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SMALL ESSENTIALS

Hooks.

Hooks are hooks, right?

Wrong!

As a beginner, you have a mind-blowing choice of ready tied hook links to choose from.

Known as 'Hooks to nylon', they save you hours of work and possibly frustration at home.

You might learn to tie your own hooks eventually and this will save you a lot of money in the long run. But, to start with, these are a God send!

It is important to note that, on most fisheries that you will visit, it is almost certain that there will be a 'Barbless hook only' rule. This is the case on all DDAS waters. Be sure that you have the correct type of hooks by only buying barbless hooks.

The sizes of hooks are represented by numbers. The larger the number, the smaller the hook.
As a beginner, hooks sizes of 14, 16, and 18 are going to be the most useful. You can go to a 12 in the summer or down to a 20 in the winter. But let's keep it simple for now.

Which hooks you choose will depend mainly on the bait being used.

For small soft baits like maggots, you will need a smaller hook, a size 16 or 18 is best. Look for the products labelled for 'Silverfish' or 'Maggot'. These will be perfect for the job.

For slightly larger baits like Sweetcorn or Luncheon meat, look for products labelled 'Pellet' or 'Carp'. These will be tied to stronger line for the larger fish that these baits can attract.

The above options of hooks so far will no doubt be of a flattened 'Spade End' variety using a special knot to tie them to the line. Sizes 16 or 14.

To use the extremely popular hard pellets of modern fishing, you will need to buy a product known as 'Banded Hooks'. These are hooks with a wire 'eye' with which the hook is tied to the line. The Spade End hooks are just hooks. A Banded hook has a tiny rubber band tied into a loop, into which you will need to place a hard pellet using a Pellet Bander to make it easier.

Banded hooks are most commonly used with the Method feeder. Look for 'Method Feeder Hook Links' in the shops. These are much shorter than other Hooks to Nylon coming in at no more than 10cm (4 inches), making them perfect for the feeder. Sizes 14 or 16.

I am not going to get bogged down with which hooks are best. It doesn't matter that much to start with and, like many things in fishing, it can be a very personal choice. But the brands of Guru, Preston Innovations and Drennan all offer some of the most commonly used hooks to nylon, and the easiest to get hold of.

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