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Old 08-25-2015, 10:26 AM
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Default Estimating fly size or fly hook size

I'm a newbie and was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to estimate a fly hook size by eye. This has been the most difficult thing for me to estimate especially when dealing with smaller flies. Anyone have any tips?
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

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Originally Posted by paulsoncall View Post
I'm a newbie and was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to estimate a fly hook size by eye. This has been the most difficult thing for me to estimate especially when dealing with smaller flies. Anyone have any tips?
Welcome to the forum, Paul. Lots of people on here that can, and are always willing to help. You aren't the only one with questions, so don't be timid; ask away. Personally, I'll be watching for this answer myself, as I have the same problem.

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Old 08-25-2015, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

Quote:
Originally Posted by spm View Post
Welcome to the forum, Paul. Lots of people on here that can, and are always willing to help. You aren't the only one with questions, so don't be timid; ask away. Personally, I'll be watching for this answer myself, as I have the same problem.

steve,aka spm
Thanks Steve. And I did use the search function and couldn't really find anything.
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:48 AM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

I am an "oldie" and I still have to refer to hook charts and reference books and web sites to get the sizing correct for bugs and critters I am attempting to imitate with fly patterns...

download this:

https://app.box.com/s/01db9ea439c7fbd59b55

Do yourself a favor if you tie...

The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference: Ted Leeson, Jim Schollmeyer: 9781571881267: Amazon.com: Books The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference: Ted Leeson, Jim Schollmeyer: 9781571881267: Amazon.com: Books

...and if you live in the West:

Western Mayfly Hatches: Rick Hafele, Dave Hughes: 9781571883049: Amazon.com: Books Western Mayfly Hatches: Rick Hafele, Dave Hughes: 9781571883049: Amazon.com: Books

Almost all recipes for patterns, list suggested hooks and sizes for a particular tie. Trust that over the eyeballs...

A perfect example of how the eyes lie, is guesstimating the size of an adult Caddis. Almost everyone gets that wrong because they have not held one in the hand, turned it over and measured the abdomen...


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Old 08-25-2015, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

BGFTRST: Fish hook buyer's guide : Cabela's

Excellent bit on types of hooks, what the 'parts' are, etc. Dozen's of specialty hooks there so the whole deal can be a scratch your head as to 'choice.' Size of hooks come in two general flavors: From 1/0 the number's get bigger as the hook gets bigger (up to 20/0!!), below this as the hook gets smaller the number's get bigger (go figure?)

As a general rule of the thumb the hook size is determined by the distance from the hook point to the shank. So as to what size hook to buy (and length) that's a choice of the fish to be chased and fishing conditions. (And manual dexterity; below a size 12 hook I'm lost.)

This will take you a bit of Google looking but someone made a plastic card with the typical 'trout' sized fly hooks. For a lot of folks who tie flies (back in the day anyway) that card was a 'must purchase.'

Fred

Edit: Found this and suspect they are pretty true to size: http://www.bishfish.co.nz/articles/g...size-chart.pdf
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

Thanks for the excellent answers. I just found this PDF online.

https://www.dryflyinnovations.com/wp...ze-Matters.pdf

It comes with a printable bug/hook size chart called "The Bugometer". Could be really useful as a pocket guide.
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:25 PM
 
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsoncall View Post
I'm a newbie and was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to estimate a fly hook size by eye. This has been the most difficult thing for me to estimate especially when dealing with smaller flies. Anyone have any tips?
You have learned an important lesson. Don't ask what size fly the angler is using. Ask to see the fly and then you will know what size the fly actually is rather than what you think it is.

Secondly, unless you actually catch a bug, you will over estimate its size. Newbies will think an insect that is flying is larger than it actually is. I think it has to do with the flapping wings that seem to make the insect seem larger when it is flying, This is especially true of caddis flies. So if you think you put on the right size fly and it does not work, put on a smaller size.

Hatches will change size during the season. Generally, the same insect later in the year will be smaller.

The same identical species of insect in different rivers can, not only be a different size, but even a different color. Google pale morning dun - E. excrucians. They vary quite a bit.

Pale Morning Dun | Ephemerella | Fly Fishing | Westfly

There is some variation in color and size of the hatching insects. Like brothers and sisters, the insects will not be twins and there will be some variation,

Finally, you can trim larger flies so they look smaller. I have an iris scissors on my vest so I can modify the wings on my caddis and mayfly patterns. Mine is a surgical instrument but you can buy an inexpensive straight cuticle scissors.

Iris scissor:

Click the image to open in full size.

Cuticle scissor:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
You have learned an important lesson. Don't ask what size fly the angler is using. Ask to see the fly and then you will know what size the fly actually is rather than what you think it is.

Secondly, unless you actually catch a bug, you will over estimate its size. Newbies will think an insect that is flying is larger than it actually is. I think it has to do with the flapping wings that seem to make the insect seem larger when it is flying, This is especially true of caddis flies. So if you think you put on the right size fly and it does not work, put on a smaller size.

Hatches will change size during the season. Generally, the same insect later in the year will be smaller.

The same identical species of insect in different rivers can, not only be a different size, but even a different color. Google pale morning dun - E. excrucians. They vary quite a bit.

Pale Morning Dun | Ephemerella | Fly Fishing | Westfly

There is some variation in color and size of the hatching insects. Like brothers and sisters, the insects will not be twins and there will be some variation,

Finally, you can trim larger flies so they look smaller. I have an iris scissors on my vest so I can modify the wings on my caddis and mayfly patterns. Mine is a surgical instrument but you can buy an inexpensive straight cuticle scissors.

Iris scissor:

Click the image to open in full size.

Cuticle scissor:

Click the image to open in full size.
Silver,

Thanks for the information. Funny you mention overestimating size of caddis flies. I was on the river this past weekend and saw some flying around and thought they were huge until I caught one and realized it was much smaller in my hand than appeared in the air.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

As others have pointed out, the wide range of hook styles today makes hook size a rather imprecise measure. So why estimate hook size when you can measure?

I always carry a 6" plastic ruler and a bug seine (paint strainer bag) in my pack. I try to grab any natural, measure it and frequently photograph it wit the ruler in the picture, so that I have precise information for future reference
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Estimating fly size or fly hook size

Great tip John. Thanks.
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