This year the Cox & Rawle SCR26 Aberdeen Perfect has been my go-to hook when fishing in the Bristol Channel for Dover Sole. It’s long shank, needle-sharp point and strong wire weight make them the versatile option capable of landing larger specimens even in smaller sizes.
Aberdeen Perfect - Shank
Flatfish have a habit of turning your hook if they hit your bait away from the hook point nearer the eye end of the hook. In the past you may have noticed it, winding in after a good bite, there is no fish and you find your hook folded over back-to-front. When fishing big worm baits for flatfish, the longer shank of the SCR26 Aberdeen Perfect will help decrease your chances of getting hooks turned and subsequently improve your hook-ups..
Aberdeen Perfect - Hook Point
I've spent a lot of my time this summer targeting Dover Sole from the reefs around Weston-Super-Mare and Clevedon in the Bristol Channel - fishing over some pretty mixed ground at these locations and can quickly lose hook points on rock and coral. There are a good few sharp Aberdeen's on the market however, many of these have long brittle points which can easily bend and become blunted. The Aberdeen Perfect, when compared, has a shorter needle-style point making it more robust and stays sharper for far longer.
Aberdeen Perfect - Wire Gauge
As a keen match-angler I tend to steer towards finer wire hooks so it’s worth mentioning another Cox & Rawle pattern ideal for flatfish and that's the SCR27 Aberdeen Match which is made from a much finer gauge wire. However, when practicing my general fishing I prefer the heavier wire of the Aberdeen Perfect, particularly when fishing over rough ground, because it's a small hook which can land a big fish. Just because I'm out targeting Dover Sole doesn't mean that I don't want to land a decent sized Ray, Bass, Cod or Conger Eel. When using the Aberdeen Perfect, I feel confident that I'm keeping my options open to land a good range of different fish species. Material quality is also particularly important - Cox & Rawle use top-quality Swedish steel wire in the production of these hooks.
Aberdeen Perfect - My hook palette
I have the full range of sizes (#12 to #6/0) in my hook box and mostly use sizes #8 to #2/0 when targeting Dover Sole. The #8, #6 and #4 are ideal for Slips (small Dover Sole) and can still handle a bonus specimen fish if caught over clean ground. When fishing on the reefs I tend to use sizes #1, #1/0 and #2/0s, depending on how big I want to go with my worm baits. Just for reference, a big Dover Sole will have no problem swallowing a #2/0 Aberdeen Perfect. Matching the amount of bait to the correct size of hook is ultimately the most important thing to improve hook-ups.
Little details, as explained with the Aberdeen Perfect, can make a big difference when fishing and can improve your success rate. I personally want to give myself the best chance possible, catching and landing fish when they come along. That's why I use Cox & Rawle products. Trust me, there is nothing worse than losing a special fish because you’re using an inferior product.
James T Madsen.