10 of the best coated hooklinks for carp

10 of the best coated hooklinks for carp

We've rounded up the best coated carp hooklinks on the market and got tackle editor Marc Coulson to run his analytical eye over them.

There's something for everyone in this detailed group review. 

FOX CORETEX TUNGSTEN

RRP: £16.00 (20m)
Colours: Grey
Breaking strains: 20lb & 35lb
www.foxtint.com

In short: “The latest in a line of great Fox hooklinks.”

FOX CORETEX TUNGSTEN.jpg

Launched as 2017 drew to a close, this is the newest of the featured coated braids and adds to a recent trend towards tungsten-impregnated hooklinks.

As such, it sinks extremely quickly, but it is a little more wiry than many traditional versions.

That said, this is a theme with some tungsten materials and is certainly not unique to Coretex.

Once run through a little steam it becomes supple enough to easily work with but, and this is what I really like, it can be straightened and then sets as stiff as any coated link you’re likely to use.

This makes for as close to a genuine combi link as a coated braid will realistically allow. In my mind, that’s the biggest advantage of such materials.

GARDNER STIFF ULTRA SKIN

RRP: £14.99
Colours: Green, brown and silt
Breaking strains: 20lb
www.gardnertackle.co.uk

In short: “Nice and stiff – definitely one of my favourites.”

GARDNER ULTRA SKIN.jpg

Ultra Skin has been around some time now and has curried favour with many anglers of all abilities with its combination of stealthy colours and an easy-to-use nature.

This newer version, which is significantly stiffer, is far more to my personal liking and can be used to create a genuine stiff boom or combi-link.

It definitely benefits from a run through some steam to help straighten it and then, as it cools, it stiffens up perfectly.

As you’d expect from such a stiff material, the coating takes a little effort to strip, but that’s testament to its strength and also means it never shears when tightening down knots and loops.

Finally, and almost certainly irrelevantly, the coating has a lovely feel to it and I particularly like the brown version.

KORDA KAMO

RRP: £13.99 (20m)
Colour: Two tone
Breaking strains: 15lb, 20lb and 30lb
www.korda.co.uk

In short: “Unique coating that is stealthy in most conditions.”

KORDA KAMO.jpg

The colour of your hooklink is, in my opinion, almost irrelevant in all but the most extreme conditions, but importantly if you can break up the lines they create you can hide your link more effectively.

Korda’s Kamo does exactly that as the two-tone camo outer is banded to subtly change from a sandy colour to something a little darker and then back again every couple of inches.

On the spool and in hand this looks pretty decent, but it’s when you tie a rig and lay it on the bottom that you really see (or don’t see) the effect.

The two stiffer breaking strains are easy to use and reliable, but I did have a slight issue with the 15lb whereby the coating broke a couple of times when tightening down loop knots.

I have to say, though, I personally don’t use coated hook links in such a low breaking strain and the heavier two were absolutely fine.

NASH COMBI LINK

RRP: £12.79 (20m)
Colours: Weed, Gravel and Silt
Breaking strains: 15lb, 20lb, 25lb and 35lb
www.nashtackle.co.uk

In short: “Ideal stiffness for a multitude of rigs.”

NASH COMBI LINK.jpg

Similarly to one or two others this is listed as ‘semi-stiff’ which I first thought sounded a little like being neither one thing nor the other, but in actual fact this is a positive.

Although, like most coated braids, a proper stiff combi link isn’t viable, it does retain a significant element of stiffness which is extremely efficient in avoiding tangles and presenting effectively, especially with a slow-sinking pop-up.

With a heavier bait it can loop up a little off the lakebed, but then so does every other hooklink in this list and, indeed, on the market.

If anybody tells you that theirs does otherwise they’re telling you a porky pie!

My favourite is undoubtedly the 35lb version, which is extremely user friendly, strips easily and is very manageable straight off the spool.

As I’ve said elsewhere I don’t lay too much importance on colour but I bet the gravel version in this is to lots of anglers’ liking.

THINKING ANGLERS TUNGSKIN

RRP: £14.99 (10m)
Colours: Dark grey
Breaking strains: 15lb, 25lb and 35lb
www.thinkinganglers.co.uk

In short: “Hugely impressive, near faultless but seriously expensive.”

IMG_5417 copy.jpg

“Give it a quick steam, mate, and you’ll be very impressed,” beamed Thinking Anglers’ Ben Hamilton when I first got a spool of Tungskin, the first of the tungsten-impregnated hooklinks to hit the market.

Ben was right and this one has proved a great performer. Although supple, the coating behaves impeccably and is, in fact, the toughest of the three tungsten versions here to strip away, but this is a huge benefit as there’s no way it is going to let you down, especially when tightening down knots and loops.

It’s comfortably the easiest of the tungsten versions to use straight from the spool and in most instances you don’t even need steam at all.

The dull coating is extremely stealthy and works well on a multitude of lakebeds. The 15lb is a little too supple for me, whereas the 25lb is brilliant for creating anti-tangle rigs that hug the lakebed and I’d love to get my hands on some of the 35lb to see what that’s like.

The only negative is that there are only 10 metres of Tungskin per spool, making it twice as expensive as most on our list!

KRYSTON JACKAL

RRP: £13.49 (20m)
Colours: Green, dark and brown
Breaking strains: 20lb and 30lb
www.kryston.com

In short: “Thin diameter and extremely strong.”

KRYSTON JACKAL.jpg

It would be remiss to run a review on coated braids and not include one from the original pioneers of these hooklink materials.

Ever since the very first version, Snakebite, Kryston has manufactured a range of coated braids that have accounted for more carp than any other.

Jackal’s strength lies in exactly that, its strength, being made from super-strong Spectra resulting in an exceptionally fine diameter for each of its breaking strains.

The downside to this is that it’s quite wiry off the spool. This may in part be due to the diameter of the spool itself, which is noticeably small.

Jackal’s coating is tough and knots extremely well, won’t tangle and the three colour options will appeal to many.

ESP TUNGSTEN LOADED

RRP: £8.95 (10m)
Colours: Choddy silt; weedy green and camo brown
Breaking strains: 20lb
www.esp-carpgear.co.uk

In short: “The hooklink of choice for Terry Hearn – nuff said.”

ESP TUNGSTEN LOADED.jpg

Although only available in 20lb breaking strain, ESP has created two versions of this tungsten-impregnated hooklink, namely Soft and Semi Stiff.

My favourite is the Semi Stiff which is sublime to use, offers a mid stiffness as the name suggests and just so happens to be rated as “the best coated hooklink I have ever used,” by none other than Terry Hearn.

I make no bones about being of a certain carp-fishing generation who grew up with Terry’s writings and marveled at his captures and, having spoken to him personally (not just accepting marketing hype), I know that Tel genuinely uses and rates it.

It’s not difficult to see why: it peels off the spool without any wiriness, is easy to work with, knots well and strips with just the right amount of effort.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I am not driven by the colour of a hooklink and would gladly use any of the three, but many of you reading this will no doubt have a preference.

The price looks exceptional, but bear in mind the spools hold only 10 metres so it sits between the Fox and Thinking Anglers tungsten links in terms of value.

AVID CARP CAPTIVE

RRP: £14.99 (20m)
Colours: Brown, sand/clay and weedy green
Breaking strains: 15lb, 25lb and 35lb
www.avidcarp.com

In short: “Versatile and very easy to work with.”

AVID CAPTIVE.jpg

Captive’s matt coating has a unique, almost rough feel to it and as such is unique in this respect.

It’s very easy to strip but despite this I found it reliable on knots and it rarely fractured, even when testing it without moistening the knots before drawing tight.

Despite its claimed sinking properties I found this, and most of the others, to be of neutral buoyancy and the only surefire way of it sinking hard is with the addition of some putty.

Like I said, this is not unique to this link, and is actually the case with all bar a small number, and you may actually consider this an advantage in some situations.

All three colours look the part and I think the Sand/Clay version is probably the most popular given that so many carp anglers seem to opt for a light brownish hooklink where possible.

PROLOGIC GLADIO LINK

RRP: £12.99 (15m)
Colours: Brown
Breaking strains: 20lb and 30lb
www.prologic-fishing.com

In short: “A seriously tough cookie and the stiffest of our selection.”

PROLOGIC.jpg

Considerably more wiry than most others when coming off the spool, when Gladio Link is drawn through steam it transforms into a supple hooklink that is extremely easy to use and straighten.

It then cools and maintains its straightness and remains the stiffer side of medium, if you know what I mean.

Couple this with its slow-sinking nature and you have a hooklink that lends itself to a number of presentations.

The matt finish is, I hasten to say, carpy, but I would recommend the use of some kind of stripper tool to remove the coating, certainly on the 30lb version that I have tested.

Strangely, the inner braid is actually darker than the coating, which is a first in all my years of carp fishing – not that it really matters.

The diameter is also considerably thicker than some others, but herein lies the reason why it retains its stiffness and I think in this regards it offers something different to many coated braids.

PB PRODUCTS JELLY-WIRE

RRP: £13.99 (20m)
Colours: Gravel, silt, weed
Breaking strains: 15lb, 25lb and 35lb
www.pbproductsuk.co.uk

In short: “Potentially one of the best ever.”

PB PRODUCTS.jpg

A couple of firm pulls soon straightens out Jelly-Wire as you take it from the spool and, from there, you have an extremely workable hooklink that knots well and behaves impeccably.

The coating is probably the most robust of them all, with maybe the exception of the Gladio Link, but Jelly-Wire is far easier to strip.

This means that you can really tighten down knots and loops without any fear of the coating rupturing or letting you down.

None of these hooklinks is cheap so the last thing you need is to keep having to cut them up and re-tying them.

If there was one minor improvement it would be to make the coating a little more matt, as it does have a slight hint of shine to it off the spool. However, under water, even in tap-water tests, it soon dulled down.

Jelly-Wire has been around a very long time and continues to perform brilliantly, making it one of the most successful coated braids around, especially in Europe, but it’s gaining an increased following in the UK too, and rightly so.