Fishing Tackle – Corrosion
If you fish in salt waters, we recommend using a solvent to remove the salt from the hooks before drying and storage.
Once corrosion has set in, repair becomes an expensive option that just doesn’t make sense.
What is Corrosion?
Corrosion occurs when metals disintegrate through an unintentional chemical or electro chemical action that starts on the surface. The process of corroding is known as oxidation and all metals exhibit a tendency to be oxidized at varying degrees.
The driving force of corrosion is a natural process of an element’s temporary existence in metallic form. To reach this metallic state, the elements absorb and store up energy.
The difference in energy between metals and their ores is expressed in electrical terms. Knowing how metals corrode helps to determine the proper means of storage, usage and plating technologies that can defer corrosion or protect against it.
We’ve reviewed general, pitting, crevice, alloy failure and galvanic corrosion types. We’ll also recommend which type or metals are better for fishing tackle, how they should be stored and the environments that should be avoided.
General or uniform corrosion is the rusting of steel, tarnishing of silver or the greening of copper and is easily predictable.
The life of metal components is estimated based on immersion tests and found in metallurgy books. Unprotected metals like iron are easily corroded without protection, showing results within an hour. While strong, unprotected iron rapidly deteriorates in a moist environment.
Common methods to reduce or prevent this type of corrosion include
- the use of coatings
- the process of cathodic protection
- proper material selection
Pitting is a localised corrosion form and is identified by the formation of holes or pits on the metal’s surface. The degree of penetration may be much greater than indicated by the small pit on the surface and a few small pits can result in the failure of the metal hook or other fishing tackle.
Pits may be hard to detect as it can also be present with general corrosion.
To reduce the effects of pitting avoid a high moisture environment with unprotected metals and use pitting resistant materials.
Crevice corrosion is a localized attack that appears at openings or spaces between two metal surfaces or between a metal and non-metal surface.
Now for the techno-babble … the depletion of oxygen in the crevice creates a differential aeration between the crevice and the external surface giving the crevice an anodic character. This will contribute to a corrosive condition in the crevice. Ok, enough of that, examples of crevice corrosion include flanges, deposits and lap joints.
3 ways to reduce the effects of crevice corrosion
- eliminate the crevice from the design
- select materials resistant to crevice corrosion
- reduce the aggressiveness of the environment
Alloy failure occurs after the removal of one element from an alloy by the corrosion processes. Essentially, the alloy fails by being peeled away or dissolved.
Hook corrosion varies depending on the hook material and whether you’re fishing in fresh water, salt water or a combination of both environments.
Treated hooks or plated hooks will survive longer and saltwater hooks have a shorter life than freshwater.
Location, location, location … it’s a common statement made in business and it applies here. Fishing is not about putting a hook in the water with a worm tied around it. It’s all about balance and choosing the right tackle. Part of deciding the right tackle is knowing the fishing locale.
Hook platings are essential for saltwater conditions in order to increase the life of the hook and unprotected leaders. An unprotected hook will not last long in salt water. It’ll become ruined long before it fails due to rusting.
- In fresh water, plating is primarily used to get the attention of fish.
Alloys are metals made from various metal elements in liquid form and then cooled and possibly heat treated to harden them and make stronger.
Often alloys are stronger and more durable than any of its constituent elements.
Nickel-based hooks offer the best protection against corrosion especially in salt water. Common nickel alloys include duranickel, inconel and Z-Nickel.
Like many plated hooks, Nickel alloy hooks are very expensive compared to standard hooks and they’re considerably heavier too.
Galvanic corrosion refers to corrosion created when two different materials are joined in a corrosive substance.
Essentially, one of the metals corrodes faster than it would by itself while the other corrodes slower than it would alone. Galvanic corrosion occurs when electro chemically dissimilar metals are present, the metals are in electrical contact and the metals are exposed to an electrolyte substance.
Galvanic corrosion is a result of poor planning in the design or acceptance of a limited life.
Creating a strong, stainless steel hook that’s not brittle has been difficult. While these issues have been fixed, stay away from low-priced stainless steel hooks that haven’t resolved these issues, or have not employed all the technologies to create a strong and brittle-free hook.
Like nickel, they’re highly recommended in saltwater conditions. Due to their cost and weight they’re not a requirement for freshwater.
Cadmium Plated Hooks
Cadmium is plated onto steel for its protective qualities and is then plated with tin. Tin is required because it’s weak and also must be protected. However, due to its toxic nature to those that work with the metals, there is mounting pressure to ban it from hook development.
Tin hooks are inexpensive and are designed for saltwater and brackish environments and are preferred by many over the cadmium, stainless steel and nickel hooks due mainly to the cost.
This is another plating designed for harsh saltwater conditions. These hooks reduce the corrosive effects, but don’t eliminate them. When they do corrode, they leave behind a grey dust, which is know as white rust.
Gold Plated Hooks
Gold doesn’t prevent metals from corrosion as it’s a very porous and soft metal.
Gold is used to plate hooks because it’s believed it attracts fish due to its shine. Due to its cost, there are rarely more than a few layers of gold coating.
Good gold plated hooks are also placed on top of hooks that already have a plated surface.
Stay away from cheaply made gold plated hooks. They often have a single layer of plating and some don’t even have a protective layer against the steel body.
Bronzed Plated Hooks
Bronze hooks provide good protection against corrosion of the underlying hook material.
Following the corrosion prevention outlined means your tackle will last longer and save you money in the long run.