The Evolution of Hook Keepers in Rod Building

A Rod Builder’s who’s who for hook keepers, this review covers the development of different hook keepers alongside the evolution of rod building, and the functional advantages of today’s most popular models.

The Purpose of Hook Keepers

Although the purpose of the hook keeper seems limited to its namesake, this small fishing rod accessory can have many practical benefits besides just maintaining the hook’s pointy end. Varying in design as well as benefits, hook keepers were invented alongside the evolution of fishing practices and rod building to satisfy the needs of anglers.

Hook keepers are common fixtures on all sorts of fishing rods. Although these small components are often overlooked, choosing the right hook keeper can boost your custom fishing rod and its performance with many unique benefits. Hook keepers obviously house the hook itself, but each design is also intended to preserve rod guides as well as their fragile ceramic insert rings.

Lazy anglers often put their hook away by pulling the bait and hook down then resting the hook on their initial stripping guide. Then they tighten the line to remove any slack. We don’t recommend this method for two reasons. First, always take slack from the reel when prepping your hook for transportation, and never prepare by pulling the bait. Pulling the bait is an easy way to break your rod, and replacing tip-tops is a completely different blog.

Second of all, the hook’s tension and resulting friction against the guide’s frame or its ceramic insert ring will cause severe reductions in both their strength and performance. Preserve these high-performance components by simply adding a hook keeper to your custom rod. When it comes to hook keepers and their improvements, these is just the tip of the hook because many designs and their benefits follow below.

Whether developed out of necessity, alongside a technique, or as an engineering advancement, hook keepers are a minor cost and construction for major benefits on any custom fishing rod.

Standard Hook Keeper

Widely considered the standard, this stainless-steel hook keeper is a common choice for its basic benefits. To start, its double footed design ensures a sturdy mount on the rod blank that you can trust to maintain the hook until its next use. As previously mentioned, these Standard Hook Keepers hold the hook to in turn help preserve the integrity of rod guides and their ceramic insert rings.

Standard Hook Keeper Chrome

The stainless-steel Standard Hook Keeper works great, not to mention it looks really cool in chrome.

Standard Hook Keepers come in either a small size, standing only 1/5 of an inch from the blank, or in a large size that stands just ¼ of an inch off the rod blank. Available in black, gold, chrome, TiChrome, and TiGold, these Standard Hook Keepers are custom components that can look as good as they perform.

Single Foot Hook Keepers

Although the standard design satisfied some anglers, many wanted more from their hook keepers. The response became the Single Foot Hook Keeper because it’s much easier to mount and just as competent in strength. Capable of preserving the guides and ceramic insert rings as well as maintaining the hook, this hook keeper’s benefits keep on coming.

Single Foot Hook Keeper

Single Foot Hook Keepers are great for fast and easy hook storage.

Mounted by wrapping only the top foot, the Single Foot Hook Keeper then relies on the bottom portion as a clip-like mechanism to snap the hook in place. As simple as sliding the hook underneath the clip, this hook keeper grew in popularity for being a fast and easy solution to storing the hook while moving between fishing spots.

After snapping and securing the hook in place under the Single Foot Hook Keeper, its design keeps the hook and bait suspended away from the rod blank. This construction works to prevent both the hook and bait from scratching or damaging the blank’s surface.

Mounted Single Foot Hook Keeper

Easily mount the Single Foot Hook Keeper by wrapping and finishing the top foot onto the rod blank.

Available in colors like black, stainless, and TiGold, Single Foot Hook Keepers look great, but perform even better.

Fuji Folding Hook Keeper

Originally designed for fly fishing rods, the Fuji Folding Hook Keeper protected dry fly hackles from damage, but now it has been adapted to suit all fishing applications. Fuji’s new Folding Hook Keepers are manufactured with a thicker wire and bigger body to satisfy every angler’s needs in any fishing application.

Fuji Folding Hook Keeper

The Fuji Folding Hook Keeper started in fly fishing, but is now engineered for all fishing applications.

In addition to housing the hook and preserving rod guides, the Fuji Folding Hook Keeper also collapses onto itself when not in use. Folding back on top of itself allows the streamlined Fuji Folding Hook Keeper to be virtually unnoticed as it lies flush with the rest of the rod blank. These advanced hook keepers provide a highly functional design that looks awesome in either black plated chrome or silver non-plated chrome.

Drop Shot Hook Keeper

Known for developing along with the drop shot technique, the Drop Shot Hook Keeper looks nothing like the standard model mostly because it has a very different origin. The drop shot technique was born in Japan, but once it came stateside, this style of fishing added a unique hook keeper to match.

Drop Shot Hook Keeper

An awesome design with unique benefits, Drop Shot Hook Keeper are incredibly helpful on any custom fishing rod.

Despite originating as a Drop Shot Hook Keeper, this open hook hanger design became incredibly popular for its quick and convenient hook storage. The Drop Shot Hook Keeper is great for housing the hook and the bait without dulling or damaging either one. Now these hook keepers are known for not only protecting the hook, guides, and ceramic rings, but especially for preserving baits.

Perfect for Texas rigs, the Drop Shot Hook Keeper allows anglers hook up their lures and move from spot to spot without damaging, removing, and replacing plastic lures. Pushing the hook through your worms on a standard style hook keeper severely reduces the lifespan of that plastic lure, but the Drop Shot Hook Keeper houses both the hook and the worm without interfering the rig to keep lures intact longer.

Mounted Drop Shot Hook Keeper

Small and subtle, the Drop Shot Hook Keeper helps keep rigs intact whether you’re moving fishing spots or just packing up your gear.

Available in black or silver, the stainless-steel Drop Shot Hook Keeper is an awesome option perfect for preserving your resources whether guides and ceramic rings, or hooks and plastic lures.

If you build a lot of rods or want a variety at your will, check out the Hook Keeper Assortment Kit. This kit features 35 variations of standard and drop shot hook keepers in chrome, black, and gold, all organized in a divided storage case.

The Hook Keeper Assortment Kit is perfect if you're an avid rod builder or just want a variety of styles to work with.

The Hook Keeper Assortment Kit is perfect if you’re an avid rod builder or just want a variety of styles to work with.

Pick Your Hook Keeper

Evident in the benefits brought by each hook keeper, the right design will go a long way to protect your equipment and enhance your experience. Whether moving fishing spots to increase your odds or just packing up your gear for a weekend fishing trip, make sure you have the best hook keeper to help you where it matters.

As always, don’t forget to visit Mud Hole for all your rod building resources!