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Old 11-01-2014, 12:21 PM
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Default Help with hooks

Hi Everyone,

A lot of you inspired me to start tying. I have been tying simple nymphs and some caddis flies but I have run into a problem. I am out of hooks. I was wondering if anyone had a good suggestion on types of hooks and typical sizes my wife and I should keep in stock. There is so much out there that I am a little unsure.

Thanks everyone,
Charlie
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Charlie, for the most part, what hooks many choose is a personal matter. Some patterns do look better or hook up better with specific styles of hooks, but brands again becomes a personal choice. You will likely get many opinions about specific brands & styles for specific patterns. Unfortunately, a lot of what we all choose is based on trial & error.

Since you're just getting into tying, I'm guessing that you're copying known patterns, so in that case use a hook that fits the pattern. For example, if you're tying scuds, there are several scud hooks on the market made by various manufacturers. If you're tying Catskill style dry flies, use an appropriate dry fly hook. Most pattern recipes will specify the hook that the person who is supplying the pattern prefers or a basic style. In the case of basic styles, you then have to choose for yourself the brand.

It may simply boil down to price, or you may eventually find you like a certain brand over others, which means you may pay a higher price. That preference will come in time as you try different brands & styles.

Another example, if you're tying Woolly Buggers, you may want a 2X or 3X long streamer hook, or perhaps both in sizes you use most. Or you could simply use a standard shank wet fly/nymph or streamer hook. There's no rule that says you have to use a specific hook for many such patterns.

In many cases, there will be styles of hooks made by several manufacturers that mimic the models by other makers. In that case you can often cross reference them to find equivalent hooks from the different makers. There are some charts on the internet for this.

As far as a single source, that's up to you to determine, should you wish to get all your hooks from a single source. (Either a single brand or single vendor.)

I don't tie a lot of trout flies, but do have a large stock of hooks I've collected over many years. It includes many brands & styles (& prices.) You may want to check out Allen Fly Fishing & compare their hooks to what you've been using. IMO, they have a very good product based on those I've obtained from them, plus very good prices, especially when they have sales. Sign up for their newsletter too!

Recommendations for what styles & sizes to stock is also a personal choice issue. We all have different needs for what we tie. Go with what you tie & use the most of and add as you need. I believe most of us do it that way.

I tie primarily bass & saltwater flies & use a lot of big sizes & styles that are not always sold as fly hooks. It's easy to get overwhelmed unless you know what you need.

Here's a small sampling of some of my current stock.
As you can see, there's a lot of variety in both brands & styles!
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Hi Bigjim,

Thanks for the advice and hopefully one day I will have that kind of stock. I am going to sit down tonight and look thru all the big name vendors at hooks and compare to what I tie. I usually tie a lot of nymphs. Smaller sizes and bead head. So I will take that into account.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

For what it's worth, I tied commercially for many years & most nymphs I tied were on standard shank or 2X long hooks wet fly/nymph hooks. I used the Mustad 9671 & 9672 a lot back then, which is a straight shank, round bend hook (Viking) or a Mustad 3399 style Sproat bend hook. There are many similar models from the various makers now. I never got too worried about the hook dimensions unless a customer wanted a specific hook. Otherwise & for my own fishing, I used what looked good to me & had sufficient gap width. I've tried a few styles I didn't like, such as some of the natural bend style hooks, but that was primarily because I felt the gap was not wide enough. Unfortunately I don't remember exactly which hooks they were.

Most nymphs I've used for trout fishing have been in the size 14 to 10 size range. Although I've tied them up to a size 2 for stream bass. Occasionally, I've used nymphs in the size 8 to 4 range too for trout, but primarily in places were there are both trout & bass.

Because I don't do a lot of trout fishing, the nymphs are generic in style (think in terms on GR Hare's Ear) or soft hackles. I never fished dry flies much, and usually used terrestrial patterns for surface flies. The rest of my trout fly arsenal was streamers.

If you choose hooks that do their job, and you're satisfied with them, that's all you really need.

The fish don't care what we use!
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim5589 View Post



It may simply boil down to price, or you may eventually find you like a certain brand over others, which means you may pay a higher price. That preference will come in time as you try different brands & styles.

Another example, if you're tying Woolly Buggers, you may want a 2X or 3X long streamer hook, or perhaps both in sizes you use most. Or you could simply use a standard shank wet fly/nymph or streamer hook. There's no rule that says you have to use a specific hook for many such patterns.

In many cases, there will be styles of hooks made by several manufacturers that mimic the models by other makers. In that case you can often cross reference them to find equivalent hooks from the different makers. There are some charts on the internet for this.

As far as a single source, that's up to you to determine, should you wish to get all your hooks from a single source. (Either a single brand or single vendor.)


Here's a small sampling of some of my current stock.
As you can see, there's a lot of variety in both brands & styles!
Click the image to open in full size.
God and I thought I was a 'tackle tart;' I HUMBLE, I TREMBLE, MYSELF BEFORE YOU.

Amazing photo ... but as to hooks ... start at 'The Fish' and work backward from there. Size of fish and the fishing condition(s) will dictate what's appropriate.

PS: If you have a cat, get a roll top desk. Dog will sit next to you, the cat will jump on the desk. That 'swishing tail' can make a mess damned quick.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Thanks Guys for the help. I will definitely follow your suggestions and look around tonight and stop at the local shop tomorrow. I may get a few sample packs of different hooks in common sizes I seem to use often and go from there.

I hear ya with the cat. Our neighbors cat loves to get in the way and play with hackle and feathers. It also thinks the dubbing dispenser is great too. The lab gets bored and goes to sleep. I appreciate the help. This is a heck of a learning experience.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Charlie, glad it was some help to you!

Fred your replies, comments & stories always make me smile! Thank you!
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

I'm a new tyer myself and yes many brands and prices to choose from; however since I'm just starting tying I see no point on spending a lot on hooks, so I look for good prices and quality and found that Hook and Hackle has their own brand of hooks at great prices and for all applications, I also purchased some mustard hooks from them, again cause they had lower prices. I haven't tried the flies I did but surely look nice!


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Old 11-02-2014, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

Hooks are like any other item we choose for our tying. There's a range of quality & prices. That's why as a new tier it's best to look around & compare. Nothing wrong with getting opinions either, but IMO, we all have to make up our own minds about what suits us best. I started tying back in a time when hooks that were available were very much limited compared to what is now available. As you should be able to tell from my picture, I've tried many things.

It may not be necessary to do as I've done, but it's still best to try different brands in styles that are used most & decide for yourself.

I'm constantly looking around. As an example, I bought some South Bend straight eye Aberdeen hooks from an Ebay seller a few years back at a very good price. My intention was to tie panfish flies with them. Don't really need an expensive hook for that purpose. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of these hooks. I would not hesitate to tie trout flies on them too as I feel they would be fine for that purpose & some patterns.

Since much of the fishing I do is for bass or tidal water species, I'll try many types of hooks for tying flies, even those not usually sold as fly hooks. I tie a lot on plastic worm hooks. Had I not been willing to look around, I would not have found many of the hooks I now use.

Others have said before that Hook & Hackle's store brand hooks are very good. I've obtained some of J Stockard's house brand hooks too & they're as good as any. I suspect many of these "House" brand hooks may be from the same manufacturers. Nothing at all wrong with any of them. But, again it's best to try them yourself & compare and you really don't need to spend a fortune doing it!
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Help with hooks

I have a fair number of Allen hooks and am a fan. Check out Allen Fly Fishing to see their selection, including their beads. For really small flies I love the Orvis big eye hooks since they make threading the tippet easier. Bought some Sabre hooks at the Denver fly fishing show and they are a good value too.
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