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BigMax 04-05-2012 11:58 AM

Analysis of Hooks
Being a grad student at UT working in metallurgical engineering I get some cool opportunities to play with some expensive equipment and every once in a while i get the chance to do some stuff that relates to my hobbies.

My adviser teaches the senior design class for the Material Science and Engineering undergraduates, as part of this class students are instructed to make a comparison between a "high quality" and a "low quality" device. Usually this project focuses on craftsman tools vs no-names tools from china. This year there were more students than tools so I recommended that a comparison be made between fishing hooks.

I wanted to use fly hooks but they can be kinda small so I had some bass fishing hooks laying around that were bigger thus making a comparison easier. Gamakatsu is what i could consider a good hook or an industry standard. Recently Eagle Claw has introduced a top-of-the-line series of surgically sharpened hooks for bass fishing. These hooks are said to be resigned from bottom up to make a far superior hook. They make clames that hook sets are 4X easier among others. With all this "added" performace the cost (10$ for a pack) is double that of Gamakatsu hooks(5$ for a pack).

I am attaching some of the more interesting images from the report below. The overall conclusions were that the Gamakatsu (which is chemically sharpened I believe ) is in fact sharper and required less force to penetrate a leather belt. Also metallurgicaly the alloys were similar but the Lazer Trokar was a bit harder (harder=stiffer). Both hooks had coatings to prevent rust, but the Gamakatsu had a more even coverage with a thicker coat.

Bottom line.....go with Gamakatsu, the added cost dose not necessary mean a better product in this case. :smile:

This is a picture showing size and macro shot of the hook point. The Gamakatsu is the hook on top.

This is an SEM shot at 250X showing the hook point angles. Note the coating uniformity.The Gamakatsu is on the left.

This is a higher SEM shot of the very tips of the hook points. This shows that the Gamakatsu is sharper. The Gamakatsu is on the left.

This is the test that the student devised to determine the force required to penetrate a leather belt. probably a little tougher than bass lips but hey....a good idea.

here are the results from the above test. You can see that less force is required to penetrate from the Gamakatsu hook.

kentuckytroutbum 04-05-2012 12:12 PM


Thats a great analysis, and thank you for your efforts.I'm sure that others will find this interesting. I would be interested to see a follow up report with similar tests on some of the other brands of hooks.


No Hackle 04-13-2012 02:41 PM

You said that the Trokar was harder. In your opinion does this make it more apt to breaking. In other words does it make it more brittle. I don't know about the process of making a hook like that, but what usually applies is hardness means the temper of the metal leads to breakage. Very interesting and good post.Very informative.

Heavynets 04-13-2012 11:19 PM

You say "(harder=stiffer)". I have found that a metal's hardness has virtually nothing to do with its stiffness or "springyness" before reaching its yield point (permanently distorts). However, hardness has everything to do with the metal's resistance to penetration, thus its wear resistance.

Usually, but not always, harder metals are more brittle. Metal tends to flex, yield and then break when under a load. As hardness increases, the yield portion narrows and they tend to go from flex to break with very little or no yield at all.

I have seen arrow broadhead penetration tests similar to the one you describe with hooks. With static tests it can be nearly impossible to push some broadheads through leather compared to other broadhead designs. However, DYNAMIC tests of these same two designs show there is VERY little difference in the required force for penetration.

I suspect the same is true with the two different hooks. It may be more of a marketing gimmick than a real concern. No proof, just guessing.

No Hackle 04-14-2012 06:44 PM

Thanks for the reply Heavy. I really know just enough to make me dangerous. But have always been interested in why things happen one way or another. I'm also a spin fisherman and have always used gamatsu hooks. Lately I've been hearing about the new Trokars. Thanks for the insight. I've seen my fair share of hook failure(usually @ the bend) and am always trying new things in equipment.The fish are getting smarter but I'm not.
Thanks again,Lynn

Knothead 04-15-2012 02:56 PM

I use the cheapest hooks I can buy and have never had any trouble. In the 15+ years I have been tying, I have only had one hook break when I mashed the barb before starting to tie. Never had one break or bend while playing a fish.
Nice study. I'm sure some will find it helpful.

mattblick 04-16-2012 02:10 PM

Thanks for sharing your findings with us. I really enjoyed the pictures of the points..


Originally Posted by Knothead (Post 100081)
I use the cheapest hooks I can buy and have never had any trouble. In the 15+ years I have been tying, I have only had one hook break when I mashed the barb before starting to tie. Never had one break or bend while playing a fish.
Nice study. I'm sure some will find it helpful.

I'm the same; cheap hooks! I bought thousands of old stock (some from the 50s!) Mustad hooks on ebay 2 years ago after reading this and this posted on the roughfisher blog.

I'll be using these cheap hooks on flies the rest of my life; catching some fish and missing others. But by using the cheap hooks, I always have an excuse ready for people out catching me.. "If I was using those fancy hooks that cost a quarter a piece I would have out fished you for sure, but my flies are tied with hooks that were 20 cents for 100."

I wasn't able to buy old Mustads to cover all sizes. I'm using some Gamakatsu B10S hooks now to tie Stealth Bombers for a trip to Craigs Creek near Roanoke, VA next month - going to have to come up with a new excuse! :biggrin:

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