Power Fast Bait Holder Hooks Update
I grew up on the east coast of Ireland where the sea angling scene is moist definitely the ‘poorer cousin’ to that of the west coast. That said, one thing that the east is famous for is smoothhounds which turn up in spades during the late spring months and hang around for a good portion of the summer. As predictable as the appearance of smoothhounds is the bait to catch them always predictably dips in supply once they turn up. Peeler crabs are without doubt the number one choice for many when targeting these sleek and powerful species.
A member of the elasmobranch family (sharks and rays) smoothhounds are a small sleek mini shark that max out at close to 30lbs in weight but a fish over 10lb is a worthy capture of note. In Ireland a 6lb fish is considered specimen sized but I expect that to be reviewed and increased shortly. This strong species can move at speed and turn on a pin head making them a worthy adversary that will provide an excellent fight – never a bad thing for an angler!
Using peeler crab is a fantastic option for these fish but many hooks fall short with the crab’s tendency to slip down the shank and around the bend of the hook. A pattern of hooks I used from Cox & Rawle this season and last performed flawlessly and in my opinion very much helped me with my hook up rate for these scrappers. I received a few of the Power Fast Bait Holder hooks SCR37 and as one would expect from Cox & Rawle hooks they are a strong and extremely sharp pattern. No surprises there, consistent as ever. What did appeal to me about these hooks are the small barbs that can be found on the rear of the shank, something I figured would be perfect for holding mounted peeler baits in place.
I like to prepare my crab baits by taking one large crab and cutting it in half. Both halves are then threaded onto a baiting needle and wrapped with bait elastic to produce a long, cylindrical bait, much like a peeler crab sausage! This bait can be a at least a couple of inches long and once formed is slipped off the baiting needle and onto the point of the hook. The bait is then pushed around the bend of the hook and up the line until the point and gape are left free and unobstructed. Keeping the gape and point free will ensure a good hook up but invariable with a standard hook the bait slips down to mask the point, resulting in missed fish.
Here’s where the Power Fast Bait Holders come into their own. The small barbs on the rear of the shank do a fantastic job of keeping the peeler crab in place and ensuring a far better hook up rate for me this year on the hounds as opposed to previous seasons with plain shanked hooks. I managed a few fish to specimen size this year and the hooks performed admirably. I used the larger sizes up to 4/0 to tempt the fish and I am thoroughly satisfied that they are the right hook for the job. I know what pattern I will be reaching for when they hounds show up again next year; more Power Fast Bait Holders, please! Two seasons in and I now have a firm favourite hook pattern for smoothhounds and crab baits.