Originally Posted by audax
If you get to tying the tiny stuff, say #22 and smaller, you may prefer a straight eye. A bit easier to form a neat head and less obstruction to the gape.
This is often repeated but not true. How does a down eye hook narrow the "gape/gap" which is define as the distance from the hook point to the shank? Whether the hook is large or small, the gap remains that defined measurement.
The material tied on the hook opposite the hook point is what narrows the hooking gap. so for small hooks, use minimalist techniques to preserve the hook gap.
What limits the ability of the fly to "hook" fish are:
1. The width of the hook gap.
2. The alignment of the hook point with the hook shank.
Therefore, to improve the hooking ratio, you can:
1. Widen the hook gap by using a wide gap hook to tie the fly.
2. Offset the hook point to one side of the hook point. When the fish closes his mouth on the fly, the offset point will be pointing toward the flesh. Bending the hook point a bit to the side on the stream will improve the hooking ratio when you are missing fish.
On tiny hooks, the hook eye becomes a more significant part of the fly silhouette. It occupies a greater proportion of the hook length and a straight eye hook adds to that appearance. The hook eye adds to the appearance of a longer body and needs to be considered when matching a hatch of small insects.
After replying to a post about hook sizing on another BB, I sent a photo I used to Gary Borger. His blog post about hook sizing and including the eye of the hook in the length of small flies to match insect sizes is below.
Note that the hook eye adds 20 - 25% to the length of these size 16 length hooks. That is a significant difference in length as the fish perceives the pattern to be.
Gary Borger » Blog Archive » All Hooks are Not Created Equal