Or so you’d think. Admit it – If you looked through most tackleboxes, you will probably find a few crankbait or worm hooks with some rusting or corrosion on them…it happens. You’re out in the rain fishing, a little water gets into your Plano box. Maybe you put away a still wet lure. Hey, hooks are expensive and you think it’s just a little rust and it largely rubs off with a good towel. Looks like new again.
That’s what I thought until last year. Was out for a couple hours after work with a friend chasing walleye. We were using 1/8-oz. jigheads and crawlers. Some of the hooks on the jigs have a little rust, but no big deal. I’ve got cranks with the same and have never had a problem, even a worm hook or two that has spotty rust from all the salt in plastics now days. The learning lesson started when I got a big, solid “thump” on my jig and crawler. I set the hook, the rod doubles over and I think I’m hung on a stump…until it starts moving slowly. I keep the pressure on, then he really does run me around a stump. Still have some play in the line so I work with him and get him unhung. I now figure I have a large cat hooked at this point. I decide to put some pressure on him as he continues to try and go back down toward the woody debris I just freed him from. I’m not going to let him – I keep the pressure on. Two minutes into the battle the line pops and goes limp. Crap!
I reel in expecting to have lost my jig and snapped the line. To my surprise I haven’t. Instead the hook has snapped, breaking off halfway down the shank. Later that evening my friend gets hung on a stump, applies enough pressure trying to free it and his line pops. Reel in to find the same deal, another snapped hook. Now, is it just that we’re applying too much pressure to the hook and it can’t take it, or is it weakness from the corrosion on some of these jigheads? The breaks came right where the shank flexes to try and absorb all the pressure being applied at the bend. So I can’t say for sure, probably a combination of both factors, but it has my attention now more so than before. Just something to keep in mind the next time you tie on a bait with a little rust on the hook. You might be setting yourself up for disappointment.