Come on then – what hooks do you use?

Over the years I have had more than my fair share of hook pulls and some with very large fish on the end. At one time I would be messing around with different hook patterns all the time, which in hindsight wasn’t a great thing to be doing as I never really got to understand the ‘best way’ to use each pattern.

Hooks as we all know vary in so many ways from wire thickness, shank length, curve style, gape, angle of the eye, barb type, straight point, claw point and so on. Each pattern will have a knot, shrink wrap tubing or sliding ring set up that will be ‘just right’ for that pattern, but not necessarily right for another pattern.

I don’t want to go down the rig stage here but merely enquire what pattern or patterns do you favour for the biggest percentage of your angling?

Which ones do you have the most confidence in?

Which ones do you seem to suffer the least hook pulls with?

Now, it is only fair that I give my favourites.

Like I said at the start over the years I suffered a lot of hook pulls but in hindsight that was more to do with using certain patterns in a less than ideal situation. I may have seen a rig idea and then simply used what hooks I had. To be fair it never really hit home just how much difference a slightly different pattern could make in regards to working with your chosen rig. This may seem a bit of a strange statement these days but remember I was carp fishing in the 1970’s before the massive surge forward in rig development. The basic hair rig was still a few years away.

Through the 70’s and the 80’s I always worried about my hook hold and to be honest it wasn’t until 1995 that I finally found a hook that landed almost every fish I hooked. The hook was a Terry Eustace Gold Label Penetrator Two. It was the first curved shank hook I had used and it was a year I caught an awful lot of fish too.

carp fishing hooks which to use

Ashima C310 and Penetrator 2

The next hook that became a major part of my angling was the Ashima C310. I can’t remember now how I came to be using those but for around a 15 year period just about every carp I caught was on them. I had developed my home tied Combi Rig at this stage and the pattern suited it brilliantly. I think every fish from me joining the Mangrove up until a couple of years ago were on this pattern and I must admit that for years I never even looked at other hooks, I was so confident in what I used.

There was a bit of a problem sourcing them for a while but I found what looked like the same pattern sold as a Carp R Us Short Straight Shank Nailer and then also as a Smart Point SP310. The Smart Points were the easiest for me to get so that was what I continued to use although the eye was different on the size 4 to the size 6 but that didn’t seem to alter my hooked to landed ratio.

The 4 and 6 sizes sound large but they were the same as the Nailer 6 and 8. It seems most stick on whatever size they like as there is no set hook scale around.

I was happy with this pattern for years as I say but must admit to getting fed up with having to sharpen them all before I used them and during one session when I was catching a lot I was envious of a mate who was able to take a hook straight out of a pack and use it without working upon it first.

Around the same time Jon Caers from Belgium gave me a pack of PB Products Super Strong hooks when I bumped into him on a French trip. I have continued to use them ever since. Until that is, I had a session on Brocard Large last year that demanded barbless hooks. I must admit I prefer not to use barbless but obviously do when I have to (in silkweed or when the rules dictate).

What carp hooks to use

From left to right – ACE, PB Mk2 and PB Mk1 Superstrong

Even after 37 years of carp angling I was still a bit unsure which barbless patterns I like and I must admit it was only during a quick coffee break to catch up with fellow Free Spirit Team Member Lee Jackson at the Tackle Box in Kent whilst travelling over to Brocard that Kevin Peat (one of the Tackle Box owners) mentioned he had enjoyed a silly session at Les Quis landing a lot of fish. Knowing that is barbless only I quickly asked the question – which pattern?

It transpired he had been trying the ACE  Short Curve Shank Razor Points, Jacko quickly piped in with the fact he had been using the longer shank version couldn’t fault them so naturally I took advice and purchased some. Suffice to say I landed every fish I hooked that trip and all on the size 8.

There you have it – my hook preferences over the years.

Barbed I am currently using the PB Super Strongs
Barbless I was really impressed with the ACE ones

What do you have confidence in?

Best fishes
Shaun Harrison
Quest Baits



11 thoughts on “Come on then – what hooks do you use?

  1. Paul Cooper says:

    This one is an easy one for me.
    I generally use the Smart Point SP310 barbed hooks or the SP315 in the barbless version.
    The 315’s are difficult to get hold of, but they are a really strong and sharp hook, and they do appear to work for me. The thing that I like about this version is that the shank is straight and there is a slight downward kick on the eye, and I can use this hook in my adaptations of my rigs. I have full confidence in this hook as I generally fish it in my ultimate barbless hook rig (watch here ) It is a simple rig to tie and I loose very few fish on this rig.
    Last year I used them on all my French venues such as Brie, Vaumigny, Brocard Small, Nautica and in England and I think that I lost 4 fish through hook pulls, no more.

    I first put a video together on the ultimate pop rig, and for this I was using the Smart Point SP310 barbed.hooks. Again, this rig is responsible for large numbers of fish captures in France and in England and is one of the best rigs that I have used for a critically balanced bait (now called a wafter) or pop ups.

    One of my other favoured rigs is the blowback rig, and for this I use Size 6 Fox Arma barbed long shank hook. I only use this rig when fished with bottom baits and again is a great fish catcher. My version and how to tie this can be seen at

  2. Duncan de Gruchy says:

    Over the years I have favoured 4 different hooks patterns. I started with the Kamazan B175 which I did like, particularly in the smaller sizes. I then had a couple straighten out on me so moved onto the Carp R Us Longshank Nailer. I was happy with them until a trip to France when I kept on getting hook pulls whereas my mate only had one all week on his Korda Wide gapes.

    I changed my rig set up at around the same time and found the ESP Curveshanks to suit the hooklink and materials I was using. These worked very effectively for me and hookpulls thankfully became a distant memory but their sharpness and durability concerned me. I tried various makes of the same pattern of hook but still struggled with all of them failing to keep their sharpness for any lenght of time. About a year ago I came across the ACE Razorpoints in both the medium and short shank versions and must admit, have been very impressed with results so far.

    So in summary, the ACE Razorpoints are doing it for me at the moment.

  3. Ron Key says:

    Another vote for the Ace hooks particularly if I have to use a barbless hook which seems to be condition of fishing more and more French Lakes. Its strange but in the area I live its almost impossible to buy a barbless hook in a tackle shop. If I use a barbed hook or need extra strength I tend to use an Atomic Grabba which is a similar pattern to the PB hoooks Shaun favours.
    Cheers Ron

  4. Shaun Harrison says:

    Hi Duncan,

    The Kamassan B175’s were a strange hook. Several of my friends used them and swore by them. I tried them more times than I should have and swore at them. They used to open up for me. I must admit I landed a few with them partially opened but it did little for my confidence.

    It was a strange one that one and I think probably more down to rig mechanics rather than the hook as I have a lot of respect for Lee Jackson and Graham Slater who were both using them a lot. Graham was using them in hook and hold situations and landing 40 lb plus fish with them.

    No one hook does everything I guess and what works for one isn’t necessarily going to be good for the next person.

    Jim Gibbinson wrote a lot of very valuable words during his writing career and amongst these were something along the lines of…

    “Once you find a hook you really like, try and buy a lifetimes supply as you can be sure at some stage the hook will be altered in some way or discontinued”.

    I have now seen this several times myself over the years.

  5. Shaun Harrison says:

    Steve Wheeler At the moment I am using the solar 101 very sharp and very strong with a nice dull finish
    3 hours ago

    Jure Gombač At the moment i’m using KAMASAN B775 CARP SPECIALIST (barbed), strong, sharp and not that expensive
    10 minutes ago

  6. Shaun Harrison says:

    Andrew Wood glt penetrators ,, heavy and awesome after a little flick with a stone..
    16 hours ago · Like

    Keith Wright I`ve been using the pb super strongs for a yr or two now, really pleased with them..
    14 hours ago · Like

  7. Duncan de Gruchy says:

    Hello Shaun
    It was strange with the B175’s I agree. I used them quite happily and never had a problem then quite suddenly (it seemed) I had a few open up on me which meant a total loss of confidence and a search for a new hook. Maybe they changed their manufacturing process, who knows?

    I do agree with you about finding something you like and buying a lifetimes supply. There are quite a few items of terminal tackle I really liked then they became discontinued (also bait as in your Liver B8!). Wish I’d brought a barrow load 🙂

  8. Ron Key says:

    Strange how a hook pattern becomes popular. Most of the patterns recommended are very simlar -101’s, Super Strongs, Grabbas, etc even the old Penetrators are not a million miles away. Go back a few years and almost no company would have had that pattern in their hook range.

  9. Pat Gillett says:

    Hi Shaun,
    Looking at the ACE barbless range that you have mentioned, i see that they do different shank lengths, which one have you found the best, i am going to a French water in May (that is barbless only) and so may give them a try.


  10. Shaun Harrison says:

    I used the size 8 short curved shank Pat. I will definitely use them again.

  11. Pat Gillett says:

    Cheers Shaun, will have a look at them.

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