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Thread: Why down turn hook eye???

  1. Default Why down turn hook eye???

    As a new fly tyer I'd like someone to tell me what the down turn eye on the dry fly hooks is for? Why not a straight eye? I'm sure there is a reason and yet none of my books makes this clear. Also why do some dry fly hooks seem to be fairly heavy (Mustad?) and some of the other brands seem much thinner (and silver) and lighter?

    Thanks for your help.

    Big Nick

  2. Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    Why some are heavier than others? Depends on the manufacturing process and the materials used by said manufacturers. Some hooks either for dry fly or wet nymph have special purposes or techniques. the turned eye makes the fly ride in a specific fashion, a down turned eye in a nymph will make the fly ride point up under water. Straight eyes will make a fly run true and sometimes spin or wobble depending on the type, style, and retrieve as well as how you apply the materials to the hook. It really boils down to what you want the fly to do on or in the water. Best suggestion is to tie several variations of a particular fly on different styles of hooks and experiment on the water and discover for yourself what each style will do. happy fishing
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    Frankly, I've never noticed much difference in up, down or straight eye hooks. Normally nymphs and wets and streamers will ride normally (hook point down), NOT hook point up, unless you weight them on the top of the shank (like a clouser) to flip them.

    Some of it, as far as dry fly hooks and down eyes, is that it may be a carry over from tradition--- back in the olden days when silk or gut were used as leaders, trout flies were traditionally tied on down eye hooks and salmon flies were tied on upeye hooks. Upeye hooks on salmon flies were/are sometimes used with a riffling hitch (knot) tied to wake flies on the surface.

    Some smaller patterns 20 and under, I like to use straight eyed hooks because it's easier to thread tippet through the eye. Others might prefer upeye hooks on tiny flies because it opens up the gap a bit more than straight or down eye hooks for easier hooking.

    A possible advantage of a down eye on a dry fly is that it may help to sink the tippet a bit near the dry fly making it less visible, but as i say, I've never noticed it makes a difference. Perhaps others can speak to their experience.

    As far as wire goes, manufactures are all over the place in terms of their sizes (shank length, hook gap, and wire diameters) but in general there are some advantages and disadvantages-- Some lightly dressed patterns like mayfly spinners, will float better on a light wire hook like a 3xf fine (Mustad 94833 or equivalent). The tradeoff may be that they might not be as strong--- but a convincing argument can be made that the thinner wire will penetrate deeper and easier. Standard dries are typically tied on a standard dry fly hook (like a Mustad 94840 or equivalent).

    As a beginning tyer, I would recommend buying a few basic “standard” decent quality but moderately priced hooks for use on different things to cover a lot of different bases, then branch out to others as your budget and curiosity allows.

    Dries, emergers, nymphs you want to ride the in the surface film. Examples would be Mustad 94840, Daiichi 1170, TMC 100 or equivalents. Although wet flies like soft hackles and flymphs and other patterns are usually tied on heavier wire, you could use these dry fly hooks for these as well. You can add a couple wraps of wire or even a bead if you want to fish these deeper.

    Nymphs- a perfect bend hook tends to accept beads well, so this would be a good one to use here for both with and without beads. You can also use these with a bead for caddis pupae (a wet fly) to fish them deep. A 2xlong hook like a Mustad 9671, Daiichi 1710 or equivalent.

    Streamers a 3xlong hook is great for large stonefly nymphs, buggers and muddler patterns and can also be used on dry patterns like grasshoppers (with a lot of floatation so they float a heavy hook well), It’s a pretty versatile hooks, and a (Mustad 9672, Daiichi 1720 or equivalent). If you’re just startin out, use this for feather wing streamers and bucktails too.

    Other hooks down the road:

    At some point you may want to add 4xlong hook for a more traditional proportions on featherwing streamers and bucktails (like a Mustad 79580, Daiichi 2220 or equivalent) especially if you fish streamers in larger sizes for trout to keep the hook gap a manageable size.

    Scud hooks like a TMC 2487 (fine wire) or TMC 2457 (heavy wire) depending on the depth you want to fish. These are curved hooks 2x short with a wide gap. They’re good for caddis pupa, scuds. And the light wire hook is good for emergers.

    Wet fly hooks- for stuff like Soft hackles, a hook like the Mustad 3906 or Daiichi 1550 is a classic hook, with a heavy wire to help sink it to depth. But these have a sproat bend and do not except beads as easily as other hooks. If you are just starting out, you could use dry fly hooks for these patterns.

    Here's a hook chart to compare apples and oranges of hooks from different manufacturers:

    Fly Hook Comparison Chart


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Metuchen, N.J.

    Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    I always thought that the turned down eye would make the hook rotate slightly when you struck because the hook eye was slightly more in line with the point allowing for easier hookups.
    Different hook manufacturers use different metal formulas in their hook manufacturing so wire diameters are slightly different between brands....

  5. Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    I was remiss and going back and reading my first post i do agree with peregrines that a nymph will usually ride point down especially on the drop but being most nymphs are tired with the bulk of the material on the back side of the hook and when the fly is stripped it does tend to turn the fly hook up being the leverage of the pull is offset to the point side of the hook and with the weight of the material on the back side of the hook in most cases i have seen the fly turn over ........having played in the shallows of some very clear water but if i did not convey my point in a diligent manner then that is where i was remiss happy fishing out there and welcome to the awesome world of tying flies
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Metuchen, N.J.

    Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    I think that the weight of the hook bend part of the hook would be heavier than the material you add on top. A Catskill style fly will land hookpoint down because of the weight of the hook bend area. I fish a lot of wet flies & all the outboard weight is on the top but they ride point down. All the nymphs I tie have very little weight difference between the top & bottom of the fly, just a wing case & possibly legs, although I like to put them on the sides or bottom of the fly.. Of course this is IMHO

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why down turn hook eye???

    So your wondering why some hooks have the eye turned down right? well did you know that some hooks have the eye turned up? Ya it is ture. However, in all reality it usually means one thing. the hook is made for a type of fly that the eye down helps pass it off as a real thing. I do a lot of scuds and their hook has a bend and has a the eye turend down. If you know what a scud is then you will see how a normal hook and eye would not pass for it very well...same with some larva and nymph imitators. Check the hooks you got to see if their used for a type of tieing. Now I know that for dry flies I would look for a lighter weight hook since I got to get it to float. A thinner lighter hook would make it work better. though most often a small size 10-8 hook is easy to get to float with little effort. Also have you thougth that their is no reason behind the eye except for the co. that makes the hook providing an extra option.
    <*))))>< Fish with teeth ... If I ty it a fish will hit it

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