Over the last few months we have been testing and using the new Xpert end tackle range and we're delighted with the results.
The hooks, in particular, are the result of endless research and rigorous testing. In the Korum Seamless hook range, we had three patterns that were quite popular. The S3 was by far and away our flagship hook and the pattern is loved all over the world. The lighter gauged S4 was also well received, but it was always felt that a more general pattern was needed for such a light, finesse hook - something with a straight point and more generic shape.
The S5, meanwhile, was our tough, rugged shape that was based on popular barbel fishing patterns. It had a thick wire and subsequently, the sharpness suffered. It seemed anglers preferred other patterns with a less curved shank, so it was something we wanted to tackle. As modern fishing evolves, so must the tackle we provided, and we decided to take the opportunity to revise and improve the hook patterns, as well as their strength and sharpness.
After over two-years of searching, we eventually found what we were looking for and devised three patterns based around the most popular specimen fishing patterns for coarse fishing. We kept the beaked point, wide gape shape of the S3 and this is the Xpert Power hook, which comes in orange (barbed) and red (barbless) packets. Each hook has been chemically sharpened and treated to a special coating that gives a dull black finish. Perfect for wary fish!
The shape lends itself perfectly to river fishing as the beaked point lasts much longer than a straight point. We haven't sacrificed any sharpness, though, and the Power goes in and stays in! Whilst river fishing the Power has extracted big barbel from the weediest and snaggiest of swims, without problem. The Power is slightly oversized through the size range (6-16) and we've kept the same wire gauge as on the S3. Power by name, and Power by nature - they're hooks that will serve you well wherever you're fishing and whatever you're fishing for.
The next hook was a totally new shape and based on what it seemed most anglers were preferring for their 'big-fish' fishing. Whether it be barbel, tench, bream or carp, the Xpert Specimen pattern is primarily designed as a hair rig hook, perfect with braids or monofilaments.
With a super strong, straight point and slight inturned eye, it's a short shank hook with massive hooking potential. The Specimen comes in olive green (barbed) and bright green (barbless) packets, in sizes 6-16. They've got a beefed up wire-gauge compared to similar hooks and incredibly sharp points. Myself and a few of the Avid Carp lads have used this hook for carp fishing on very weedy venues and I've been amazed at the strength of this hook. A superb hook for a multitude of purposes and presentations.
Finally, the missing hook in the jigsaw was an all-round pattern that would be most effective when tied directly to the end of the line or hooklink. With the Power and Specimen hooks covering the majority of hair-rigging needs, a hook for side-hooking baits was required. Something for bread, maggot, caster and worm fishing that was still strong, but more refined.
The Xpert Specialist was born and with its straight eye, straight point and medium shank, it's the ultimate all-round pattern. We have not used an offset point as this can make a hook too springy and flexible, and we've used slightly undersized sizing to give anglers more options across the range. The size 16, for example, is now perfect for single maggots, casters or bread punch.
They're arguably the perfect pattern when fishing Helicopter Bolt Rigs, Duncan Charman style, and there's already a buzz in the speci-world about this pattern for that very application.
The straight eye also means hair-rigs with mono offer a less aggressive angle from the eye, and as the Specialist comes in sizes 6-16 there's a hook for all occasions.
They come in purple (barbed) and blue (barbless) packets, and like all Xpert hooks, the small price tag means you can always keep a plentiful supply. Available late July at £1.25 per packet.