Here Jason Hayward answers some FAQs about the new Gardner Tackle range of Specialist Sharpened Covert Dark hooks.

Method Based

1. Are Specialist Sharpened Covert Dark hooks suitable for all general use?
Yes, they can be used in any angling situation. I never use an unsharpened hook and I haven’t done so, for over 30 years. Once you see the results, it’s hard to cast a standard hook out as you just know it’s inferior.

2. How do they actually improve general rig efficiency?
It’s very simple; a perfectly sharpened hook WILL catch hold much easier in the mouth as well as penetrating deeper and faster than a normal hook.

3. Can I use them more than once?
Yes of course, if the hook is still in good condition. Sharpened hooks can also be touched up in use with a product like Gardner Tackle’s Point Doctor. At the end of your session if you want to use the rig again, simply dry the hook and put it back in your rig box making sure to replace the point protector on the hook.

4. How do you recommend I test that they are still sharp?
My preference is to simply prick the hook into the skin on my fingertip. You will instantly “feel” if the hook is really sharp or not. Be careful though, they can penetrate fingers in the blink of an eye and a little tip is to put a cork ball on the hook whilst tying rigs up. They really will catch on anything… very easily.


1. How do I stop my hook points rusting during use?
Firstly, your hook may NOT rust. It does vary from water to water. Whether you are using a bottom bait or pop up will also determine how much “rust” will form on the hook. The most effective compound I have found to combat this are my own Anti-Rust sticks which I sell through my own company Specialist Sharpened hooks.

2. Does rust actually affect performance?
No. You will find the rust or corrosion will be very soft to the touch and can almost be blown off. A quick wipe with a clean cloth and a touch up with the Point Doctor and you’re good to go.

3. Are the finer points more delicate?
Yes of course. Look after them! They are the most important piece of your tackle!!!

4. Won’t they blunt on the retrieve? How do I avoid this?
If you hit gravel etc. on the retrieve, then yes, but so will any hook. If you find you are having trouble, wind down quickly when you pick your rod up and retrieve your rig with the rod high.

5. Will different waters or (types of sediment) affect the hook points differently?
Yes. Unfortunately there is no way of telling until you have used them in situ. Don’t worry too much about it. The hook is not in the water long enough for the corrosion to affect the strength.

6. Are sharpened hooks weaker as metal has been removed?
The very end of the point will be. This is just the nature of the beast. The point may well be damaged after you have caught a fish, remember it’s only a hook and you might not have got the bite in the first place if you were not using a sharpened hook.


1. How are they made?
Each hook is individually hand sharpened using various files/tools etc. These are then visually inspected. It’s a long process for “just” a hook, but each hook will be far sharper than it was previously.

2. How are they sharper than modern chemically sharpened hooks?
Chemically sharpening hooks will only take the metal down so far, and ALL hooks are mass produced in huge numbers. I take time, effort and skill to hone each individual hook until it is perfect. It is a bespoke product. Sometimes machines cannot reproduce what the human hand can achieve!

3. How do you ensure they will arrive in pristine condition?
All the hooks are checked and fitted with re-usable point protectors. These ensure the points are not banging against each other and they also protect each hook point from moisture.

4. Have you discovered a rig that uses them to their best ability?
There are things that I do in my own fishing that I consider to be a personal edge, but a sharpened hook will improve ANY rig.