With thanks to Adam Royter.
Chemically sharpened hooks are great. They've revolutionised the hook industry and we catch more fish because of them. From the smallest size 28 up to 10/0, you can rely on some of the worlds greatest hook manufactures to deliver to your vice or indeed, pre-wrapped flies, a hook that is ready to rock straight out of the box!
You tie it on - and make your cast and on the cast you hit a rock or a fence post behind you. What should you do? Do what 95% of other fly anglers do? Keep casting and fishing till you get what you came for? Wrong!
That wonderfully sharp hook that you bought is now not ever remotely sharp. Its as good as a paper clip! Sure, it'll stick in your finger but a ball point pen will stick into your finger if you push hard enough, your hook point is only ever sharp if you hit nothing with it until you pull it tight into a fish. A slightly rounded point will reduce the efficiency of a hook to penetrate past the barb by up to 70% - generally resulting in a lost fish at some stage in the fight.
How do you check if your hook is sharp? Stick it into your thumb nail. If it slides and makes a white line then its blunt. If it sticks straight in and doesn't move, you're good to fish.
But don't throw away that fly just because the most important thing about it is blunt. Go and get yourself a small file. Not one from the tool shop, from a tackle store! Diamond laps, ceramics, sand stones, you can take your pick. It takes less then 10 seconds to put back a top notch point on a hook and it will take you at least 5 minutes to retie a fly.
Do yourself a favour, get a file and start catching more fish!