Gamakatsu, History of the World’s Best Fish HooksDave Rush
The world’s oldest fish hooks made from sea snail shells were discovered in Sakitari Cave in Okinawa Island around 20,000 years ago. The invention of the fish hook marked the beginning of sport fishing. All of these early fish hooks were made from wood or bones and were advancements of the gorge. As technology improved so did the hooks, with Europe and Japan creating the earliest hooks and leading the advancements in hooks throughout the years. In the 1900s new materials and manufacturing techniques resulted in the development of more styles of hooks and designs for a wider range of fishing techniques.
Gamakatsu started producing fish hooks in 1955. At that time, they were the smallest hook manufacturer in Japan, and their hooks were made by hand. In 1963 they introduced a new automated heating facility which catapulted them to the forefront of the Japanese market. This new technology allowed Gamakatsu to make better hooks more quickly, giving them a competitive advantage in the Japanese market. In 1974 they introduced fully automated hook making machines, creating a necessity to build a second factory in order to meet the demand they had created. By 1976, being well established as the leading Japanese hook manufacturer, Gamakatsu started building a new factory to produce high quality fishing rods for the Japanese market.
After upgrading the hook manufacturing machines again in 1986, Gamakatsu also expanded their product line. As a result, Gamakatsu Co. Ltd became a major manufacturer with a full line of high-quality fishing rods, hooks, apparel, and fishing related items. At the center of the quality of Gamakatsu hooks is high carbon steel designed specifically for the manufacturing of fish hooks.
This material not only contains a higher percentage of carbon, but also has fewer impurities. As a result, Gamakatsu has earned the trust of anglers worldwide. That trust has allowed them to expand the Gamakatsu brand name to become a world leader in several product categories.
In 1988, after upgrading the automated tempering facilities and expanding the hook factory, Gamakatsu Co. Ltd opened Gamakatsu International Co., Ltd. in Thailand, and Gamakatsu Shantou Co. Ltd. in China in 1989. These upgrades and new facilities continued the growth of the Gamakatsu brand in Japan and positioned them well for expansion to the rest of the world. The unique electronic tempering process enables Gamakatsu hooks to be tempered at a stable condition. As a result, Gamakatsu is able to manufacture consistently high quality, extremely sharp hooks in large quantities.
Gamakatsu has introduced five key innovations making their products sought out by anglers around the world, including:
- Color variation
- Style variation
Gamakatsu utilizes a unique tempering process allowing them to make a hook of superior strength and durability. The use of high carbon steel provided Gamakatsu hooks with high strength with a smaller wire, making their hooks desirable for all anglers. Sharpness is one of the most important factors in hook performance and Gamakatsu designed a superior conically needle honed point that are always sharp. Gamakatsu introduced colored hooks to match any lure or bait. Finally, Gamakatsu conducts continuous research to develop new styles of hooks to land more fish. A top example of style innovation is the extra wide gap (EWG) that hooks and holds fish better.
In 1992, the Gamakatsu brand entered America with the establishment of Gamakatsu USA Inc. in Tacoma, Washington to distribute Gamakatsu branded hooks to the U.S. market. American anglers were quickly exposed to the innovative and high-quality hooks making them the choice of top anglers across the country. When anglers purchase Gamakatsu hooks, they are buying an original product made by Gamakatsu, the leading fish hook manufacturer in Japan. They are constantly testing new materials trying to improve their product, which already sets the standard for the rest of the industry. Entering the 2000s, Gamakatsu continued to launch new products and expand the reach of the brand across the country. Today, Gamakatsu is know from coast to coast, border to border, as the first choice for anglers looking for the finest fish hooks.
Since 1955, Gamakatsu has strictly stuck to the theme of “Nature and Technology”. They work hard to develop new, hi-tech products that benefit outdoorsman without adversely affecting the environment. Gamakatsu’s policy of technical development has always been “the best of quality”. They are always searching for new ways to make existing products better in addition to constantly looking for unique products which are not yet available. They believe that only this attitude can give the customers the best they deserve!
With offices located around the world, Gamakatsu is able to research all markets and develop unique products that meet the needs of even the most demanding angler, anywhere in the world. The innovation also continues into other categories as Gamakatsu expands their product offering to include terminal products, gear, accessories, tackle boxes and tools.