fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


You Need Good Hooks

You can have the best rod and reel in the world, but if you havenít got a top quality hook, that rod and reel want be worth the money. Not enough anglers today realise how lucky we are with the great choice of hooks that are available today. When I started angling in the 1940ís the only good hook available was the Alcocks Model Perfect, that's if you could find a stock of them. There were many occasions when I would visit six or more tackle shops around London before got what I wanted. Today you can visit most tackle shops and find a decent hook.

For some thirty years Iíve used barbless hooks, yes I have no doubt lost fish, not through the barbless hook, but because I made a mistake. I use them for ease of unhooking fish in the water, in many cases without even touching the fish. You see apart from my family, my quarry either in fresh or saltwater are the most important things in my life. I don't want to struggle taking the hook from a fish. Iíve seen so many people squeezing fish which damages the internal organs, often causing death. You might not see the fish die, as it usually swims away to die slowly. Others just tear out the hook, often with bottom or top lip attached to the said hook. We have all caught fish minus a lip, or complete lips.

I require a hook that is strong, sharp with what I feel is the right shape, having lost the choice of Model Perfect hooks I tried the B James Richard Walker range of hooks and other companies, one range of hooks that met my requirements were the Au Lion d'or hooks, I well remember visiting Peter Drennan's factory in the early 1980's, where Peter showed me a special room where he kept all his fish hooks in a designated temperature. I was impressed at the quality control.

Sadly these hooks have disappeared. One choice of hooks for coarse and game fishing including the tying of salmon flies I used were from the Partridge range, made in the town of Redditch which was at one time the home of the British fishing tackle industry. Sadly destroyed by the importation of tackle from the Far East. On my dozens and dozens of visits to Partridge it was like stepping back in time. 'Dickensian Times'. Without a shadow of a doubt their hooks were the best and hand made by a team of dedicated workers many who were ladies that had followed there mothers and grandmothers into the trade which started off making needles in the town of Redditch.

The company then moved to Malaysia, I felt the quality wasn't as good. I then had to go in search of another hook that would give me confidence. I can catch a fish if needed on a broom handle and length of cord, but I need a good hook. After trying various hooks, I was told about a range of hooks from Pallatrax; on a visit to Tadley Angling I picked up some packets of barbless hooks and played around with them subjecting them to some tests that would be impossible for fish to create the same pressure. They passed all my requirements. Pallatrax hooks have proved most suitable for my coarse fishing. I use them for all my fishing where I use hooks from size 2's down to size 14's. Having confidence in the hook is of utmost importance.

Martin James Fishing