How to Sharpen a Fish Hook with a Diamond File

Written by bryan clark
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How to Sharpen a Fish Hook with a Diamond File
Sharp hooks are essential for catching big fish. (Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

In the sport and art of fishing, success can depend heavily on the quality of the hook used. Even when brand new, most hooks do not come sharp enough for the task they are meant for, which requires sharpening after purchase and use. A sharp hook sticks through a fish with far greater ease and speed, making the endeavour more rewarding for the angler and easier on the fish. Diamond files make the best files for sharpening fish hooks, although many other options exist. Properly using the file leads to the best hook for snagging and keeping fish.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Test the hook for its sharpness before using it. Do this by drawing the point of the hook across your fingernail. With very gentle pressure, point the hook down toward the nail at a 45-degree angle and draw the hook across the nail. If the point does not dig into the nail at all, it needs sharpening; if it sticks and does not move across the nail, it is suitable for fishing. Modern chemically sharpened hooks do not require sharpening right out of the box, but all other new and used hooks should be sharpened.

  2. 2

    Hold the hook in one hand and the diamond file in the other. Draw the file across the back of the hook with the barb toward the tip of the hook. Do not begin filing too far down the hook, as this decreases the diameter at the base of the hook's point and opens up the possibility of a bent hook. Always move the file towards the point and only file in one direction. Back-and-forth filing removes too much metal too quickly and heats up the metal, weakening it.

  3. 3

    Draw the file across both sides of the hook toward the tip.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process with gentle pressure on the front of the hook.

  5. 5

    Retest the hook for sharpness. If sufficiently sharp, the hook is ready for fishing.

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