Well i am getting a serious itch to tie up some saltwater flies
I cant see anywhere that tells me the best flies to have for general fishing.
I know the clouser is a given but what other patterns should i tie.
What hooks I bought some Diachi hooks today to tie up some clousers.
There is so few hook options for saltwater flies.
I know from work the TMC 811s seems to be a very popular hook but there expencive. any suggestions on good hooks that wont let me down i dont mind spending the money if they last and wont bend and break easy ( i dont want to lose a once in a lifetime fish )
(I was in Sportsmans Warehouse today and only carried the Diachi saltwater hook and a very poor stock of materials did have some threads and flash i couldnt resist though )
First, there are many good hooks that can be used in saltwater. The problem is that most folks seem to think that they have to be stainless steel. Also, how good a hook you need will depend on the species you'll be after. For example, if you only chase schoolie size Striped bass, most any decent hook will work. If you're chasing big Tarpon or Bonita, you'll want a better hook, otherwise you'll end up losing a lot of flies & fish.
Tiemco & Daiichi both make some excellent hooks suitable for saltwater. Even Mustad has some decent hooks. Eagle Claw makes some very good hooks, as does Gamakatsu. No single hook will be perfect for all applications, so you really have to choose based on the species & size, plus some are just better for specific fly pattern types. You also have to realize that no hook will last forever, so they're an expendable tool.
Another factor, will be whether or not you're willing to sharpen hooks. I still use some older Mustad & Eagle Claw hooks that are not particularly sharp compared to some hooks today. I don't mind sharpening them for the species I chase, as they're relatively inexpensive, but still suitably strong. I also use a number of other hooks not sold as fly hooks. Some are sold as spinnerbait or worm hooks, and are not even saltwater specific, but again for my purposes they work fine.
If it's a general purpose hook you want, and don't mind sharpening them. Check out Eagle Claw 254 & 354 stainless hooks. Both are very strong, and primarily the points need to be touched up to make them sticky sharp. I use a diamond grit file.
The 354 is often sold as a trotline or catfish hook, but works well for flies. It's a bit stouter hook than the 254 and has a larger eye. Both are also available in tinned finishes, which are a bit less costly. Or, another hook made by Eagle Claw is the L067, which was sold as the "Billy Pate Tarpon Hook" at one time. It's a darn fine & strong hook for general use, and is Lazer sharp, although IMO, that means little when compared to hooks made by Gamakatsu, Daiichi or Tiemco. It's a strong enough hook to use for Tarpon too.
Another excellent general purpose hook is a VMC/Rapala 9255 PS, but again it's not a stainless hook. It is however, very sharp & very strong.
If you have a specific application you would like to use the hooks for, let me know & I can better advise on a hook model & brand.
For general purpose saltwater, in addition to Clousers, you can't go wrong with Lefty's Deceivers, Seaducers and Gurglers. Even simple bucktails, such as Joe Brooks Blonde series flies will still catch plenty of fish. There are others too, but again depends more on species & location.
"I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
"There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
" It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
"Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser
Boz, thanks! I've used many different hooks, and have yet to find one that could not be used for some type of fishing I do or have done. Although much of my "saltwater" fishing is really brackish water fishing and sometimes is more freshwater than salt. Still, the species I'm after are why I choose specific hooks.
Just as an example, if I want to catch White Perch, a species that is small, but fairly abundant in my area. A regular Mustad 3407 or 34007 is still a fine hook for that purpose, and should I find larger species, such as LM Bass or Striped Bass while pursuing WP, those same hooks are very suitable. But, as I said, they need to be sharpened.
I found a hook that Gamakatsu makes that they call a Sea Hook. It's a very strong, sharp yet light hook, and is not stainless, so it will rust. It's another fine hook for smaller species. I've used Owner Mosquito hooks too for tying bass flies, and smaller flies for Perch. Very strong & sharp, but they will rust when used in true saltwater. These hooks are quite a bit more costly than the older Mustads, but I feel that the cost is relative. Plus I'll buy better quality hooks when I can find them at lower prices & stock up!
I have occasionally gotten down to the SC & NC coast, as well as the coast here in MD, and prefer to use stainless hooks for those areas. I don't always, and plated hooks work fine too.
I've never fished for Tarpon, but have tied many Tarpon flies. Capt Ralph Delph is one guide I used to supply with some flies, and a very well known guide & angler. (Check the IGFA record books!) I was a bit surprised to find that he liked the Eagle Claw 254 tinned hooks for some of his Tarpon flies, as well as the Mustad 3407 for species such as Kingfish & Sharks. To me that says volumes about selecting hooks for specific purposes.
I'm not a fan of the stainless hooks. They don't hold an edge.
I use the plated Eagle Claws and Mustads and sharpen each one with my Dremel tool before tying the fly. They're not sharp out of the box, but once sharpened they hold an edge better than any stainless hook that I've used.... and that make a big difference especially if you're fishing in the surf and your fly is making any contact with the sand.
You need to carry saltwater flies to cover the water column. Bottom - mid - and surface.
Clousers ( with a capital C ) are good for the lower water column, a Lefty's deceiver type fly covers the mid, and a slider or popper covers the surface. Gurglers are probably the best all around top water fly and are easy to tie.
Beyond that, there's hundreds of flies that will work in varied situations, but the fact is that if you're at the right depth, using a fly of the right length and profile, almost anything will work.
Great answer on SW hooks. Especially being willing to put a hook hone to those Mustad hooks to give them a good triangulation. Great hooks just need that sharpening!
Agreed. I tie 90% of my salt stuff on 34007's and sharpen them right after I tie them on.
That said, if targeting fish over 20lbs, I'd go with something stouter, like a Gama SC-15. That's a tinned hook, so you're best off keeping them in ziploc's until you're going to tie them on, because the salt air will mess up a whole box of tinned hooks after multiple exposures.