Tip One – Steam Straighten Your Hook Link
If you’re using coated braid, nylon hook links or fluorocarbon hook links, to get the best out of the hook link, steam the hooklink straight. After I have tied my hooklink, I put the kettle on, make a cup of tea, and I’ll position the hooklink over the kettle once it is tied to steam it, but make sure you don’t burn your fingers on the steam coming out the kettle. Steam it straight and hang it up for it to cool down.
There are various benefits to steaming your hook link. The primary reason is that it is going to cast so much better with a straight hook link. Whether you are on a clip system, a helicopter system or an inline lead, it’s just going to cast better. It also makes your rig anti-tangle, so when you are casting long distances or short distances, it creates an anti-tangle effect because it is a lot stiffer, a lot straighter and it’s less prone to tangle up on your leader, your leadcore, or your main line.
Another benefit when you cast a straightened and steamed rig out, it’s going to lay better when the lead hits the floor, the rig is going to lay out a lot better, and the rig mechanics are going to work so much better.
When the rig is laid out, the fish will come along, pick it up and rather than it being a tangled mess for a curved mess, it’s going to lay out better and the rig mechanics of that particular rig, are going to catch you more fish.
Steaming the rig will also get it resetting properties. So if a fish picks the rig up and spits it back out, it will reset back into a position where another fish could come and pick it up again, it will be ready and waiting.
Tip Two – Check Your Hooks, Always
I see people checking their hooks when they’re tying their rigs to check for the sharpness when they are tying their rigs, because we all know a sharp hook will put more fish on the bank.
But, what I don’t see, and a good tip that we should all be following when you’re reeling in to recast or you reeling in because you’ve not hit the exact spot that you want to hit, check that point again. So if you are casting four of five times, every time you reel in, check the hook. If the rig hasn’t landed on the exact spot you are aiming for, check the point, because if it is burred over, or blunted on the cast, it won’t be as sharp as when you first tied it, and it should be as sharp as possible when a fish picks up your rig.
My eyesight is very good, so I can see when a hook tip has been nudged, and when this happens, I will replace the hook straight away. But I have seen many people using blunt hooks and being too lazy to replace them.
A sharp hook makes all the difference when it comes to hooking fish, but it will also give you the confidence that you are fishing to the best of your ability.
Tip Three – Use The Heat From Friction
If you are on a day session or you haven’t got your kettle with you, so you can’t steam your hook links straight, use your fingers to generate heat on the hook link.
Be careful that you don’t prick yourself with the hook or you could have a nasty accident, especially a barbed hook!
But, hold the rig and vigorously rub your fingers up and down the hook link, and that will put heat into the hook link and straightening it out nicely for you.
Tip Four – Warm That Putty Up
When you’re applying putty to your rigs to keep it all nice and flat on the bottom, a nice little tip that I learned from someone else many years ago, is that when you’re putting the kettle on to steam your hook link straight, get your blob of putty and put it on top of the kettle.
As I am steaming the hook link, the heat from the kettle is going to make the putty a lot more pliable.
During the colder months when the putty is stiff and not easy to apply, you will save a lot of messing around by putting the putty on the kettle to make it more sticky and easier to mold around the hook link.
Tip Five – Use PVA To Stop Tangles
We are always worried about our rigs tangling when we cast out, and steaming them straight is a great way to make it very anti-tangle. But, there’s a couple of other ways using PVA can make your rig anti-tangle when you cast out.
Number one is using a bit of PVA foam. Nick the foam onto your hook and wrap around the hook, trapping in the hair in place. Then, when you cast out, not only will that give you a visual indicator to throw your free bait out too, but it will make the rig spin, and it’s less likely to tangle.
If you don’t have PVA nuggets, you can use a little PVA funnel web bag. Put a small amount of stick mix in there, thread the bag down your straightened, steamed hook link, and pull your hook into it.
That will not only give you added attraction on the bottom of the lake around your bait, but it will also cause fewer tangles. So when you cast out, you will be safe in the knowledge that your rig hasn’t tangled and it is laying on the bottom of the lake exactly the way should be, waiting for a fish to come along.