Author Topic: Sickle hook comparison  (Read 1684 times)

Offline ctom

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Sickle hook comparison
« on: 03/02/18 12:28 UTC »
Here's a shot showing the three primary sickle hooks in a size 6. From the bottom up they are: Matzuo, Eagle Claw 500BP "Lil Nasty", and the new Mustad 32500 Skip Jack. The dime is for size relationship.



Its easy to see the visual differences here. The Matzuos have fallen by the wayside with me because of the inconsistencies in the hooks, especially the stem length from the shank to the eye. Big pain. The bend in the Mustad hook is the most relaxed of the three with not a whole bunch of difference between the EC and Mat hooks. The actual hook gap is closer between the Mat and the Mustad. While that Matzuo is sharp right out of the box, the Lil Nastys are sharper. The Mustads.....well, they take the cake. I had a half dozen in a hand and have already had to wipe blood just from handling them. The Mustads are easily the sharpest out of box hooks I have even handled. I'm pretty indifferent to the sickle part right now and will hold any comments on that part until I have some fish on them.

The EC and Mats have about the same wire diameter while the Mustad is just a hair heavier, but not so much so that they are cumbersome and they slide right into every cavity I have tried them in where a size 6 is called for.

I'm pretty impressed with the Mustads having had them in my hot little hands and plan to cook some lead and cast a bunch this weekend. The real test will come while fishing. I'm thinking the sturdier wire may make them a tad bit less being able to straighten in a solid snag....or may be brittle and simply break off. I haven't a clue what the hook wire's temper is like and may be surprised....have to wait to see I guess.

I laid maybe 50 of these new hooks out and sorted thru them and found zero  things to bring up. Despite being a bronze hook they seem like real nice hooks and as mentioned they are sharper than heck. The beak on the hook is about the same on all three but the barb might be just a hair higher on the Mustad than on the other two but I can tell you that the barb on this new hook is a sharp one too and might have a bit more substance where the barb abd hook shank merge.

No doubt, they are darned nice hooks.

Online WALLEYE WACKER

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/18 01:47 UTC »
Are they in order top to bottom the why it’s written? I’ve had a issue with Matzuo being really soft and inconsistent also. Tom I also find in black nickel seem to be better.

Offline smalljaw

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/18 05:22 UTC »
Very good info!!!! I found that between the EC lil nasty and the Matzuo sickle the Matzuo has a little larger gap or bite but the EC is much stronger. I too had tired of all the bad Matzuo sickle hooks, in fact I'm sick of the Matzuo wacky hooks that Do-it calls the 785, the bends are different as is the length of wire from the eye to the bend. It is hard to imagine a hook that is sharper than the Lil nasty, as you mentioned, the Matzuo sickle is sharp and the lil nasty is even sharper so with the mustad being even sharper than those, well may as well get ready for a blood transfusion because when I tie hair jigs using a lil nasty I end up bleeding without ever knowing I got cut in the first place. The fact that the Mustad is heavier is nice, but like I noticed with the Matzuo, that tiny difference in hook gap seems to make a big difference in strength, I'm wondering if Mustad used the heavier gauge wire in order to keep the strength while allowing for a larger gap. For me the only issue I'll have is the fact that hook is bronze, I'll have to get some in a size 1 and 1/0 to try out but it will have to be a lot better in order for me to pay more for a bronze hook over a black nickel. I for one really appreciate the review and initial observation, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the actual fishing performance, for all my disdain for bronze hooks, this may be one that might be worth taking over a black nickel, anyway thanks for taking the time, I know I use larger sizes but I'm one of the few that likes this style of hook for small hair jigs, they are stronger than round bends and I never lose fish that I have hooked.

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #3 on: 03/03/18 06:04 UTC »
Mustad has always been good about getting the black nickel on hooks that get popular and I think any extra cost is well worth it. Have to wait and see how well these trip the jig makers' triggers.

One thing I failed to mention was that of the three in the picture, the Mustad is the shortest. Not by much, but the shortest. I had them out again last night
to study some more and after a half hour I decided I liked them pretty much. For bronzed hooks they sure are clean.

Smalljaw.....I'd like your perspective on this:

The bend in the hook, the sickle portion, isn't so radical that they are hard to untangle like the Mats and the ECs....not that it matters much....yet still they have enough of an interference angle to stay put in a fish's mouth I think because the shank portion is where the shorter part of the hook is. Balance-wise I think the slightly shorter shank will help keep the point "tipped" into the fish due to the weight being closer to the bend of the hook. I think they'll "hook" a little faster with a little short radius between the eye of the hook and the back of the bend. I'm pretty sure the point is far enough back and out past the eye so that there won't be any interference in that department. Thoughts from looking at the picture?

I have some molds that take the 570 style hooks that I want to try these new ones in only in larger sizes....walleye sizes. 4, 1, 1/0 and 2/0 are target sizes I want to give a test ride too

Offline Shaunm81

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #4 on: 03/03/18 23:45 UTC »
I guess I will avoid  Matzuo brand.  I dont think i ever used them though yet.   Curious to see how the Mustads go for you.  I recently casted some #6 lil nasty into the round head jigs and no matter what I kept getting incomplete pours and the hook kept showing through every time . I thought ill bend the hook a little to allow the lead to reach where it was not filling and it worked perfect for me . I haven't had any trouble with the 570 bronze hooks those pour perfect.

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #5 on: 03/04/18 07:34 UTC »
Your molds will likely handle several brands of hooks if they are closely similar to the 570 style of Eagle Claw hooks. My 1/32, and 1/16 collarless ballhead molds are the Pro series molds and call for 570 Eagle Claw hooks, but Mustad, Owner, VMC, Gamakatsu and Matzuo all have hooks that will fit and cast well in the molds without issue and I generally ladle cast my jigs. I have a few of the pro series of molds with very small gates and hand pour these too without issue but then I have been casting jigs since about 1963 and have a bit of practice behind me.

I personally have a dislike for bronze hooks and tend to be critical of them, but the new Mustads have a bronze finish that is the finest I have ever seen looking almost as though it were a plating process. Bronze hooks generally cast up very easily. Black nickel or the black platinum finish, as Eagle Claw calls it, also casts very easy and clean. If you're seeing incomplete castings on the smaller heads try jacking the pot temperature higher and make sure the mold has been pre-heated until it is really warm to hold without gloves. As a rule the smallest head sizes are found right at the hinge end of most molds where the hinge and all the extra aluminum act as a heat sink and rob heat from your lead as you pour. This end of the mold really needs to be heated well and then it helps to just pour thee cavities at that end a dozen times without hooks and leaving the lead in the mold for ten to 15 seconds with each blind pour to force HOT into that area of the mold. Pure soft lead is imperative on small heads and the having the furnace temp higher than for larger heads helps things move along with full castings too. Sometimes one may have to tip the mold slightly towards the hinge end to facilitate lead flow inside the mold to help get complete castings. It would be an infrequent thing to have to re-bend hooks to get complete castings and is generally something else. A re-bend would be the last area to look in my book.

Online Muskygary

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #6 on: 03/04/18 11:31 UTC »
Of course the problem is that no one has the 32500 in stock!

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #7 on: 03/04/18 14:22 UTC »
Netcraft showed them in stock last week. Do-It has some limited sizes. Not sure about Barlows. Capt'n Hooks didn't show them last week which is surprising but then maybe he's waiting to see what kind of user responses he sees too.

Offline Shaunm81

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #8 on: 03/04/18 15:32 UTC »
Yeah I like things done right hated to bend those hooks but worked out perfect but still the hassle of doing that and shouldnt have to do that . I will try the ways you suggested for sure.  I kind of wonder if it could be this lead I bought.  I guess you get what you pay for for sure.  Just curious why you dont care for bronze hooks?Color? Bend easy ?I honestly definitely prefer the black platinum myself much better.  You been pouring a long time for sure wow that is impressive its no wonder you are so talented with this stuff.

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #9 on: 03/04/18 17:51 UTC »
I find that the black hooks are way sharper out of the box than any other hook...bronze, gold, red, green blue. I like the temper that the black hooks come with. I fish light line as a rule and if snagged I don't waste time trying to straighten a hook. I grab the line and haul back with a steady pull and snap it off. I quit worrying about the cost of a lost jig about 40 years ago. Besides, I know a guy who makes jigs and plastics.

Offline smalljaw

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #10 on: 03/05/18 06:25 UTC »
Mustad has always been good about getting the black nickel on hooks that get popular and I think any extra cost is well worth it. Have to wait and see how well these trip the jig makers' triggers.

One thing I failed to mention was that of the three in the picture, the Mustad is the shortest. Not by much, but the shortest. I had them out again last night
to study some more and after a half hour I decided I liked them pretty much. For bronzed hooks they sure are clean.

Smalljaw.....I'd like your perspective on this:

The bend in the hook, the sickle portion, isn't so radical that they are hard to untangle like the Mats and the ECs....not that it matters much....yet still they have enough of an interference angle to stay put in a fish's mouth I think because the shank portion is where the shorter part of the hook is. Balance-wise I think the slightly shorter shank will help keep the point "tipped" into the fish due to the weight being closer to the bend of the hook. I think they'll "hook" a little faster with a little short radius between the eye of the hook and the back of the bend. I'm pretty sure the point is far enough back and out past the eye so that there won't be any interference in that department. Thoughts from looking at the picture?

I have some molds that take the 570 style hooks that I want to try these new ones in only in larger sizes....walleye sizes. 4, 1, 1/0 and 2/0 are target sizes I want to give a test ride too

Ctom, I think your obersvation and assessment is spot on. When you look at all 3 you'll see how each tried to improve upon the Matzuo design. EC made the first bend from the hook shank to the sickle a little more relaxed or rounded, what this did was allow the hook to ride up faster than the Matzuo. The Matzuo does well but if the fish are in a neutral mood they tend to mouth a bait and spit it and the steeper bend off the hook shank makes it harder for the hook point to  rotate up even though the steeper bend gives it a larger gap. EC noticed that and rounded that bend a little bit making it easier for the hook point to rotate up even though it shortened the hook gap slightly. It looks as if Mustad put both style to the test and came up with a hybrid design and they didn't just guess either. They relaxed the first bend off the hook shank even more than the EC, but then they rounded off the sickle bend as well, that, along with the slightly shorter shank gives it a larger gap and also gives blurs the lines between a sickle and round bend hook. The more relaxed bends at both the shank and sickle should give it similar hooking performance of a round bend but it still has a sickle bend but less radical so it should have a similar holding ability to a sickle style. The sickle bend of the Mustad is almost like an O'Shaughnessy only the position of the bend is moved to the center and I honestly think Mustad thought the design through rather than just making a copy. Now it isn't perfect, no hook really is but from what I can see I'd say that it will probably get more positive hook ups on overly aggressive fish as well as the light biters. I also think it will land a similar percentage as I don't see fish throwing that hook but I do believe that a fish will throw that hook easier and more often than it can the deeper sickle style but it won't be many that do throw it. All in all I have to say that it may just be the first bronze hook I buy in a very long time, I'm happy for the pictures and first review, this was extremely informative.

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #11 on: 03/05/18 07:56 UTC »
I agree smalljaw.

The new Mustad almost has me thinking it similar to one of their Siwash hooks when I look at the overall length of each hook and compare the length of the entire bend in the new hook from where it begins in the shank and ends at the point. Siwash have that unique capability to self-hook like an octopus style or circle style hooks have needing only a continued steady pressure from the line to hook up but they don't have a 90 degree leg in their shape. This is something I'll be considering when I get these to water.

I love my sickle hooks in the Eagle Claw 500 series. Just looking at these Mustad hooks and handling them gingerly to keep my blood where it belongs has me believing that these new puppies have some differences mentioned now that may set them ahead of the Eagle Claw, but they still need that water time to seal the deal with me. I'm wondering if Mustad hasn't incorporated anew bronzing process. These are said to be bronzed but the finish doesn't look like it. The finish has an almost satin appearance to it and is not the deep russet color of most bronzed hooks.

As a side note to this, we haven't got much snow to melt in this area anymore. The stream and river behind my house are both running slightly higher than normal but certainly not enough to be concerning. The lake to my north will have open water as soon as the local water gets run thru the lake system which is drawn down each winter about two feet. I just check the lake's monitor site and its not quite at summer pool so maybe I need to cast real soon. I'm really liking what I am seeing in these new hooks and have an itch to get them wet.

Offline TommySkarlis

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #12 on: 03/05/18 08:26 UTC »
I have always had a slight reservation when using "Sickle" Hooks because of their ability to straighten out on a large fish or a "Hoisted" or "swing" fish when you flip them into the boat.  Especially when the hook has been straightened out before, like in brush or rocks.  This new Mustad really has my attention!!! I like the curve in it - as opposed to the "bend" you see at the apex of the sickles.  I will report more once I get a chance to properly work them over!  8)
Take somebody fishing soon!

Offline ctom

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #13 on: 03/05/18 08:53 UTC »
I've had some of the Eagle Claws straighten out when I have been using braid but mostly the either break off or the hooks break. I've noticed both while working sunken standing wood. Depending on the size of the wood, I usually just break the jig off in the wood so as not to disturb the fish with a lot of jerking on the line and or boat positioning. Matzuos have been real good at having the hooks themselves break off. The temper in the 500 series hooks is a bit less brittle and I have had a few of these bend but I don't mess with trying to straighten these out I put them in the junk can and they go in the garbage at home.

Now if the temper in this new hook is in line with Mustad's history of great hooks you should be fine with swing landing fish Tommy. I don't think big fish will be an issue either.  Every thing about these new hooks is just nice. I have a pie tin with a couple hundred of them and a few Matzuos and Lil Nastys laying loose and I can't tell you how many times I have come back to these hooks and fiddled with them.....comparing. I have to take some time to cast a bunch of these up later today. I need some 1/32 collarless and some 1/32 with the keeper wire and these will be just the ticket for this little task.

Online Muskygary

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Re: Sickle hook comparison
« Reply #14 on: 03/05/18 10:25 UTC »
I love this type of post. It will help all of us, keep us informed as to the testing Tom.