I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

• Review: Berkley Dual Sharpener

As you might already know from your spring and summer outings, my fellow anglers, something like frog fishing requires an immense level of commitment on your part. If your equipment isn't up to snuff, you end up telling lots of stories about the ones that got away. Last year, my bass fishing success revolved around fishing duckweed with a hollow body frog, but my approach and technique was based on my experiences from the previous year. In 2009, my spring and fall fishing followed the exact same pattern. There was one major difference between 2009 and 2010, and it all took place pier-side. A fish would bite. I’d get a good hookset, fight it in, and bring it within reach of my net. Then, I’d lose them. After much scrutiny, the blame was almost exclusively placed on my hooks, so at that point, pardon the pun, I set my mind on finding a hook sharpener that would suit my needs.

Good hook penetration can make or break us out there, so a hook hone has become an essential tool to keep on hand. A frequent commenter suggested I take a look at the Rapala hook hone, but after hitting up several local fishing departments, I discovered that finding a hook sharpener was more difficult than I thought it would be. I didn't see the Rapala hook hone anywhere. Instead of resorting to online shopping, I simply bought what I could find. The easiest and most inexpensive option was a small hook sharpener made by Berkley. That’s the one I bought. That’s the one I’ve been using for almost a year now.

What really makes this particular sharpener more appealing than others is its compact size and dual functionality. At first glance, there isn’t much to it. The hook hone is attached at the side and as an added bonus, the tool also includes a knife sharpener. It’s only 2 inches long, 1-3/4 inches wide, and about 1/2 inch thick at its widest point, so I was able to throw it into any compartment in my tackle box. The lightweight plastic body really cuts down on bulk. You can even tuck it away in a pocket. You won’t even know it’s there, unless your pocket is already full of things rattling around, of course.

Because of its compact size, the usefulness of the hook hone is limited to the constraints of that form factor. I discovered that I would have preferred a longer surface to sharpen against, much like the Rapala hook hone and other similar sharpeners on the market. Long steady swipes probably result in a much more refined result in fewer strokes, whereas several short swipes make sharpening a hook point a slightly more involved task. That said, the Berkley sharpener will hone down a hook point just fine. I’ve run Gamakatsu EWG hooks, Scumfrog hooks, and various brands of trebles down the hook hone without incident. The thumb rest/finger guard on the side did not really help with hook honing, but it was very helpful in leveraging fluid motions against a few dull knives. The tool just works the way I need it to. Yeah, it could be a lot better, but I can’t complain too much because it does what it’s supposed to do. I’ve lost fewer fish, both on soft plastics and hollow bodied frogs, even when they were barely hooked.



To sharpen hooks, I do what many anglers online recommend. I sharpen on three sides, using a slow even motion across the groove. I keep pressure against the hook point with the pad of my index finger. The angle you choose to use varies depending on the hook, but with enough practice, you’ll be sharpening your dull hooks in seconds. Follow up your attempts with the trusty fingernail test and get back to fishing.


Unfortunately, Berkley left out details on some important specifics. One thing I can’t find is what the grit material is composed of. Looking at it, I would say that the material is the same kind of aluminum oxide grit that many other hook hones on the market employ. I can’t verify its composition, but seeing as how we’re talking about fishing hooks, it’s a safe bet this is an aluminum oxide stone. I can’t tell you the grain with any certainty either. Berkley definitely dropped the ball in terms of informing consumers. That’s the biggest disappointment I have with this tool.

The Bottom Line:
If you need a compact hook hone, get this, especially if you also occasionally sharpen knives on the go. If you only need a hook sharpener and can spare some room, go with one of the many other options out there. They generally have lanyards attached, so they will always remain at your side when you need to fine tune those hooks.

http://www.berkley-fishing.com/products/tools-and-equipment/classics/knife-hook-sharpener

5 comments:

MSPbass said...

An oft overlooked step; sharpening your hooks will pay off big time.

Al "The HitMan" Sims said...

Great reminder! Always check your hooks!
Al "The Hit Man" Sims Blackopsfishing.com

Al "The HitMan" Sims said...

Great product and a great reminder! Check your hooks!

Al "The HitMan" Sims
BlackoOpsFishing.com

Simon Gardner said...

Awesome detailed article :)

Tight lines !

Simon Gardner said...

Great detailed article :)

Tight Lines!