Hook strength is an important measure, especially if you're chasing large fish. In fact, choosing the right hook can be the difference between landing a trophy fish and losing one. When it comes to Tarpon hooks, there's very little research available that shows the strength of individual hooks. Fortunately, our Admet Universal Testing Machine allows us to provide strength profiles for the top Tarpon Hooks. We've used this machine in past shootouts like the Fly Line Backing Shootout to compare products across brands. In this shootout, we put some of the top Tarpon hooks to the test and crowned a winner.

While we did set out to find the strongest Tarpon hook, we didn't have every hook in fly fishing available to test. Therefore, while this shootout does show you which hook is the strongest (out of the ones we tested), it also gives some pertinent information about hooks in general, typical hook strength, and the interaction between hooks and pressure. The insights from this shootout can be applied to a variety of situations/ other styles of hooks.

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How We Tested

Like any good experiment, we wanted to have a baseline for this strength test. In this case, we used 80lb Hollow Ace Backing for the baseline. No hook was stronger than the backing so read the graphs accordingly. Next, we knew that a constant increase in pressure would bend a hook, not break it. With that information in mind, we set out to create a test that measured how a hook bends during a constant increase in pressure.

Obviously, the hooks that bend or warp at the lowest pressure are the weakest. The hooks that maintain their original shape (bend the least) are the strongest. We used an Admet Universal Testing Machine to exert constant and increasing pressure on each hook and to measure how each hook responded to that pressure.

Reading the Graphs

When you look at the graphs, the Hollow Ace (baseline) is all the way to the left. The line directly to the right of the Hollow Ace is the hook that bends the least under pressure. The line furthest to the right is the hook that bends the most.

You may also notice that the lines that correspond to the hooks are not straight like the Hollow Ace. A dip or curve in a line means the hook basically bent out at the corresponding pressure (X-Axis). So, in the 1/0 Strength Test, although the Gamakatsu SL12S is the strongest hook, it fails at around 15lbs of pressure. 15lbs of pressure is enough to bend out any of these hooks and is a TON of pressure to put on a fish. Most anglers will never put that much pressure on a Tarpon.

Key Takeaways

  • The Owner Aki and the Gamakatsu SL12S were the strongest 2/0 hooks we tested (although all hooks are roughly the same to about 10lbs of pressure except the Owner SSW).

  • Interestingly enough, some of the 1/0 hooks are stronger than the 2/0 hooks.

  • Most hooks fail between 10 and 15lbs of pressure.

  • Hooks bend before they break.

  • Under a constant force, 15lbs of pressure will bend a Tarpon hook before it breaks a 20lb leader, so choose your leader accordingly.

  • Keep in mind this is a test in a highly controlled environment. When a fish surges, jumps, runs, turns and swims at you, there's no such thing as 'constant and increasing pressure'.


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