Favorite Hook? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite Hook?

I've just started tying my own flies, currently streamers for steelhead. I'm really enjoying it but realized I made a mistake buying a collection of cheap hooks from Amazon. I'm finding those hooks bend or break easily when fished and it's frustrating after all the work I put into tying.

Can any one recommend good quality hooks for both nymphs, hackles and streamers? Ones that I can trust to hold up under normal fishing conditions.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 05:55 PM
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McNeese Blue Heron hooks.

Bring the swing.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 01:01 AM
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Blue Heron, Tiemco, Ahrex, Gamakatsu in no particular order. I use the hook that suits the pattern and accomplishes how Iím trying to fish the fly.

Hope that helps.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 06:08 AM
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not sure , but i think the mcneese hooks are not in production any more . that is what dave told me . so.... let the hoarding begin . pearsall silk part 2 .
thanks , jim

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 07:15 AM
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I would add Mustad to the mix as well. Been tying on them for 50+ years. They used to be a bit brittle, but today's are fine hooks and a little less expensive than some of the others.

Petri Heil,
The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits - Albert Einstein
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 08:16 AM
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Love the Gamakatsu t10-6h for wets. Daiichi 2271 is great for streamers and dee styles.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 09:33 AM
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For dees and speys, can't beat the Blue Heron. For smaller hairwings and wets, I really like the Daiichi 2161. For buggers and strip leeches and the like, the Mustad R73-9671 is my go to. For intruder and stinger type flies, Aqua Talon hooks in size 2 and 6.

Mend it!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 10:34 AM
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McNeese Blue Heron, Gold Daiichi 2055, Partridge Bartleet.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 10:45 AM
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If you are serious about catch and release mortality, inline circle hooks are the best. If you tie on tubes, snelling these in-line circle hooks is even better if you use a hook with a turned up eye. I've been exclusively using Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks Circle Inline Point NS since 2017. Hookups are pretty much automatic.

If you are an active hook setter, you are going to miss hookups or lose fish. If you learn to relax that instinctive jerk, your hookup rate will probably increase over what you are doing now with J hooks. Most of my hookups are corner of the mouth or top lip. I occasionally get external hook sets too. A passively fished circle hook is pretty sticky. Bend the barb over or file it off. The hook tip points toward the shank and actually acts like a barb but is very easy to remove when you land a fish. Snelled stingers are even better for short grabs. There are days when well over 50% of my hookups are on the stinger.

Some trout and salmon people swear at instead of by circle hooks. Personally, I think they are wrong but I also think that few if any have every tried them or know how to fish them correctly. Perhaps the myth that they don't work started with people who tried offset circle hooks, and while these work well on a long line, they are not recommended for artificials or flies.

I understand that you steelheaders get so few hookups that it might only take one missed grab or lost fish to convince you circle hooks are evil. Try them on trout for awhile this summer to develop the skill and confidence to use them on steelhead.

The herring arrive in a couple of weeks and our holdover stripers will be ready for them. This (overdressed) flatwing with a 1/0 main and a #1 stinger is an early season favorite of mine.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 10:52 AM
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For an articulated steelhead fly the stinger hook most people use is some sort of size 2-4 octopus style stinger hook (Gamakatsu, Aqua flies, Opst). I haven't noticed a huge difference in hook-up or landing rate between any of them. We also don't really set the fly in the rivers I fish for steelhead. Maybe a set if your stinger hook is slightly dulling, but I would swap it out if I felt it was going to hinder a take. A steelhead is going to take the fly and turn, setting the hook themselves, if anything a trout style hook set is going to lose you steelhead. This is specifically for swinging flies for steel, obviously nymphing you have to set the hook.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 01:37 PM
18 foot spey rod DV8
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How does a snelling perform vs a free swinging circle hook?
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 03:52 PM
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Here is some of the work that has been done on circle hook comparisons with J hooks. It looks like I should be using a slightly different circle hook. I have been using the type with a turned up eye so there is no kink at the eye which might weaken the leader. My breakoffs tend to be where I join the tippet to a tippet ring with an orvis knot rather than at the hook.

The States here on the East Coast (USA) have been encouraging bait fishermen to switch and some States are phasing in requirements. There is also a movement to replace treble hooks on plugs to a single circle hook. Flies are the last frontier it seems. I met another fisherman last season who ties exclusively on circle hooks (can't snell those) who has had more or less the same experience that I have had though I tie on tubes.

I know there is research on the offset versus inline circle hooks but can't seem to find it. Here is something of interest along those lines. It turns out that people who fish for catfish are really into circle hooks and this inline-offset hook concept is a hot topic for discussion though it is largely driven by opinion rather than controlled experiments.

I ran across another related paper where striped bass were tagged and put in a large pond. The researchers fished for them with both types of hooks. Tough work but someone has to do it. The findings on post catch mortality were interesting. Most fish seemed to be more less unharmed at release but within 24 hours, a significant number were dead. I'll keep looking for that one and post it if I can find it.

The bottom line for me is successful catch and release is more important than the rest of the fishing process.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 04:34 PM
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Tom, that’s a seriously good looking fly. Nice detail and I bet looks deadly in the water. I tie something similar albeit more ratty looking as I’m tying five in ten minutes before I head out the door. I tied a few of these this morning before heading out.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 04:35 PM
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Tied on a 51mm Aqua Flies shank and fished with Aqua Flies #1.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2020, 04:57 PM
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If you are concerned about hook strength, consider tying and fishing tube or shank style flies. Whether you use standard 4 or 5 extra short octopus or circle hooks, or my fave, the Daiichi Boss, I have absolutely no doubt that they hook better and almost never bend out than longer shanked hooks. Surprised nobody mentioned Owner hooks, as they are also terrific. To be honest, I tie few shanks or tubes, not because they don't work great, but because they don't appeal to me.
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