How Good are Cheap Carp Hooks
You get what you pay for, right?!?
I have found out over the years that is old adage is pretty accurate most of the time, however, this did not deter me and actually got me thinking.
I have always been under the impression that cheaper carp hooks are not worth even looking at and something I have never even considered fishing with. I have concerns about the quality of these carp hooks and would ask the following questions.
- How sharp are these hooks out of the packet?
- Do the hooks stay sharp over time?
- Are these carp hooks strong enough to land big carp?
- What kind of cost savings can I make and is it really worth it?
Whenever I watch carp fishing shows, such as Korda's excellent Thinking Tackle, the professional anglers do reiterate about using the strongest, sharpest carp hooks and the highest quality of tackle. I think this is something we can all agree and in practice is a philosophy we all want to follow.
I want to make this very clear, I think the hooks from Korda et al are fantastic quality, extremely sharp and a possibly the best carp hooks you can buy, not to mention I have caught many carp over the years and these hooks have never let me down. I am very confident in using them.
On the contrary, the cynic in me thinks are these big carp tackle manufacturers just pushing their own products and in actual fact, the cheaper non-branded carp tackle is just as effective at catching carp? The marketing budgets must be huge for these carp manufacturers and clearly, they have to recoup their costs somewhere so perhaps they are overcharging for their products?
How good are cheap carp hooks
I decided to have a browse online to see what carp hooks are available for a reasonable price and I was surprised at what I found.
120 barbless hooks in varying sizes. Sizes 8 to 18 to ensure you have the best size hooks for carp fishing in any scenario and also suitable for coarse fishing all for around £5, which I thought was a fantastic price especially compared to say Korda or ESP which cost around the same price for a packet of 10 hooks.
There were lots of other options available all offering a large number of hooks, more than 60, for around the same price.
You can buy extremely cheap carp tackle, but are these hooks any good at catch carp?
I purchased a couple of these packets and ended up with around 180 carp & coarse fishing hooks for about £10 delivered.
Upon first inspection, the hooks looked to be of good quality. I performed the good old test of a carp hook and dragged the point over my fingernail and the hooks caught instantly highlighting the sharpness.
I got a great first impression from these hooks but the real test was can you catch carp with these cheaper hooks?
I headed down to my local carp lake to test these hooks out. I decided to keep things as simple as possible with a basic knotless knot rig to hopefully test these hooks out in the simplest of forms. With the first batch of hooks, I had several takes and landed mainly double figure carp the biggest around 18lbs.
The hooks seemed to remain sharp and did not lose any of their sharpness or start to open up, which was a big concern I had. So clearly, these cheaper carp hooks can catch fish. How the hooks would fair against a big carp is, of course, another test but I wasn't fortunate or skilful enough to test out that theory on that particular day.
The second batch was not as good and there were some issues. The hooks seemed to open up when playing a carp, a relatively small carp in this case, and even though I did manage to land the fish this outcome didn't exactly fill me with confidence about using any of that batch again. Upon closer inspection of the remaining hooks, they did seem to be inconsistent with some of the hooks not completely formed correctly. I was slightly surprised as this batch actually offered fewer hooks for the money and as it turned out were far worse in terms of quality and performance.
I did also have a look through the reviews from other anglers for both of these sets of hooks and on the whole, they did seem to reflect my experiences. I will say that some anglers did experience the hooks getting bent when playing a carp and this occurred for both batches. I think this is starting to highlight the difference between these cheap carp hook and the more expensive, premium options from the likes of Korda and ESP.
Consistency is key!
Even though I had good results from some of these hooks the general consensus was the lack of quality and consistency across the entire batch. I perhaps was lucky in that I received a batch that did perform well, caught many carp and hooks that I would be happy to fish with again, however, other anglers were not so lucky and did have varying problems when fishing with them.
My advice would be to try some of these cheaper bulk carp hooks and see for yourself to gauge what you think. Some of these cheaper carp hooks are good with some being of lesser quality. I think if I were to be fishing a runs water, these type of hooks would be suitable but if I were to be fishing a lake with big carp, I think I would stick with my tried and tested Korda hooks which have never let me down.
And yes, you do you what you pay for!