Specialized Hookbaits Review

If you’re plugged into the Facebook networks you surely can’t fail to have seen the catches being made on the labour intensively hand produced hookbaits being made by Specialized. This is a little review and introduction from our good friend, underground Northern carper and long time user Matthew Sterry.

From their website ‘Specialized Hook Baits were formed in 2012, the business was started from a basis of hook baits we have made for our own angling over the past 10 years. We strongly believed there was nothing on the market we could buy to satisfy our very demanding needs for our own angling… so we made them for ourselves. Our whole ethos is to take you away from traditional bait making processes where products smell nice for you, but if you were to taste them in most cases they would taste of harsh chemicals…we have gone to great lengths to make the ultimate hook baits for our own angling; from low stock heritage waters, to busy day ticket lakes in the Winter, the result has been the same wherever they have been used. We use nothing from the fishing/pet food industry in our production, we mill every ingredient in our base mix ourselves. Every single item is human grade and taken from the human food chain. Every hook bait we supply is rolled by hand as our mixes have to be rolled this way due to their constitution. We add no binders, nothing to aid rolling, every single ingredient is used for one reason and one reason alone… taste. The attention to detail applied to each individual hook bait is immense’ 


‘I was first put onto SHB though a mate, and have to say the first thing that struck me was their colour, for once they weren’t flouro pink or day-glow white or bright yellow – which in itself was pleasantly refreshing! It is far more than that though, and actually everything about these hookbaits is totally built around attraction and taste and in fact all the attractors are human grade. The corkers come in 16mm, and some new 12mm’s are available as well. They floss on well or with a strong needle or a little drill you can mount them on a hair with little or no fuss… they easily pop up for the duration of my sessions which are usually about 24 hour but you can happily leave them out for 48 hours as they are made with high quality, high density cork balls and the mix isn’t breaking down on them… The other option in the range are little 12mm barrels which I personally like for a little rig I fish… they’re hard, firm but not like stones and don’t ‘crack’ when you pierce them, again I’d use a strong needle though…but no worries on them withstanding a big chuck.


There’s two option in the range, the S1 and S2…


S1  – as soon as I opened the tub and smelt them I threw one in my mouth and sucked on it like a gobstopper until all the spicy coating had come off, a rush of spicy flavours with a hot kick and a hint of salt had my taste buds gushing…if they weren’t quite so hot I would have thrown another straight in! These are the business I thought and I was interested to see how one went in a glass of water… Once in water they start… fizzing, bubbling, bits rising, bits falling, bits hovering… tap the pop up to imitate a fish in the swim  and all this intensifies and on the lake bed I imagine must be sending signals out over a decent sized area. Take a sip off the glass of water a few hours after one has been in there and you’ll immediately know what I mean…spot on I thought – especially for fishing singles!

I recommend meshing them if your planning on leaving them out for longer than a night as this stops the powdery coating breaking away as quickly but I wouldn’t worry about this if you’re only fishing short sessions, and in fact I’d say it would even maybe be counter productive to mesh them. One thing I would say, is that if you’re not meshing and tying them to a ring, make sure they on real tight so the floss actually pulls into the seal of the coating , then blob with a lighter to make sure it wont go anywhere.


S2  –  out of the pot they are nothing like the S1 in looks, texture or taste… these ones taste sweet, sticky toffee? almost caramel like? Stick one in your mouth for ten minutes and take it out and the after taste is just like you’ve had a really sweet dessert in a top restaurant! Their great for flossing too… the type of hookbait where the floss just nicks into and grips so you know its going no where. I really like the S2’s and actually caught one on them first time out doing an overnighter in December in silly cold conditions, that’s the North as well… I think it got down to about -6 and there was cat ice in the margin and it goes to show they are well prepared to have it if you can get on them, you just need something out there that will trigger their feeding senses just that little bit more… the ‘I am havin’ you’ syndrome and these certainly do the trick!


All in all I have been thoroughly impressed with the 2 sets of hookers and have been using them for a year or more now. I especially liked the attractive qualities of the S1 for the shorter sessions which is how I mainly fish but I’m also hearing that there are other products in the pipeline from the boys which I’ll certainly be having a look at. These boys have been around and catching big carp for a good while and have been and have been quietly keeping these hookbaits to themselves… Until now.


SHB are very active on Facebook and have regular updates, product news and capture reports, so check them out there as well as the website.



Follow them on Facebook for regular updates and captures SHB Facebook Page 


All the best and happy angling ..



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