Tip #13 Diamonds are a Girl's, uh Angler's, Best Friend!
Christmas may have past but late winter is the perfect time to shop for tackle box stuffers or early birthday gifts prior to taking that fishing trip to Alaska.
Over the course of 47 years of fishing, I have gone through a lot of hook sharpening stones and other sharpening gimmicks. After all, the Golden Rule is "Keep Your Hooks Sharp!" And this rule takes on special importance for any angler who will be traveling thousands of miles to experience what may be that once in a lifetime fishing trip.
Alaska fishing, whether saltwater or freshwater, provides many opportunities to catch the biggest fish of your life or perhaps even the next world record! And the hook on your line, whether fishing for king salmon with a kwikfish or fishing 400 feet deep with an 8/0 circle hook for halibut, is the most important component of your gear. A dull hook loses fish, period.
Without a doubt, the most efficient and useful hook sharpener I have found is the EZE-Lap Diamond Hone & Stone sharpener. It is manufactured in three different grit sizes, Course (black), Medium (purple), and Fine (red). They seem to last forever and work well for large saltwater hooks as well as a #18 dry fly hook. They are about 6 inches long, lightweight and can be hung on a lanyard for easy access or kept in your pocket for occasional use.
They are somewhat difficult to find in stores, especially here in Alaska. So if you come across a tackle dealer who stocks them, I'd advise loading up on the complete set or even duplicates. They are well worth the investment.
A reader has just provided me with a retailer who also sells the EZE-Lap diamond sharpeners online from their store in California. You can get four grit sizes in the file shaped item and there are a number of whetstone designs you can also choose from. Visit the The Japan Woodworker Catalog to see their selections.
Klondike Kid's Tip: Just about every fishing guide or charter captain will maintain their fishing gear throughout the season. But you can run into exceptions and often the hooks on your provided tackle may not be as sharp as they should be. So whether you are going halibut fishing on a charter or trying for salmon on a river with a guide, take along a hook sharpener in your pocket. If the hook isn't needle point sharp, touch it up to your satisfaction. If you don't have a sharpener with you, Don't Hesitate to ask your guide to sharpen your hooks if they are the least bit dull.
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