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Old 08-27-2008, 07:49 AM
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Default Coloring Hooks

So I have been fishing for 21+ years and thought of something while waiting to see a customer yesterday.

I do a lot of flats fishing and a ton of off shore fishing as well. When I rig ballyhoo we always color the exposed part of the hook with either black or blue Sharpie markers. It absolutely makes a difference with pelagic fish. I also see a lot of live bait fisherman and bass/catfish fisherman using red hooks.

Then I thought???? I wonder if this would make any difference with hook ups with trout. What would coloring the exposed part of the hook with a blue or black (or other color) Sharpie? I carry some of the small Sharpie's in my pack on the river to doctor flies sometimes.

My question is has anyone tried this before, heard of someone trying it, or seen an article on it? I know of guys that have done it with salmon and like I said saltwater species on the flats and in blue water. Let me know what your experience is or what you have heard.

Like I said it may be a dumb question but I was really just curious as to what other posters think since I value your opinions and thoughts. Thanks for the responses .
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Coloring Hooks

Yes... I have tried red hooks for fly fishing.

A funny story. About 10 years ago I hired a guide for my first trip fly fishing the San Juan River in New Mexico. After we hit the water and got into position, he ties on my fly. It is nothing more than a red hook. It was one of those Daiichi type red anodized hooks. That is all... no material... no thread... no nothing... just a hook.

I looked at my guide with a puzzled look. I was expecting him to next pull out a box of live worms and put one on. I was thinking, "this is not fly fishing". I said, "this is not a fly... its just a hook". He said, "oh yeah... its a great fly... just try it and see."

I landed about 20 huge rainbows on that hook. To the fish, it evidently looked like those little red annelids that are heavy in the San Juan. I'm sure the little flashy finish helped a lot.

After he dropped me off at my truck, I went into Abe's Fly Shop. The guy behind the counter asked how my day was. I said it was great! he asked what I used. I said it was a red hook. His face turned pale and he said, "not again... the least you could do was tie a piece of thread on it." He was obviously agitated by the use a bare red hook.

So is that fly fishing? I suppose it depends upon your point of view. I have never used a bare hook since.

Since then however, I have tied several flies on a red hook. In some Arkansas rivers, the Red Ass is a great fly. Its basically a little peacock herl and some soft hackle with a little red thread showing and a lot of exposed hook. That fly has worked very well for me on many streams.

So, experiment and see what you come up with..

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Coloring Hooks

That is a great story Fish Bones. It may not have been fly fishing in most peoples minds but that guide put you on fish and I am sure you had a blast.

I had a guy (didn't know him....never met him) tell me I wasn't fly fishing when he asked what I was using and I told him a prince nymph with a san juan dropper. He quickly replied "san juan worm? that isn't fly fishing!" I smiled and kept fishing. Also....I caught 40+ fish that day and never saw him with a tight line. If the fish are eating a certain fly, I am going to use it. No point in making pretty casts to fish with your Adams dry fly when they aren't eating em.

I will experiment and let you know if I notice any difference.
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