How do I Barb & Sharpen Fishing Hooks?

How do I Barb & Sharpen Fishing Hooks?
The needs of the humble fish hook are often overlooked by anglers. Although attaching a hook to a line is a simple process, there are a few steps that should be taken before the hook is tied. Many streams and rivers have regulations that require a hook to be "barbed" before fishing. Also, sharpening a hook is a skill that every angler should be able to accomplish. A sharp hook can make a difference especially when pursuing larger game fish.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Pliers
  • Hook hone
Step 1
Hold a fish hook with the index finger and thumb of one hand so the point and barb are easily accessible. Hold a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.
Step 2
Open the pliers and insert the hook so the barb is between the jaws of the pliers. Position the barb so the lower and widest point is parallel to the jaws of the pliers. Close the pliers and squeeze the barb down flat against the hook. Apply just enough pressure to press the barb against the hook.
Step 3
Hold a hook hone in one hand and the hook in the other and sharpen the point. Position the hone so it is directly in front of you long ways. Hold the hook by the shank with the point on the bottom and facing you.
Step 4
Hold the hook level and pull the hook toward you point first. Turn the hook to the left and then the right repeating the sharpening process.
Step 5
Repeat the sharpening steps beginning with the hook straight up and then to both sides. Test the sharpness of the hook by gently pulling it across your thumb nail. Repeat the sharpening process for severely rusted or corroded hooks.

Tips & Warnings

Sharpening the three sides of the hook is sufficient in most cases. The inside, or gap, of the hook does not need to be sharpened.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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