With so many materials to choose from, picking the best hooklink can be very confusing so use this simple guide to help you pick the right one for you.
Last updated: March 2016
It’s a hooklink jungle out there but there is no need to be too afraid. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, as long as they don’t break, all hooklinks will land you carp! It is important to choose the right material for the right situation though, so let’s review the basic options and what angling situation I have found them suitable for.
The main types of hooklink I’m going to review are:
- Mono hooklink
- Braided hooklink
- Coated hooklink
- Fluorocarbon hooklink
- Leader material
- Stiff rig chod filament
This is the original hook link material. It’s simple, cheap and as long as you match it with a suitable hook and mount the bait sensibly then it may be the right choice. Typical breaking strains for carp fishing range from 8 to 18lbs.
My first choice of mono hoolkink when zig fishing would be Proclear from GLT in 8-12lbs.
I don’t use mono in heavier gauge for hook links but if I did, I’d go for something in 0.40mm as a minimum.
When to use it
Its low cost, small diameter and low visibility make is an ideal choice for zig fishing. As zig rigs tend to be quite long (I’ve fished with a length up to 10ft), they have quite a lot of elasticity. This means that even in 8lb, in the right situation, you can land a massive lump of a carp.
When to avoid it
Mono is not such a good choice in shorter length, unless you are fishing for small or medium sized carp. Due to the lack of elasticity, they are easy to break.
Braid is another classic hook link material that many anglers are returning to now. I’ve been a massive braid fan for a number of years. It’s strong, abrasion resistant, knots well and can present a bait over any type of bottom.
My personal all time favourite braid is Kryston’s Super Nova in 25lbs.
Yes, it’s been around for ages and for good reason: it’s just a great material.
It has never let me down while carp fishing!
Why does braid work?
Braided rigs are very flexible, offering virtually no resistance to the carp that picks up the braid. They also allow the hook and bait to separate properly and this results in great hook holds in the middle of the bottom lip.
How to stop the tangles
Braid is more likely to tangle when casting. You have to stop the forward travel of the lead in flight before it hits the water. A few nuggets of PVA, a 3 bait stringer or small mesh bag will help to stop tangles if you don’t land the rig correctly.
Note: Don’t worry about all this nonsense about keeping the bait away from the lead. Just put a few blobs of putty on a 10″ rig and drop it in by holding the bait i.e. lead first.
Coated braid hooklink
According to the carp fishing press, unless you’re using some sort of coated braid you’re obviously some kind of noddy! I’ve used many types over the years and was never really happy with any of them. The other reason why is don’t fish with coated braid is because everyone uses them!
I stopped using coated braid for most of my carp fishing 5 years ago.
My results improved and I never looked back!
The only one I ever really use is Kryston’s Snake Bite. The coating is strippable with your teeth but not so soft as to be totally useless!
Why use coated braids
I use them occasionally when fishing at maximum range to avoid any possible tangle.
However, I find the hook holds change from the bottom lip to the scissors and they just aren’t as secure.
Why I don’t like them
The coatings are either too hard or too easy to remove. Every stripper tool I’ve used either doesn’t work or damages the braid so I end up damaging my teeth! I also don’t like the way coated braid curls up off the bottom.
Note: If you want to check if your coated braid curls off, you can tie one up and then drop it in a bucket with plenty of water. I’ve always found that they curl up off the bottom as they aren’t stiff enough to push the bait away from the lead like they should.
Fluorocarbon hook links have been around for a while now and certainly offer some different properties. They are much heavier than any mono, braid or coated braid you can think of with a specific gravity of 1.7 and virtually invisible in water.
My favourite fluorocarbon hook link is Korda’s IQ2 in 25lbs
The use of fluorocarbon hook links can be extended by combining them with another material. The Albright knot is a great one to get the hang of as it enables you to successfully join soft braid to stiffer material such as fluorocarbon.
Why use fluorocarbon hooklink
- They are much stiffer than most other materials.
- They respond well to steaming.
- They are quite abrasion resistant.
When to use fluorocarbon
Used on their own, they are a good choice for stiff rigs especially when you mount the bait on a sliding D, it’s very effective and very anti tangle. They are a good choice when fishing at range because it’s harder for them to become tangled. I have used them successfully in combination with a soft braid.
In extreme conditions, you may need to use very heavy hook link materials when fishing for carp. I encounter such conditions every time I visit my local river, the Mayenne. It’s not massive by French standards but there are plenty of underwater obstacles that are covered in zebra mussels that are very efficient at cutting through most materials.
I put my faith in Kryston and use the 45lb Quicksilver for catfish.
I also use it when carp fishing on the river.
It’s never let me down.
When to use a leader as hooklink
When fishing on the river, I use a material that was originally designed as a snag leader for the hook link itself.
I’ve been cut off while using everything else but since I changed to this for the hook link and the leader, I’ve had no problems.
When to use a leader as hooklink
The other time you may need to use a heavier hook link is when targeting catfish. Catfish don’t have teeth as such but they do have abrasive pads that can destroy normal 25lb hook links relatively easily (it depends where you hook them of course).
Stiff rig chod filament
I’m really not a fan of the traditional chod rig. The carp I fish for find it easy to get away with it, and the hook to land ratio is very poor. I have caught a number of carp using the reverse combi rig setup though and this really does trip them up! Basically it’s a chod rig connected to a length of 25lb braid using the Albright knot (I use 8″).
They are fiddly to tie but if you like that sort of thing then they definitely work. I’d definitely use the reverse combi rig over heavy chod or deep silt but they can work on bang hard spots too. I like to keep my carp fishing quite simple though and rarely find myself feeling the need to get this technical.
Well I hope that this guide gives you some insight into the different hook link materials and in what situations to use them.
At the end of the day, carp fishing is quite simple, it’s us, the anglers, that make it too complicated!
Every year I catch countless carp on a simple braided rig and that’s why it’s my number one choice unless I’m tackling the wilds of the river Mayenne. It’s far better to learn to properly tie one simple rig than worry about impressing your mates with your latest wonder rig! I’m still staggered when I see visitors to the venue that are incorrectly tying the knotless knot (the hook link must exit the eye on the point side of the eye i.e. the front of the hook otherwise it will turn away from the carp lip not towards!)
A simple braided rig and a hand sharpened hook will catch any carp that swims so all you have to do is find them, feed up and then catch them!
All the best with your carp fishing, Matt.