During a hockey game your skates can become dull or nicked. Often, many things can happen to your skates long before you even take to the ice. This could eventually effect your performance, and you could end up sitting in the stands watching the game! Sharp hooks, just like skates, can help prevent ruining your day on the water. Many steps can be taken to assure that you will have sharp skates, or sharp hooks.
At the level of hockey I play, we have people who take care of our skates who make sure they are in good running condition. When they notice that something needs to be fixed, they fix it. When you tell them they need to be sharpened, they sharpen them. Unfortunately, walleye anglers do not have that kind of luxury. We must make sure that our equipment is working right, and that our hooks are sharp. I have been guilty of loosing a fish or two in my day, because of a dull hook. And as we all know, that is not a very good feeling. The first thing that needs to be done is the obvious, check to see if the hook is dull. This is very simple. Many of you probably use the same method - the old thumbnail check. Place the point of the hook on your nail and pull down on it. If the hook stays and doesn't slide, you're ready for action. If the hook slides and scratches your nail, you need to sharpen or replace it. Whenever I decide to replace my hooks, I always use VMC hooks. These are the sharpest hooks out of the package I have found. Like most hooks though, these will need some maintenance as well.
To keep the hooks as sharp as they can be doesn't take much effort. The best hook sharpener I have is very nice on the checkbook. In fact, you can get one for under a buck at Wall-Mart while standing in line. It's a finger nail file! These little beauties work like magic, and do not require batteries. The nice thing about them is they are easy to maneuver around the point of the hook. After a few swipes your hook should be as sharp as it was when you took it out of the package.
You will read in a lot of my articles about the importance of the "little" things. It's the little details that make the difference in a hockey game, and likewise could be the difference between winning a walleye tournament or not. With hooks being the link that attaches you to the fish, you don't want anything to go wrong. Hooks can get dull from a number of different things, snags being the most common. Also, if you are catching a lot of fish, this too will dull your hooks. Walleyes have a pretty tough mouth. Every time that hook is penetrated, it starts to develop a flat spot. After this occurs, it is easy to go unnoticed, especially if the fish are really biting. That is when you need to take a break, and fix the problem.
During a hockey game we have three intermissions. One after warm ups, and two more after the first and second periods. During these breaks, guys fix all kinds of things - skates being the most important, and sticks are close behind. If we did not do this, we would be out of a job. Same holds true when it comes to pro walleye fishing... proper maintenance is crucial for survival! That is why I often say pay attention to the little details. It could put that fish of a lifetime in the boat! Shoot five-hole!