Does hook type really matter?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Jason Shutt, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. I sure hope this horse hasn't been beaten. If so, someone send please send me the thread(s).

    But seriously, the range of hooks out there is a bit overwhelming for a newbie. I've been using the same Gamakatsu saltwater hooks for everything. Now I'm researching the Chum Baby and someone catches fish on a different type than Triggs himself and Bob states his experience to be totally different.

    So, what the hell kind of difference does it make?
  2. Lots of differences. Hook size is probably the most important thing to worry about especially when tying flies for coho and SRC. While I'm nowhere near being an expert, I would tie SRC flies on a smaller size than I would coho. Not saying that I will do this 100% of the time but generally speaking for smaller fish you want a smaller hook. I would then look at the shank and gap size and see if it is appropriate for the pattern I am tying. You'll also most likely get away with a smaller diameter wire for SRC as well. Then from there you could look at things like sharpness, durability and cost. Being that the eye is usually straight on SW hooks, I usually don't give that a second thought but it may make a slight difference if you have an upturn vs downturn eye.

    I haven't used gamakatsu too much in the salt except for stinger hooks. My tying box is filled with mustad and daiichi. The daiichi IMO is superior to the mustad but those dang mustads are OK and so cheap they are hard to pass up.

    FWIW For a chum baby I would think that you would want something in an 8, thin wire with a short shank.
  3. I have gotten away from the Gamakatsu hooks for at least salmon. I have had them bend too easily, and of course, especially on large chum. And on a low backcast I have broken them easily on the beach. For the salt, I now use either Daiichi or my latest favorite are the"Signature Series" Mustad that seem pretty tough and sharp (C70SD Big Game 2X/STD). The other Mustads saltwater hooks are NOT sharp and I now avoid them.
  4. The answer to your question is rather easy: Yes, it makes a lot of difference what type of hook you use, not necessarily what brand hook you use with one caveat: always use the best hook you can afford.

    I know this sounds like too simple an answer, but here is why it is a complete answer. The type of hook, i.e. wire type/dia, shank length, hook size, and bend shape is what is important. Notice, I didn't include hook eye (i.e. up eye, down eye, straight eye, tapered eye, loop eye, blind eye, etc) because the eye type doesn't really matter much for most flies.

    If tying a standard dry fly, you want a fine wire (1x to 3x fine) standard length shank, round bend hook brand doesn't really matter as long as it is a good hook from a reputable company. If tying a streamer or woolly bugger, you want a heavy wire (1x to 3x heavy), long shank (4xl to 6xl) hook, round or limerick bend hook. If tying a steelhead or atlantic salmon wet fly, you want a loop eye, standard length shank, salmon hook with a limerick bend. For saltwater, you want to use a stainless steel or cadmium plated hook so it stands up better to the corrosiveness of the salt water, shank length depends on whether you are tying a saltwater streamer, or a standard saltwater fly.
  5. I have a friend that will only use Gamakatsu hooks for all his flies, salt or fresh.
    I too have found that the Gamakatsu hooks are better for the salt.
    No matter what the brand, cheap hooks are cheap hooks.
  6. I don't necessarily agree with FT on the "fine wire" hooks for dry flies. I have lost a good number of large fish on dam it! I'm referring to small dries in sizes 16-22. When you hook fish of 18" + in streams, they can tear you a new one and bend the hook easily... did I say easily? .... go heavier in those situations of large trout. Something such as Tiemco 9300 are 1x heavy.

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