I don’t normally do hook reviews, because a hook is a hook, right? Wrong, very wrong. One of the main areas that many anglers, especially novices skimp on is hooks and for the life of me I can’t understand why.
Hooks are probably the single most important piece of terminal tackle. You can get away with not having things like clips and swivels and even weights in some cases, but without a hook you are most unlikely to catch a fish. I have seen loads of different rigs made up by many anglers and even some disreputable rig makers, that have cheap, rubbish hooks. The normal type I often see are cheap shiny silver ones, complete with barbs on the shank to help hold the bait on. They end up doing more damage to the bait than good. They are normally too thick for use with worms and if the points are even sharp to start off with, they soon dull.
For most of my beach and rock fishing I normally use Kamasan Aberdeen style hooks. For those of you unfamiliar with Kamasan, they are pretty good hooks, but they are expensive for what they are. They are super sharp and keep their point reasonably well. My main concern with them, is I have lost several large fish when they have simply snapped.
This year I have decided to try some alternative hooks. After looking around, I noticed that Varivas had a new range out called Saltwater Super Match hooks. For those of you not familiar with Varivas, they are a Japanese company. It seems that most of the best hooks in the world come from Japan and with their latest offering, Varivas are keeping up the tradition.
The super match hooks are a Limerick design hook, which are shorter and have a larger gape, than the Aberdeen hooks I am used to using. The other main difference is that they have a bronze finish. This is a major plus for me, as they last a lot longer before corroding. The wider gape (that’s the distance between the hook shank and the point through the bend) means that the hook point is less likely to be masked when using larger baits. They come in a number of sizes from 8 to 3/0. I am not sure I have any occasion to use a size 8, but if you are scratching for Dabs and Sole in a match, they would be ideal. With the exception of using size 6 hooks for Garfish, I normally use sizes between 2 and 5/0.
The hooks are extremely sharp, but do they stay that way for long? I thought I would put them through a rigorous test. One of the harshest environments for hooks has to be using them for Wrasse fishing on Portland. Wrasse have extremely strong mouths, as they are used to crushing crabs and ripping limpets off rocks. It is usual for your hooks to jam into rocks and weed on almost every cast, unless you are lucky enough to catch a fish.
As you can see from the picture above, they passed the test with flying colours. Another harsh environment to test the hooks out is Chesil Beach. With the shingle continually moving and dulling the point of your hook, you need to be confident that even after 8 hours of hard fishing your hooks will be sharp enough to catch anything that swims past.
Chris Buxton, put the hooks though several heavy sessions on Chesil and once again they came through the test on top. The selection of fish he had on them tells it’s own story.
One of the best things I like about the Super Match hooks, is that they come in packs of 30. No money is wasted in fancy packaging. You get what it says on the packet at a very reasonable price. I can see these being used by anglers all over the UK, from novices to the top match anglers in the country. So where can you get hold of them? They are exclusive to Veals Mail Order and start at only £3.20 for the size 8’s