Used & Abused: GURU | Special Feeder Hooks

I’m a bit of a nightmare when it comes to hooks. I tend to tie up a ridiculous amount and loads of variations – I’m not the sort of guy that can just tie up just a few before a match and be done with it. I need to feel like I’m in a permanent state of readiness for absolutely any kind of match that tickles my fancy. This is great in that I can choose to fish a match at the drop of a hat, but a nightmare if I change my mind about a hook! This means that once I’ve found a hook pattern, I tend to stick with it and it really does take something special to turn my head.

I very much thought I had a pattern for life with my old favourite bream hook. Not only was it fantastic on the open-ended feeder but I also used it for a lot of my natural water pole fishing for quality roach and skimmers. That was until I tried using it for roach and hybrids on the feeder…

Skimmers and bream are quite a slow-biting methodical fish with soft mouths. This means hitting bites isn’t usually a problem and as long as your setup and feeding is right, you don’t bump many either. Hybrids and roach are different as hitting bites from them can be a pain at times.

On the pole your fishing is very direct, but with a feeder, particularly with a long tail, you may not be in direct contact with the fish straightaway. Of course, you strike directly into the feeder, but the fish could be off at an angle and not directly behind the feeder. For this reason, I think a really sharp hook is probably more important for the feeder than it is for any other method!

The hook I was using was definitely sharp enough, as during my practice sessions I hit every bite from the quality roach and hybrids after putting on a fresh hook. The trouble was, after two or three fish, I just seemed to bump every one! I kept trying over and over but just couldn’t get my hook to stay sharp enough to catch longer than just a few fish! Every hook still looked and felt sharp and would still scratch into my fingernail (a very old hook testing trick) but it just wasn’t quite enough to keep catching. This really highlighted to me how soft the mouths are on bream and skimmers, as I simply did not have a problem when catching them!

In desperation, I tried one of the new Guru Special Feeder hooks (also known as the LWGB). I had already bought a packet to take a look at and had discounted them as being so very similar to so many other patterns on the market that I had used before, but with a problem to solve I just had to try something! Well, the difference was incredible! I still felt that to hit every bite I did need to keep changing my hook, but once every couple of hours was loads better than every 10 minutes!

Since the hooks were so sharp, I felt I had to be using them for other things as well and after going out and buying a load I then started using them for bream too, and they then slowly crept into my pole hooklength boxes as well! Two years on and they have become my go-to feeder hook and my first choice for bigger skimmers and heavy-duty roach fishing where a size 16 sees most use.

Throughout the summer I do a lot of bream fishing and after always reaching for a size 14, I don’t tend to mess around these days and nearly always go for a size 12 whether the hook bait be worms or three live or dead maggots. With softer mouthed bream, the same hook will generally last all day even when catching in excess of 100lb and big fish of up to 8lb. For smaller skimmers, I try to use a 14 if I can as I think a big hook is more difficult for them to deal with once they realise they have made a mistake and taken a baited hook. If smaller baits like double maggot or double pinkie are needed, I will happily drop to a 16 and know I will lose very few fish. An 18 is actually the smallest size I use in this pattern as I think the inturned point on them results in the fish only just being nicked and a few start to come off. The 18 though, is still good enough for big fish and I’ve nailed many a big bream on the pole from under bushes on the far bank of the Grand Union Canal. I had weights there up to 40lb last year, mostly on an 18, and I can only remember losing one fish!

So where are the limitations of this hook? Well, I think it is a bit too thick in the wire for smaller skimmers on the pole, but once the fish get over 1lb and I’ve stepped up to a No6 elastic, the hook is perfect. Feeder fishing requires stronger hooks than the pole so I tend to use them for all skimmer fishing but step down to something with a finer wire when fishing for roach or tiny hand sized swingable skimmers. At the other end of the scale, I have used them on rivers for bream, but if there is a chance of bigger fish like barbel or chub, I tend to reach for something stronger. The other limitation of course is that it is barbed, so can only be used on natural waters. If however, you want a good barbless feeder hook, take a look at the Guru Super LWG, which is so similar in shape and wire thickness that it is almost a PTFE treated version of the Special Feeder and is another hook that I use quite a bit.

Verdict: A super-sharp, mega-reliable barbed hook for better sized roach and skimmers on natural waters that I would simply be lost without!

RRP: £1.50 per pack of 10