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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Middle, Tennessee

    Default Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    I've been pondering this issue for some time and decided to research this issue, but still not clear on what the real difference makes between hook eye (Up/Down/Straight) I understand dry flies with a hook down floats better but why not hook up or straight. Now nymph flies is straight hook why not up or down. Back in the days it seems to me there wasn’t that much of a preference as today generation tiers. Are we just following the pattern/receipt? Do you think you catch more, less with a hook eye Up/Down/Straight? What is your preference for dry flies & nymph flies and does it really matter?
    Popperfly >-<(((((*>

    Born to Fish...Forced to Work !

  2. #2

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    I like to tie parachute patterns with the hook eye down as it gives a bit more room to wrap thread between the hackles and the hook shank. Other than that I don't worry too much about whether the hook eye is straight or down.
    - William

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Rky. Mtn. West

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    I like straight eyes for everything. Up eye dries don't always seem to ride right. I have this misconception in my head that there is a clearer path to the hook point with a straight eye than a down eye. The leader slides and the hook shank slides right along with it. When I put two flies on my hand or arm, and pull on a leader, the straight eye seems to "stick" easier. Besides, I think my flies just look better on straight eyes too.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    on the Stream

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    I'm not one for up eyed hooks, prefer down eye and prefer a slightley longer point as I always use barbless or I de-barb if a hook style only comes in barbed.
    I use for my copperhead nymph a Tiemco 2499 #16 & #18 thats a straight eye and a very strong hook , a hook I know that will not let me down.

    Each to their own I say

  7. #5

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    This is something I wondered too. I just started tying, and it got awfully confusing dealing with something as simple as streamer hooks. Down eye, straight, up had me scratching my head wondering what the big difference between each type really was.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Boston, Mass.

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    It makes a difference if you use a Turle knot.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Brookline, MA

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    Keep this in mind, whichever style of hook eye is going to (theoretically) slightly affect the way the hook point is set and pulled against the fish. This has to do with the angle at which the line is pulled in relation to the hook eye (which is again in relation to the rest of the fly). To put this visually, if I stuck a hook tip in a piece of wood and pulled the line attached to the eye at a completely parallel angle to the hook shank, some different things would happen depending on the eye position.

    If the hook eye was up: The tension on the line would attempt to pull the eye down to the level of the shank (which is the level you are pulling the line at). This slight level adjustment would affect the entire angle of the fly. As the hook eye goes down, the hook back of the fly points upwards slightly, driving the downward facing hook point further down. This (in theory) would actually seem to increase hook set potential. I say this because if the hook point is gliding along a level surface, forcing the point slightly downward drives it into the surface more.

    If the hook eye was down: An opposite effect would happen. Pulling the line at the same level as the shook shank would drive the head of the fly up, in return, driving the back of the fly down. All of this in turn drives the hook point up, creating a situation that makes sticking the harder given that the point is sliding along a level surface.

    If the hook eye was center: Pulling the line would drag the hook point at a steady level along the surface, giving it an average sticking potential.

    I know this probably way more in detail than most people see it and maybe this isn't actually realistic behavior, but it is interesting.

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  11. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    on the Stream

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    Quote Originally Posted by brian miville View Post
    This is something I wondered too. I just started tying, and it got awfully confusing dealing with something as simple as streamer hooks. Down eye, straight, up had me scratching my head wondering what the big difference between each type really was.
    To be honest use basic hooks when you first start tying, look at the selection from Allen fly fishing they look good to me , simple Dry , Nymph , Wet.... get use to tying then shop around for hooks that you want for your patterns.

    as in time you will find better threads, furs , feathers , capes and dubbing , its a great pastime if you enjoy it.

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    Originally, wire hooks did not have formed eyes. They were made by hand & I guess the means to form such a small eye didn't exist. The attachment to a line had to be done via a lashed connection prior to dressing the fly.

    I'm not certain, but expect that later as better tippet materials were used, snelled connections may have been used & that resulted in the up or down eye positions. Hooks still have either IMO more so due to traditions rather than actual function.

    I don't use dry flies very often, it's been many years since I've even tied one, but I've always used dry fly hooks with the down eye. I rarely tied smaller than an 18 even when tying commercially, so had no need to up eye dry fly hooks. That up eye on such tiny hooks may expose & open up the hook gap a bit more than a down eye.

    Agree that a Turle Knot is fine for either up or down eye, but which came first, the knot or the eye positions? I can't answer that!

    For nymphs, streamers or anything else I like straight eye hooks, primarily because I use a loop connection most of the time, but have not had any issues using down eye hooks with loops.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  13. #10

    Default Re: Hook Eyes Up/Down/Straight?

    I am going to bust a couple of myths about hook eye direction.

    Myth 1 - The direction of the hook eye affects the angle of pull on the fly, and angle of pull will affect how well the fly "hooks" the fish.

    Myth 2 - The direction of the hook eye affects the hooking gape. A down eye hook will have less hooking ability and should be avoided in small flies because it narrow the hooking gape.

    Reality - The direction of the hook eye does not affect the angle of pull on the fly and makes very little difference in the ability of the fly to "hook" a fish.

    Gary Borger on pg. 178 of Designing Trout Flies demonstrates why the angle of a hook eye has no effect on the angle of pull on the hook. The angle of pull is determined by where the rod tip is in relationship to the hook and not by the angle of the hook eye to the shank. For example, one would think that a down eye hook would cause the angle of pull to be "down" on the hook, but the angle of pull is actually up if the rod tip is above the level of the hook when the hook set occurs.

    The slight offset of the hook eye provides no significant "lever" force to affect the angle of pull. Imagine the tip of a crowbar as the angled hook eye. When you push on the long end of the long end of the crow bar, the force of the push is magnified by the longer lever arm of the crow bar. But if you reverse the crow bar and push on the angled tip, you will have difficulty moving the long arm of the crow bar because the long lever arm is now working to reduce the force. The same thing occurs with an angled hook eye; there can be very little force generated by pulling on the short angled eye (short crow bar head) against the long shank (long arm of the crow bar) of the hook to move the hook point.

    Some fishers also think that a down eye hook somehow "narrows" the hooking gap and negatively affects the hooking ability of the pattern. That is not true either. The gap is the distance between the hook shank and the point and is not determined by the direction of the eye. What narrows the hooking gap is the material that is tied onto the hook at the location of the gap.

    Mustad has perpetrated this fallacy by writing that the hook eye position affects hooking.

    "The position of the eye is an important factor when it comes to improving the hooking potential of artificial lures. “Straight” is the standard eye position. Here are three other variants:"

    Hook Anatomy « Mustad

    The reason Mustad says that is the "penetration angle" of a hook. If you place a hook agains a flat table top, a down eye hook has a shallower "penetration angle" due to the angle of the hook eye; and Mustad argues that a shallower angle is less likely to hook the fish.

    I used to believe that penetration angle was important, but as I read more, I've changed my view. Therefore, I have some disagreement with what Mustad has written about how important the eye position is in hooking. I think any effect is very very minor. The reason is that hooking (penetration) angle does not stay constant.

    Once the hook point penetrates flesh, the hook pulls on the flesh deforming it and simultaneously the hook rotates in line with the angle of pull of the line. The eye of the hook no longer rests nicely at a 90 degree angle to the flesh as it does on a table top.

    The angle of pull on the shank and the hook point are pretty much equal when the hook eye does not rest on against a flat surface. I believe that this angle of pull drives the hook point further into the flesh at pretty much the same angle which is determined by the angle of pull on the eye rather than the angle of the eye of the hook.

    If the hook point is sharp, hook eye position does not matter much. The hook point will enter the flesh regardless of the difference in hook eye position. Hooking gap and offset have a greater effect in my view because they affect the probability that any fish flesh comes to lie against the hook point.

    Need more proof? Let's examine what actually happens when a fish takes a fly.

    When the fish's mouth is closed on the fly, it doesn't matter how the eye of the hook is angled. There is no "mouth" or opening for the fly to lie at perpendicular to a flat table. The jaw is closed so the hook of the fly is flat to the upper and lower jaw. The fish has turns and the fly is pulled along inside the closed mouth. This is why the fish is most often hooked in the side of the mouth at the junction of the upper and lower jaw.

    Experience tells us this where most of the flies hook the fish. And it doesn't matter whether the fish is hooked on a dry, a nymph or a streamer. It doesn't matter whether the hook eye is up, straight, or down. It doesn't matter whether the fish takes the fly head on like a dry or or from the side. So something else is going on.

    When the fish closes its mouth on the fly, the fly rotates so that the fly lies flat or in a horizontal rather than in a vertical position. The hook point is directed sideways and when you strike, it lodges in the side of the mouth at junction of the upper and lower jaw. So the position of the hook eye makes little difference. This is also why an offset hook point works. The offset hook point juts out against the surface of the mouth, when the mouth is closed against the fly.

    I think hook eye position is more about the aesthetics of the fly and the ease of tying the fly than any effectiveness in hooking.


    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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