A statue of a large bass fish on a table.

Hunting and Fishing Off-season 1/21/2022 – Jeff Gross

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

With the unsettled weather we are having, now is a good time to tune up your rods and tackle box.  Ice fishing looks like it will be nonexistent in Rhode Island again this year.  Have a spinning reel that is making a whirring or clicking noise? A little reel grease can cure that when dabbed in the gear housing.  Do yourself a favor and set the reel body screws in a cup as they have a tendency to roll around and get lost. 

As for your tackle box it is time to replace the rusty hooks with new ones, and sharpen the others. When one sets the hook, it must be to bury the hook as clean as possible. Contacting Yo-Zuri lure company never yielded any information about where they obtain their chrome hooks. They are by far, in my opinion, the sharpest available. Next on the sharp scale would be Gamakatsu hooks. These are readily found at your higher end fishing stores like Cabella’s and Bass Pro.

Through the course of a season your favorite lures will bump or snag a variety of rocks and logs in the water.  One good rock snag will badly dull the point on a crank bait. I no longer have access to a Scanning Electron Microscope, so to show the damage done is impossible now. However, a simple experiment taking my pocketknife and slicing cardboard with it produced some similar results. After making 3 passes with the initially razor sharp knife,  it requires some force to cut the cardboard and does so in a butcher type fashion, similar to cutting a beautiful piece of Mahogany trim with a rip saw. The same happens to your lure’s hooks each and every time they snag a water obstruction.

Sharpening hooks takes some practice and a good set of magnifying glasses or jeweler’s magnifiers. There are numerous sharpening devices available, however one only needs a super fine grit course grain such as 800; smaller is not needed, and if needed it is better to throw the hooks out. 1500 waterproof sandpaper or ultra-fine diamond grit works best for me. One needs to hold the hook at the least angle degree possible ( ~ 10 Degrees) and drag the tip slowly across the grit. Remember you are not sharpening a battle axe. Three passes on opposing sides is enough to do the trick. An easy way to check is to snap your thumb across the plane of the hook tip and if it readily snags then you know you have success. Just don’t apply a lot of pressure. If you have ultra-sharp hooks or a sharpening device that you would recommend, I would love to hear about them. See you next week.


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

He can be reached at: [email protected]

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