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Old 10-10-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Bead heads and shank length?

Considering some of the recent threads.... something I am curious about.

Anyone else tie their bead heads on a slightly longer shanked hook?

Have always tied most of my wets and nymphs on Mustad 3906B's and the bead head version on Mustad 9671's. The ones that don't get these get Mustad 3906's with the bead head version going on a 3906B's.

Mustad has tweaked it's numbers a couple of time since I learned their system. (Am still angry I can no longer get 3908"s)
Just for clarification:
3906 = heavy wire standard wet / nymph hook
3906B = heavy wire 1X long wet / nymph hook
9671 = 2X long wet / nymph hook
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

Can't speak for the hook choices, but it's fish dependent imho. Larger fish, a longer hook/wider gap in the same size is 'a good thing?'

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Old 10-11-2013, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

no. i just put a bead on whatever hook and tie up the fly and take it fishing. seems to work just fine
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

I have reached the point, like flytire, that I will put a bead on any hook, regardless of shank length... tungsten beads on TMC 2499 SP BL hooks work just fine...


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Old 10-11-2013, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

I have a friend that feels it is his duty to tie flies religiously according to posted recipes for that fly, this includes using some longer-shanked hooks for bead-head flies. I for one can't see it. I agree with Fred, let the fish decide.

I have tied for a lot of years and became a bit of a rebel when it came to buying higher priced, name-brand hooks that seemed to be called for in many recipes. Bead heads came along and sure enough there was a move towards specific models designed for beads or a recommendation that one use a longer shank for the bead-head fly, and they priced them a bit higher and called them a specialty hook. I now tie the majority of my flies (dries, nymphs, bead-heads, emergers, etc.) on one style and model of hook - Dai Riki 125 Emerger hook, a brand that is about 1/2 the price of many of the popular brands referenced in most recipes. Allen also has some similar hooks that are much less expensive than the popular brands.

Here's how I see it - if I were to use a longer shank for a bead-head pattern then the fly is usually out of proportion by at least the extra length of the longer shank hook. Just my opinion. Yes, you could re-design the pattern to fit the hook, which is really what I'm advocating here - you decide. There have been many newer patterns developed using beads and longer hooks - I say, tie them that way if you want. There is nothing in any rule book that says we as fly tiers need to follow prescribed recipes for any flies, unless it be complicated Atlantic Salmon flies and such. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a rule book...

I know there are a few purists here who will call me a heretic, thus the fact that this is my belief and I force it on no one

Google a Pheasant-tail nymph and go to the "images" results and you will see as many different versions as there are hooks and then some. Now Google Frank Sawyers original PT nymph and look at how different it is from what we consider to be a standard PT nymph in today's world. They all catch fish!

I'm not attacking the premise of your question, just giving my opinion as a long-time and experienced fly tier who feels it's okay to be as creative as you like as long as the fish you catch with your creations continue to like them as well.

Here is an example:

I tie a Bead-head, flashback Pheasant-tail nymph with a DaiRiki 125 emerger hook. This hook is light wire, 2x short, with a hook gape about 2 times wider than normal hooks (which leads, in my opinion, to more hookups, especially in smaller sized flies). Why do I use this particular hook? I like the way the finished nymph turns out - notice I said, "I like...". Part two of the equation as to why I use this particular hook and recipe is because I catch the majority of my trout on this pattern in hook sizes 16 and 14 - which means that the fish like it also. Also, I do not use a prescribed recipe other than that I do use Pheasant-tail fibers for the tails and to wrap up the abdomen, and peacock for the thorax. After that I have made some changes that result in the finished fly that I and the fish like.

So, your original question asked if I use or prefer longer shanked hooks for tying bead-head flies, and my answer is no, I prefer using shorter shanked hooks to achieved my desired results. All of my patterns I tie are a result of using tried and true recipes, perfecting tying methods after much practice, and then having the confidence to experiment, and then find out what the fish prefer.

Long answer, I know, but I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, just the right answer for you and the fish to whom you present your finished flies.

Here is a photo of my finished Bead-head, Flashback Pheasant-tail Nymph that I use everywhere I fish for trout:
Click the image to open in full size.

Hook: DaiRiki 125, sizes 16-14
Thread: UTC Ultra, brown or black
Bead: 3/32 Copper colored brass bead
Tails/Abdomen: Natural brown pheasant-tail fibers - 6 to 8
Wire rib: Chartreuse, small size
Abdomen flashback: UTC Mirage, opal, medium
Wing-case Flashback: UTC Mirage, opal, large
Thorax: Peacock herl
Legs: Hen saddle hackle, mottled brown

Here is the same hook used for a dry fly:
Click the image to open in full size.

An emerger:
Click the image to open in full size.

A scud:
Click the image to open in full size.

And, a small midge:
Click the image to open in full size.

So many options and opportunities. Let your creative juices flow and then give the results a try in front of some hungry fish!

So, simple and short answer to your original question, No, I don't use longer-shanked hooks to tie bead-head flies...

Kelly.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

Kelly,

Thanks for that response. You cleared a ton of stuff up in my head. I am still somewhat new to all this, both fly tying and fly fishing, in general.

I used to obsess about tying a fly exactly how the recipe said to tie it: hook, thread, feather, hair, yarn, whatever. Then I saw that the same pattern looked different all over the Internet and in books--just like you wrote. I have backed off a lot whenever it came to materials but the hooks, ah, the hooks. I still would obsess over those darn hooks.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I saw I was running out of this little foam fly I use to catch bluegills. It is a simple pattern and I tweak it here and there a lot, but I didn't have any more of "the hooks" the recipe said to use. I was going to just chuck it but then decided to use these strange little hooks I got whenever a few of us bought a stash on eBay and divvied out the stuff. It is hard to describe these hooks. They are almost round but the hook is off-set and the hook eye is bent up sort of. Whatever. I had a bunch of those things and figured this foam fly would work well enough on it. I tied up a bunch of them and then used them the last three or four times I went out.

I caught gill after gill after smallmouth on those things. They took a beating and kept catching fish. And they did not really look too much different than the original ones I tied but they worked great. I think it was because of the wide gap that somebody mentioned either in this thread or in another one.

I liked the way these things caught fish so much I was thinking about using those hooks exclusively but I cannot find them anywhere. (I think they are a really old style, maybe even from a brand that does not exist any more.

To make a long story short, thanks for getting me to realize that I am not crazy and that I can buy basically the same hook style for all my patterns. All I would need to do is to use several different sizes and then that will be it.

I have some of these at home in sizes 12 and 14 and like them: Allen N304 - Shrimp, Caddis, Scud

If I concentrate on this style hook, for the most part, and then only a few sizes, I can see where the savings can (finally) occur as I tie my flies!


ray
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

Kelly and Random

This thread is timely, and I wish I had asked it in my PT Nymph thread. It is exactly what I am facing as a rookie tyer. When you get into the fancier nymph ties with 5+ ingredients, I just run out of hook before I can get it all done, especially when using a bead. If I complete all the steps following along on a youtube tie, I run out of shank length, the hook gets crowded, or the bend in the hook gets crowded, and often something ends up not securely attached due to the crowding. The preceding was not an attempt to say you are wrong. This is just a thought, but I am thinking the combination of camera magnification, and tyers using larger # size hooks causes some to install more material than is actually needed?

I could be all wet, but I am religiously trying to follow instructions on fancy ties, and it often just doesn't work out. I am talking about guys with 50+ vids on youtube. Their stuff is beautiful, and they are obviously talented. I know it is me and my lack of experience. Altering the hook length just makes it easier on some patterns. I am using Allen hooks BTW and have nothing else to compare them to.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

The question really is whether the angler/tyer thinks the fish accepts the bead as part of the nymph or ignores the bead as it does the hook bend and point. Simply stated, if you tie a bead head PT and a non bead head PT on a size 12 2XL XH nymph hook, does the fish see both flies as the same size nymphs or as different size nymphs?

When the fish are feeding opportunistically, I think it doesn't matter. But if the fish are selectively feeding, do they see these 2 flies as different? I happen to believe the fish have the ability to see these flies as different.

The reason is that in some heavily fished waters, the fish have been caught with bead heads so often that they have been entrained to ignore the bead heads. So I am very confident that fish have the ability to notice the difference between bead and non bead head flies.

The question then becomes if they can see the bead in the above case, can they recognize the bead as not part of the actual "nymph" and see the bead head as a smaller nymph than the non bead head.

I don't have the answer to that question, but my belief is that some fish can be selective enough to do so. Is it then important enough to consider this in choosing the fly according to the hook size or the actual nymph portion of the hook?
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
The question really is whether the angler/tyer thinks the fish accepts the bead as part of the nymph or ignores the bead as it does the hook bend and point....
Just my opinion, especially as it relates to trout because they account for 2% of my lifetime angling experience. On a lot of days, I think the bead (or at least the flash) is everything. There have been more than a few days lately when they hit beadheads, virtually nothing else. Threw a bunch of random other stuff and nothing, toss a beadhead and they nail it. Run out of a particular bead pattern and throw a completely different style beadhead with similar good results. And tomorrow will be different, Love the always changing lessons I think I am learning. The world would be a better place if fish were not illiterate, because they refuse to consistently follow any rulebook I have ever read.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Bead heads and shank length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ia_trouter View Post
Just my opinion, especially as it relates to trout because they account for 2% of my lifetime angling experience. On a lot of days, I think the bead (or at least the flash) is everything. There have been more than a few days lately when they hit beadheads, virtually nothing else. Threw a bunch of random other stuff and nothing, toss a beadhead and they nail it. Run out of a particular bead pattern and throw a completely different style beadhead with similar good results. And tomorrow will be different, Love the always changing lessons I think I am learning. The world would be a better place if fish were not illiterate, because they refuse to consistently follow any rulebook I have ever read.
You raise an interesting phenomenon.

I can accept that some days they will hit bead heads in preference to non bead heads.

But whether a fly has a bead and the color of the bead are just two of multiple possible variables. Then we get to the size of the pattern and the actual pattern of nymph imitation which are probably as important, if not more important.

While I can accept that the presence of a bead and the color of the bead can matter, that does not negate that I also believe the actual pattern of the nymph and the size of the fly can also matter. Consider the situation when the actual pattern of the fly such as a scud vs a pheasant tail is more important than whether we use a bead head or non bead headed version of a scud or PT. I think this situation occurs more often.

Whenever we center a discussion on a single variable of whether to use a slightly longer hook as on this thread, let us not forget that there are likely aspects of fly selection that are just as important or more important than the single decision of whether to use a longer hook when using a bead.

What I was saying in my original post is that I think in some situations the fish can recognize the longer hooked bead head as different from the shorter hooked bead head; and that if this is so, there must be some situations then this choice of hooks makes a difference in whether the fish takes the fly or not.

This does not mean that other variables such as the actual nymphal pattern and whether a bead is used at all are not of equal or greater importance.

Puzzles such as these keep all of us hungering for more knowledge. I have been in a situation where a fish would not take a perfectly floating no hackle dun of a baetis, but would take that same fly if I adjusted the wing so that it was canted with one wing on the water.

In that case, a friend challenged me to catch a trout he was fishing to that he saw take duns but repeated refused his fly. I knew something strange was going on because my friend is a very good fly fisher. So I sat and observed the feeding fish. When I did, I noticed that the fish was refusing some baetis duns that floated right over him. He was not taking every available dun. So I tried to see what was different between the naturals he took and the ones he refused. When I noticed that the ones he took were canted to one side, it was game over.

This phenomenon that I call super selectivity seems to occur when the insect hatches are so prolific and the fishing pressure so great that even if the fish become super selective to a unique subset of a hatching insect because of angling pressure, there are still enough of that subset of insect during the hatch for the fish to thrive.

The situation above occurred on the San Juan River where both of those conditions are met on a regular basis.
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