Re: Smaller hooks, what not to tie on them
WT and Flytire have given excellent advice! One thing I will mention, as you said, moving up to a size 18 made things much easier. One thing I have found to help is to tie the flies on a size larger than you plan on using, to get the feel of the proportions until you get everything down, then step down a size and you will find it is easier. Another approach is to tie a size 22 fly on a size 20 hook. When I'm tying flies below a size 20 I'm mainly tying midges or something simple like Kayo recommended, a Griffith Gnat. Also, take extra precaution to minimize your thread wraps, it seems obvious but on the small stuff it is critical, believe me we all struggle with that aspect of tying. Best of luck and keep at it, it will get easier with practice and like Flytire said "use a magnifying lamp to see the small stuff better" it really does help with the small stuff.