How To Sharpen Hooks

Fishing Line, Hooks, Knots, and Weights
Think you can't get a hook sharper than brand new? You can if you follow these tips!

Smith's Diamond Combo Sharpening Stone - Buy On Amazon 


Glenn May here with and I'm getting ready to go on a fishing trip, and I just thought of a tip that I think is going to help you out. It's going to save you some time on the water and some money too. What I'm talking about is sharpening hooks. Now, it's kind of a surprise to me that I found out through the forums and on our Facebook page, and going on road trips, that a lot of people want a hook that comes dull. They just throw it out, dig out a new one, retie, and they go back to fishing.

Well, I've been sharpening hooks for over 30 years, and I can tell you it's a lot quicker, faster, to sharpen your hook, and I can get the hooks sharper in many instances than they were when they're brand new out of the package. I know you're calling B.S. on me, but honestly I can. And I've even had people tell me, no, no, no, that hooks got a special shape to it, you can't sharpen that, or it's been chemically sharpened, or it's got some certain kind of hook point that comes from the manufacturer, you can't sharpen it.

Listen folks, once the hook becomes dull, how is it working for you? Yeah, it's not.  So, you can't hurt it at that point. You can't damage it, but you can get it back to how it was, and a matter of fact, you can get it even sharper sometimes. As a matter of fact, I check hooks right out of the package, and every once in a while you'll find one that's a little bit duller than the rest, and I'll touch that right up even before I've even used it and I'll get it sharp again.

So how do you do that? Well, first off, you get a file, a hook file. You can get one of these at your tackle store. They don't cost very much. I've been using these for years, and years, and years, but a new thing that I've been using lately . . . I was turned onto this by one of the guys on the forum, thank you Gary, is to use a knife sharpener. This is cool, comes with a little sheath. It's got a fine and a coarse side to it and the cool thing about it is it's got a little channel. Can you see that right there? That little channel right there is for hooks. Pretty slick. You don't have to use that channel. You can just use like a regular file, but it's kind of neat and because it's got a fine and a coarse side to it, you can sharpen hooks really, really fast.

Now, I'm not sponsored by these guys at all. This one happens to be a Smith's, cost me 15, 20 bucks for one of these things, It was really cool, but you can sharpen hooks really fast.

Now the way to do it, now remember, hook points are like needles. They're shaped like that. They're not like this, they're not like a roof of your house, they're shaped like that. So remember that when you're putting the hook to the file. You got to keep a low angle to it, about a ten degree angle.

So, what we're going to do is we're going to take this hook, got a little jig head right here that we're going to sharpen, and you're going to put it real low. Again, there's that low angle, you see that? Real low angle. I'm almost flat to it. And then you just apply pressure and you go towards the hook point, not away from it, towards the hook point and you just sharpen it just like this, you know, maybe you can even hear it on the microphone. You can hear it pick it up. 

So, you just go across that and then as you're doing that, you work your . . . you turn it slowly, slowly, slowly, all the way around. That's all you're doing. You're just turning that hook point and all I'm doing is I'm applying pressure as I move it forward. I'm not applying any pressure as I pull it backwards.

Now after you do that, check the sides. Bring the hook point through your fingers, not through your fingers. Pull it backwards through your fingers so you can feel the sides and see if there's any edges to it, any sharp points sticking out to the side. If there are, run it back through the file until they're gone.

Once you've done that, take the hook, apply a little pressure on your thumb and drag it across your thumbnail. Now, if it just scratches the surface, congratulations, you've done a good job, you're on your way, you're not there yet.

What you want to do is you want to feel it dig into your thumbnail. You really want to feel it try to . . . you want to feel that resistance. Push down on it and see if it really digs into your fingernail. That's what you want. If you want to grab a brand new hook and see if it'll do that, and you'll get an idea what it feels like. But that's essentially it.

Now, again, some hook points are shaped a little differently. Some of them like the Trokars are at an angle like that. That's the only time we'll do it a little bit differently. Rather than slowly turning that hook point all the way around as I'm sharpening it, I'll find that flat side. I'll roll it on that file until I feel that flat point and that correct angle, and I'll just sharpen right, just that surface, and then I'll flip it over to that other angle and I'll sharpen just that surface too. And trust me, you can get it mighty darn sharp doing that. All right. That's the only change I'll do. Otherwise, I've sharpened all hooks just like that.

So there you go. And when you're done, you can sharpen that hook a lot faster than it's going to take you to retie, rerig, trust me, your buddy is going to be doing that and you're going to get 10, 20 casts on him before he's ready to go again. For more tips and tricks like this, visit