Carp Hooks Explained

Carp Hooks

Carp fishing hooks are a vital item of tackle that should be chosen with care, as the hook is in direct contact with the fish. Wrong, cheap or blunt hooks can equal no carp! Despite the vast array of carp hooks which are on offer to anglers, only a few designs will probably find there way into an everyday carp anglers tackle bag.

Lets first start with the hook features

Gauge: The gauge of a fishing hook refers to the overall thickness of the wire used. Robust hooks for catching big fish will tend to have a thicker gauge, whereas light hooks will have a much thinner gauge. 

Eye: The eye of the hook is simply the metal loop at the end of the hook which the angler ties the line to. Some carp hooks have turned down or up eyes. This changes the way in which the hook sits on line. A out turned eye can create a "Curved or Claw profile" to your rig which has "Anti Eject" properties. A fancy term for a carp trying to spit your bait back out.

Offset: Hooks which are offset have there point turned slightly so it no longer runs parallel to the hook's shank. The reason for offsetting a hook is that it is more likely to pull down into the carp's mouth when the angler strikes.

Gape: The gape is the gap between the point and the shank. Wide gape hooks are often used by anglers for a variety of Pop Up rigs, this is due to their high strength-to-size ratio and un-masked hook point. 

Shank: The shank of a hook is the main length of the hook which runs from the eye to the bend. Hooks can have shanks of varying length.

Point or Bite: The point of the hook is the most important part as this will penetrate the carp's mouth and provide a good hook hold to wrestle the fish in. Most good quality hooks are chemically sharpened or referred as "Micro Point". It is vital that the carp angler checks the hook point regularly as even the sharpest hook point can become blunt over time.

Barb: The barb of the hook is essentially a notch cut at the end of the point. The purpose of a barb is to stop the hook from sliding out of the mouth of the fish once it is hooked. Today in modern carp fishing barbless hooks are a common practice at venues throughout the country in order to cause less damage to the fish itself.

Hook Sizes

Hook sizes, there are quite a few however the most common used in carp fishing is a  size #4 being the largest down to a size #12. Above a size #4 you would be entering sea fishing hook sizes. Here is a simple chart to see the actual hook scale.

Selecting the correct hook size is very important. Fishing with a hook which is too large will see missed bites. This is due to either the hook been to obvious, making your rig look very overweighted and unatural or inability of the hook turning and catching the carp's mouth. Too small a hook will also bring a number of issues: bites may be missed as striking will not see the hook point driven into the mouth of the fish or the hook may bend out, snap or otherwise fail if connected with a large fish.  A good practice is to always ensure that your hook point is not masked by your bait and is clearly exposed so that it is able to properly pierce the carp's mouth correctly.

Hook Patterns

The profile or shape of the hook is referred to as the hook "Pattern". There are a vast array of carp hook patterns available on today's carp market with some of the most popular being Chod , Curve and Wide Gape. Lets look at each one of these hook patterns in a little bit more detail.


Wide Gape

Perhaps the most classic looking carp pattern, a wide-gape hook is a good all rounder and can also be known as the Boilie hook. They are great for use with bottom baits but come into their own with buoyant baits, either in the form of pop-ups or on the surface.


Curve Hook

Carp anglers realised their potential many years ago as the curve profile creates a perfect claw styled rig pattern, making it extremely hard for the fish to get rid of. Quite a few of today's modern carp catching rigs incorporate a curve hook pattern such as the famous KD rig.

Chod Hook (Stiff Rigger)

The difference with this hook is the out turned eye, which makes this pattern perfect for use with stiff materials like fluorocarbons. It is also works well when tied with a knotless knot. These days, chod rigs are all the rage, which makes this the number one choice and kinda where it get it's name from.

What Are Carp Hooks Made Of?

Most high quality carp hooks will be constructed from Carbon Steel. A thin, but incredibly strong hook. It has also overtaken in popularity damaging stainless steel hooks which pose a threat to fish due to the fact it doesn’t rust quickly and can soon become a permanent feature in the fishes mouth or worst still it's gut.

So what is Carbon Steel? The wire bodies on this type of hook contain mixed quantities of carbon and while these hooks will eventually rust over time and become brittle, the higher carbon content creates a truly strong metal alloy hook. How? because carbon steel is a stronger base material than stainless on it's own, the wire is also proportionally much thinner which is a real plus when it comes to hooking up big carp.

Why is thinner better you may wonder? A very small amount of pressure is needed for the hook point to penetrate the carp's mouth primarily due to the reduced surface area compared to a regular stainless steel hook.

The process of making a ­carbon-steel hook is not overly complicated. Straight lengths of wire are cut into sections and a point is honed on one end and an eye formed on the other. The wire is then bent around a cam, forming the hook’s final shape. After this is done the manufacture will begin to temper, or heat-treat the wire. This is the most crucial stage of hook making. The tempering molecularity alters the metal, concentrating the carbon which removes all other impurities and then is carefully cooled and intermittently dipped. 

As carbon steel in more rust vulnerable than stainless steel is must then be coated to ensure it lasts the fishing lifetime.

These coatings vary from Nickel, Zinc and Tin or even Teflon like our own brand of professional hooks. Coatings that are selected for carp fishing tend to have a dull black or green finish which has little to almost no reflection. A must when trying to target shy or smart carp.

Bad Hooks

Hooks do not only come in lots of different patterns and coatings. Unfortunately they also come in different standards too! Beware of hooks that fall into the too cheap to be true category. A good quality hook will have a reasonable price point which should reflect the standard of hook that you are going to fish with. It is not worth spending anytime trying to catch carp if you are using poorly made hooks. If there is going to be one item of tackle in your box or bag that you don't go cheap on, it is your hooks. A strong sharp micro pointed hook will ensure that you are fishing effectively all of the time. We don't want hook shanks snapping, blunt points, flakey coatings etc.

A bad hook is not only going to waste your efforts fishing, it's also not really very environmentally friendly on the carp or surrounding wildlife. "Half snapped hooks in fish mouths is a very good example of this" There will come a time when a hook will fail on you, however by buying right you can drastically reduce your chances of this happening. 

Testing For Hook Sharpness

You should start getting into the habit of checking your hook sharpness. Carp hooks will very often catch on some debris or rough surfaces during the retrieve. Gravel, roots,weed etc can easily cause damage to the point. Even new ones straight out of the packet aren't safe! Sharp when first made but the hooks can become damaged during transit, so check, check and check.

How do I check the hook point?

Start by holding the hook by the shank using your thumb and finger. Gently rest your hook point on your finger nail at a slight angle. Don’t be tempted to press the point into the nail, just let it rest under its own weight. Now very carefully gently try to pull the hook down to the tip of the nail. If the carp hook skids across the nail then it’s not 100% sharp. If it grips it's good to fish with.

Where to buy?

For more information about our Goji Hooks featured in this article: Visit our carp fishing hooks section or simply click "Carp Tackle" at the top of this website page.

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