Thursday, November 11, 2010


I love hooks. Such a variety out there to work with. I will go so far as to say that they are a critical element in the success of a day on the water. From that initial take, to the fight then on to landing the fish, the hook is an invaluable tool to any angler. This makes hook choice vital to a fly tyer or even to an angler choosing what flies to purchase. 

I used to use almost any ol' hook. It didn't matter to me what it was as long as I could wrap thread and materials onto it I used it. I remember well my first lesson on the importance of a good sharp hook. It was fall of 1995 and I was fishing for landlocked salmon on the Saranac River in Plattsburgh, NY. This was the ol' salad days of salmon fishing on Lake Champlain. Lots of fish in the river and lots of big fish too (the initial sea lamprey control program had really been working well). I was getting takes on my fly patterns- which were really simple rabbit patterns- but not many fish on for long, and even fewer landed. It made me wonder what the deal was. Then I figured it out. The ol' Mustad 36890 salmon iron was my hook of choice. They were not sharp hooks. I started sharpening them before I tied on them and voila! my hook up to landed ratio went through the roof.

I still sharpen some hooks when I tie on them (I will save my pointers on properly sharpening hooks for another entry) but now I much prefer to tie with chemically sharpened hooks. All major brands of fly tying hooks now offer super sharp hooks. I have tied with Mustad Signature, Daiichi, Gamacatsu, Tiemco, and Dai-Riki many times and I love twisting my creations on all of them. I am also experiementing with some other brands like Matzuo, VMC and others. There are so many options available.

I will admit that these hooks tend to be more expensive than those that are not chemically sharpened. Personally, I am willing to spend the money on better hooks if that means that my clients, friends or I will have a greater chance of hooking and landing that bruiser we are after. And if you shop around you can usually get a good deal on the hooks you are after.

The end result of using a good sharp hook!

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