After breaking off a live croaker on a mangrove snapper that tied me up in a rig, Capt. Craig Matherne saw me tying on a new hook.
“You want me to snell that for you?” he offered.
I think I might have used a pre-snelled hook once or twice while crappie fishing up on Tennessee, but I have never knowingly used one or tied one myself while fishing in Louisiana.
“That’s cool. I got it,” I said.
But Matherne insisted, so I let him snell my hook. It didn’t take him very long to do it, and he explained to me that the advantage of a snelled hook as opposed to a typical polomar knot was in its added leverage.
“A snelled hook has the line wrapped around the shank,” Matherne pointed out. “That gives you a direct pull on the point when you set the hook. For me, I hook more fish in the roof of the mouth this way, and I lose fewer fish.”
This direct pull that Matherne mentioned means the hook has less play in it. In other words, it’s not going to flop around when you go to set it.
To help get a mental image of the advantage of a snelled hook, think about a fishing gaff. Now, if that gaff were to have a swinging hook on its end, how difficult would it be to stab a fish thrashing on the surface?
The hook would be flopping all over the place and turn upside down when you needed it right side up and pointing to the left when you needed it pointing to the right.
Take that same gaff, and fix the hook so it rigidly moves wherever you twist or turn the handle: Now you’ve got the control necessary to put the hook wherever you want it to go and stab that same fish with a direct pull that is straight to the point.
Click here for a step-by-step report on how to snell a hook.