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Topic: Stainless or not?, choosing hooks...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Capn Jimbo Offline
The Godfisher

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Posts: 1712
Joined: Jan. 2004
Posted: July 13 2006,20:12

Found an interesting thread elsewhere, where a poster cited a NY Sea Grant article which appeared to promote stainless in comparison to cadmium coatings (on the basis that cadmium is poisonous to fish).

Unfortunately the NYSG article based it's conclusion on unnamed mystery "scientific studies".  Further research revealed the following:

First from Mustad, reputedly the largest manufacturer of hooks in the world. Mustad's site lists common hook materials and coating.  In order of corrosion resistance*:

Stainless - 3%
Duratin - 8%
Double Nickel - 30%
Red Lacquer - 30%
Tin - 30%
Black Lacquer - 33%
Black Nickel- 40%
Bronzed Lacquer - 44%
Blue Lacquer - 50%
Nickel - 52%
Gold - 70%

* percentage found rusted after a given number of hours

Of course Mustad makes good quality hooks.  Many lures are supplied with tin or nickel coatings. There are very few, if any, cadmium plated hooks anymore.

Another excellent resource is the book "Hook, Line and Sinker" by Gary Soucie, a veritable and voluminous encyclopedia of minutia.  He states that...

1. cadmium-plated hooks are becoming rare due to worker safety and environmental rules.  They are not really an issue.

2. many lures are ordinary tinned or double-nickeled hooks, which last reasonably well (30%), yet will corrode sufficiently to improve fish survival.

3. ordinary nickel-plated (shiny) hooks (52%) are often found on cheaper lures and are terrible.  Although the nickel resists corrosion, it does so by increasing the rapid corrosion and rusting of the steel hook.

4. gold-plated hooks are even worse, and for the same reason.  They are usually cheep, thinly coated hooks that will rust alarmingly quickly.

I would add a couple thoughts:

5. I've never seen a true bronze hook, and the bronze lacquered hooks perform poorly (44%)

Bottom Line

Since cadmium hooks are rarely found, the NY Sea Grant conclusion is relatively meaningless. Most lures use tin, double nickel and more recently red lacquer finish.  All of these fall in the 30% range which is a reasonable compromise.  

Avoid hooks at either extreme, including stainless, duratin, bronzed and blue lacquer, common nickel (bright hooks) and gold-plated. Cadmium should be avoided at all costs, even if you can find them.


Edited by Capn Jimbo on July 13 2006,20:12

Tight lines,
Capn Jimbo

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