
Fishermen often improvise when it comes time to tying a sharp object to the end of a fishing line in order to catch fish.
My first experience with a hook came during a summer vacation on my grandparents’ farm. Their huge farm lay on the northern border of Vermont where small brook trout streams first attracted my fishing interests. However, I was without any fishing gear and had to improvise. Those six- to ten-inch brook trout excited me so much that I soon manufactured my own fishing tackle. I first cut a six foot, small limb from a willow tree, tied my grandmother’s strongest thread to the end and at the tag end, tied a small safety pin. The pin was bent into the shape of a hook.
A live night crawler was threaded onto the safety pin and before the day’s end, my grandmother’s bread basket was brimming with freshly caught brook trout!
Long before my time, Abenaki Indian tribes used bone to fashion their fishing hooks while more than likely, fishing in the same Northern Vermont trout streams.
Fish hooks made from deer and turkey bone have been found in Northern Vermont. These fish hooks are made in the classic u-shaped design that has been in use by cultures around the world for thousands of years. Most ancient fish hooks do not have a barb on the point.
Mustad is one of the first companies to begin producing manufactured fish hooks for both commercial and recreational fishermen. The popular brand first designed and produced fishing hooks for hand line fishermen in the 1870s.
Mustad produces a wide range of hooks in a great number of finishes, patterns, and sizes. The popular hook manufacturer listened to fishermen, often designing fish hooks to meet their needs, including a wide variety of hooks for catching species from alligators to giant sharks.
Mustad also employs a unique three-stage computer controlled tempering process that transforms the hook into a fine grained, ultra-strong microstructure. The new modern day process increases hook strength up to thirty percent. Mustad hooks also feature a wide range of colors and finishes from black nickel and gold to bronze. The special coatings have been developed to suit the various types of fishing.
Seasoned fishermen will often select hooks to match their specific style of fishing and local conditions. Some hooks are made for specific purposes and are thus available only in one finish, while other patterns come in a variety of coatings. Different coatings have different features and properties. This entails that the rust resistance of the hooks may vary.
Mustad manufactures more than 10,000 different hook patterns.
During the early 1920s, Drew McGill was having little luck hooking rainbow trout while watching a pair of eagles make fishing look too easy.
While thinking of this and ways that he could improve his fishing techniques, he watched the lazy circles of the two large eagles as the eagles slowly spiraled downward to land in the top of a dead cottonwood; the tips of the bird’s talons lightly gripping a weathered bare limb. His thoughts turned to the penetrating power of those lethal claws and then to the penetrating power of the fish hooks he was using.
Returning to the fly factory in Denver, Drew started working to produce a fish hook design with greater penetrating power. From this research came a fish hook that had a sweeping curve and sharper point. It was forged for strength and was double offset for greater hooking qualities. The hook’s point was in direct line of pull and shaped like the talons of that mighty bird, the great American Bald Eagle.
Andrew McGill and Stanley Wright later named their newly designed fish catching hook Eagle Claw.
Wright & McGill Rod Co. was formed as a separate company in 1946 manufacturing fishing rods with Drew McGill being a strong influence and president of the newly-formed company.
In 1985, Eagle Claw developed Lazer Sharp fishing hooks. This was considered to be the most important development in fish hooks since the invention of steel. Over the years this process has been improved and perfected giving anglers a fish hook that is consistently sharp and strong.
In 1796 a French Company, Viellard Migeon and Company, began to produce fish hooks.
Director Charles Viellard was quick to recognize that hook-making expertise lay in Redditch, England, and in 1910 some ten families from the Midlands town were ‘imported’ to help set up the company’s new hook department in the family’s ironworks. Today VMC hooks are recognized as one of the leading hook manufacturers. Their “Sure Set” hook with an extra wide gap catches most fish when other hooks just can’t seem to get a good set.
“Owner” hook manufacturers offer carbon steel tempered hooks that have triple cutting edge points for better hook sets.
Dave Workman’s StrikeZone fishing tackle carries a variety of modern day fishing hooks for king mackerel fishing. The most popular selling Stinger hook is VMC’s bronze #4-4X treble hook. The bronze color simply does not reflect light and blends in with the color of baitfish, primarily menhaden. With small menhaden #6-4X VMC, bronze treble hooks are used. The most popular nose hook, is the Owner #2, Flyliner live bait hook. The live bait hook is light, strong and with its sharp point, easy to nose hook live baits. When large live baits are employed, a pair of #2-4X VMC bronze colored treble hooks are rigged as tandem stinger hooks. Finally the VMC silver #4-4x treble hooks are the popular choice of king mackerel fishermen when rigging kingfish leaders for ribbonfish
King mackerel often strike lures and live baits at full speed, which ultimately results in saltwater hooks becoming foul hooked alongside the head or body of the king mackerel. During the king’s speedy strike, the foraging mackerel barely has time to swallow the lure or live bait before kingfish hooks find a good hook-set. With this in mind, rarely are king mackerel hooked deep in the esophagus where a saltwater hook is likely to do damage and shorten the life of a kingfish after release.
King mackerel fishermen frequently employ carbon steel, bronzed hooks which are most likely to rust out in a short period of time. The combination of stomach acids and saltwater dissolves the hook, or hooks, within a couple of weeks. Stainless steel hooks are rarely used when live bait fishing for king mackerel and can result in a high mortality rate with any saltwater game fish that is released with a saltwater hook still embedded in its throat or stomach.
Whenever king mackerel fishermen wish to release their hooked kingfish, the fishing line is secured by the angler and given a strong jerk. This almost always results in the small treble hooks pulling free from the side of the face or the body of the king mackerel. In the case where hooks are firmly set in the mouth of the king mackerel, the wire often breaks when a good jerk of the terminal fishing line is made. The wire leader often kinks and weakens during the fight and becomes easy to break.
In the case where a kingfish hook becomes embedded in the throat of the king mackerel, cut the wire as close as possible to the hook and release the king mackerel. The hook will soon rust and dissolve.
Fishing hooks have a deep history of catching game fish from brook trout to the speedy king mackerel. Fishermen have to thank modern technology for producing stronger and sharper hooks that have “Bite”!
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