I've tied on & still tie on a lot of different hooks that were/are not considered fly hooks. Depends on what I'm tying. I don't mind spending more on better hooks either, I buy Owner, Gamakatsu & even Trokar hooks, but I still don't like spending any more than I have to. I look for deals & bargains. I also don't mind sharpening hooks, particularly big sizes I might use for bass or saltwater fishing. For smaller sizes, I have a good supply of hooks, but have adopted a similar attitude as turbineblade. I would rather start with a sharp hook, than have to sharpen them. Hook prices are not that expensive for the small stuff if you shop around & compare. For what it's worth, I've bought some of the Allen hooks & they're great hooks for the price. Unless you're getting basic EC hooks for practically nothing, the Allen hooks are only slightly more in cost & a much better hook. Still, I know it comes down to what you can spend. I encourage anyone to "do the math" & weigh the pro's & con's on any hook you might consider.
I agree with with calftail about those South Bend hooks too. I picked up some in size 8 & 6 awhile back, and at a real good price & was quite surprised at how good they were. Strong & sharp, especially compared to basic EC or Mustad (old styles). My intention was to try them for panfish flies, but would have no qualms about using them for trout or bass.
There is also some sellers on Ebay who have some of the old EC & Mustad hooks who have them at very good prices. However, IMO you should still compare them to hooks such as Allen & decide which might best fit your needs.
Fly Guy, if haven't already, you should sign up for newsletters, like from Allen & other sources. Allen has some great deals on hooks sometimes but may not always be known to the general public. I signed up for many newsletters & often become aware of deals because of it. I may not always be in a position to take advantage, but at least I know those deals exist.
Mileage may vary!
This was one of those South Bend hook assortments. I probably won't use some of the bigger sizes, as I use better hooks, but for the price it was a good buy.
I have a very large hook collection!