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  1. #1

    Default Hook shank length, not just about length

    Relatively new tier here. Now this is probably obvious to the rest of you, but it wasn't to me at first. Maybe this'll help some new tiers out there.

    Until now, I thought the longer shank thing was purely about...shank length. i.e. you're tying a streamer and maybe you want a longer body, so you go 2X or 3X or 4X long, end of story. I've learned there's much more to it than that.

    All other things being equal (i.e. same model hook), a 4X long #4 might have the same length as a 3X long #2, but the #2 will usually have a heavier wire and wider gap. Different sink rate, probably different hook setting/penetrating characteristics, etc.

    Anyway, "aha moment" when I realized this. The "X long" factor, and when to select one over the other, isn't just about length. This feeds my nerdy over-analytical soul.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Hook shank length, not just about length

    Quote Originally Posted by FartsInWaders View Post
    Relatively new tier here. Now this is probably obvious to the rest of you, but it wasn't to me at first. Maybe this'll help some new tiers out there.

    Until now, I thought the longer shank thing was purely about...shank length. i.e. you're tying a streamer and maybe you want a longer body, so you go 2X or 3X or 4X long, end of story. I've learned there's much more to it than that.

    All other things being equal (i.e. same model hook), a 4X long #4 might have the same length as a 3X long #2, but the #2 will usually have a heavier wire and wider gap. Different sink rate, probably different hook setting/penetrating characteristics, etc.

    Anyway, "aha moment" when I realized this. The "X long" factor, and when to select one over the other, isn't just about length. This feeds my nerdy over-analytical soul.
    First let me welcome you to the BB. I hope you feel at home here. Now here's some bad news.

    Sorry to let you know that you have not had that "aha moment" yet. The explanation below should feed your "nerdy over-analytical soul."

    You wrote "4X long #4 might have the same length as a 3X long #2."

    Actually a 4X long #4 is not the same as a 3X long #2.

    A 4X long #4 is 4 sizes longer than a #4 hook which would be 4-4 = 0 = a size 1/0 hook

    A 3X long #2 is 3 sizes longer than a #2 hook which would be 2-3 = -1 = a 2/0 hook

    See the hook chart below.





    Let's do this in an easier to understand example using a 4X long size 14 hook and a 3X long 12 hook. Your example would then be that 4X long #14 is the same size as a 3X long #12. But that would be wrong BECAUSE traditional hook sizes skip by 2 sizes. So a new fly tyer thinks that a size 12 hook is ONE size longer/larger than a size 14 hook, but it is actually TWO sizes longer/larger.

    So a 4X long size 14 hooks is about the length of a 2X long size 12 hook.

    There ARE ODD sized fly tying hooks, for example, the Tiemco TMC102Y hooks below.




    The same thing goes for XF (Extra Fine) and XH (Extra Heavy) wire. Note that the TMC102Y hooks a 1XF (Extra Fine) hook. So a size 15 TMC102Y hook would be made of the wire of a normal size 16 hook -ONE size thinner wire.
    Last edited by silver creek; 11-30-2019 at 10:21 AM.
    Regards,

    Silver



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

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Hook shank length, not just about length

    When I tie a fly considering shank length, what I think about is leverage and balance

    For a typical streamer, you need enough length to fit on all your materials without crowding the eye, and still have it well proportioned.
    But the longer the shank length, the more leverage that the fish has to potentially un-button the hook.

    Extra short shank hooks make for good jig-style flies, like Clouser Minnows or Whistlers where you want to keep most of your weight up front
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Hook shank length, not just about length

    Man, this is great info. Thanks for taking the time to explain!

  7. #5

    Default Re: Hook shank length, not just about length

    Grateful I stumbled on this post. But Im still confused with hook numbers from different brands.
    Is there a simple way of understanding the hook type and size by the number Ali e without too much memorizing. My hard drive is almost full.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #6

    Default Re: Hook shank length, not just about length

    There actually is no formal hook standard. Long ago Partridge of England used to be the de facto "standard" for fly tying hooks because they were the most popular source. Then it was Mustad. Now it is Tiemco.

    The best source to compare hooks is flyhooks.org

    Because there is no standard, not all hook sizes are equal. The actual SIZE of the fly the fish sees is the length of the hook shank upon which is tie the body of pattern we are imitating.

    Therefore the important "size" of the hook is the BODY length you tie on the hook. Generally this is determined by the shank length of a typical STRAIGHT SHANK hook, but scud hooks are CURVED and have no well defined shank end point. Here are 3 hooks that are theoretically the same length. They should all be the length of the size 16 hook. I submit that even the straight shanked hooks have different shank lengths. The Mustad is clearly LONGER than the Tiemco.





    The hook on the left is a 2XS size 14 hook so it should have the length of a size 16 with the gap of a size 14 hook. The middle hook is an old up eye Mustad size 16. The hook on the right is a scud shape size 16 hook. I submit to you that the bodies you would tie will all be of a different length depending on the hook.

    With the scud hook, where does the bend of the hook start since the ENTIRE hook body is curved. If you look at scud patterns on the internet the bodies end at different points depending on the fly tier and what their preferences are.







    Whatever hook you use, the perceived length of the pattern is NOT going to be the size of the hook IF you tie on a scud hook. The size will be determined by how long the body is which WILL probably be different than the body tied on an identical "size" of a straight shank hook.

    Gary Borger discusses my photo at the link below.

    Gary Borger >> Blog Archive >> All Hooks are Not Created Equal
    Last edited by silver creek; 11-30-2019 at 05:07 PM.
    Regards,

    Silver



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

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