A quick chemistry lesson teaches us that rust forms on hooks as the result of the corroding steel after the iron particles in the steel have been exposed to oxygen and moisture.
Oxygen causes these particles to rise and form hydroxides which react with the iron particles to form hydrous iron oxide or rust.
When you are fishing, your hooks are always in the water so hooks should be rustproof. That is true while you are fishing and the hooks are in water for only a short time. Unfortunately hooks exposed to moisture for extended periods will rust.
Rust becomes a problem on hooks after we are done fishing and need to store our lures back into tackle boxes. Any moisture left on a hook in your tackle box can start rust on that hook and the rust can spread like wildfire to other hooks causing damage to your lures and leaving a nasty brown stain in your box.
Water is always around us when we are fishing so keeping your lures and tackleboxes dry can be a difficult task.
Moisture can creep into your tackle boxes when you have to change lures in the rain or when waves crash over the bow of your boat and water seeps into your storage compartments.
How Do You Protect Fishing Lures?
The key to preventing rust on your hooks then is to make sure all your lures and hooks are dry before storing them in your tackle boxes. Every time after fishing on a rainy day, I open my tackle boxes when I get home and air them out for a day to make sure all my lures and hooks are dry.
Salt can also contribute to hooks rusting, so when fishing in saltwater you should rinse the salt off your hooks with freshwater after each fishing trip. You don’t have to worry about doing that for freshwater fishing, but you do want to make sure you avoid storing your hooks in the same box with your soft plastic lures that contain salt.
How To Store Hooks To Prevent Rust
There are also items you can put in your tackle boxes to absorb moisture and prevent your hooks from rusting. One of the cheapest moisture absorbers for your tackle box is a toothpick, which is wood that has been kiln dried and absorbs moisture well. Placing the cotton tips of Q-tips in your boxes will also draw moisture from your hooks.
The best method for absorbing moisture from your boxes and preventing hook rust is to add two or three Silica dry-gel packets in each box. You can either buy Silica packs online or save the ones that come in beef jerky packages, tablet containers or shoe boxes.