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Hi Guys: I just returned from Ireland where all the salmon fly fishing I saw was done with flies tied on small, double and treble hooks. I also recently attended a fly fishing conclave in Bozeman, Montana where I met a Mustad rep who said there had been a study conducted on fish mortality in the UK concerning single and double hooks, the result being that the double hooks, by virtue of penetrating tissue more shallowly, were less lethal than single hooks. Other studies also have shown that large, heavy wire hooks with a substantial gap are fish killers and in some areas regulations limit the gap or require circle hooks. I can vouch for the fact that flies tied on double hooks hold very well and really are no more difficult to extract from a fish's mouth than single hooks. If all this is true, and so the evidence suggests, why don't we tie any steelhead flies on double hooks, besides that they may be illegal in some areas? The double hooks use fine gauge wire, hold well, swim the fly upright, and do less damage to the fish. Plus, elegant flies can be tied on them. What do you think? Thanks, Keith
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Keith,

Here in Washington any rivers that are designated as "Selective Gear Rules" require the use of artificial lures and single barbless hooks only. Since this covers nearly all of WA state's steelhead rivers, double hooks are forbidden.
 

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Keith
I agree . . . I wish all my steelhead/salmon flies could be tied on small double hooks . . . except for big bombers . . . singles there. But I also use small (10-12) doubles on my small waking dries. No problem extracting them, and the flies always ride correctly.
 

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I agree with WRKE.

I use doubles almost exclusively for atlantic salmon, except when fishing over size 6. A size 4 double just appears way too big for summer salmon (June salmon may be the exception).

The small doubles hold as well or better than singles, even when the barb is mashed down. I cannot remember hooking a salmon on a double where the hook was not right in the corner of the mouth. I have hooked salmon on singles in other places, including the tail -- but that is another story.

CK
 

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Junkyard Spey
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I can't speak from personal experience but here on the Clearwater there are some "old timer Clearwater regulars" using the small #10 and 12# doubles. I consider that these guys are very resource conservationist oriented and I don't think they would be using these hooks if they in any way thought they were bad for the fish.

I do sell a few doubles now and then and it seems as they are becoming a little more popular.
 

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I'd tie more on double ... BUT!

The darned things are far more than DOUBLE the price hook for hook from a single. Treb's are dirt cheap, but doubles ... ohmygod!:saevilw:
 
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I do virtually all my Atlantic salmon fishing using double hooks. This means from 2/0 flies in June to #12 in the fall. I also use double tube hooks when using tube flies, which is more and more often. Bombers and the like are almost always tied on singles, but that's it. I think, as pointed out by FlyTyer, that regulation has more to do with the lack of use of double hooks in steelhead country, both in the PNW and the GL, than any particular angler preference.
 

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I've read opinions to the effect that with doubles, wet flies tend to better maintain an upright position than singles. I've also seen it stated that single hooks can often dislodge and rehook during the fight causing more mouth damage than would occur with a double for which it was also stated that this latter hook is more likely to stay put during the fight.

For a long time I preferred singles since I thought they would cause less damage to fish. I've changed my mind and will probably go exclusively with doubles for wet fly salmon fishing. I do find that tying on doubles is more difficult, however.
 

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i have been steelhead fishing for nearly 30 years using all methods during all seasons INCLUDING drift fishing with bait. The only fish i ever hooked in locations other than the gums is while wither fishing a spoon in slack water (actually mostly coho which sometimes get hooked in the tongue)or while pulling bait divers which i never do anymore.

mostly i have flyfished and regardless of the size of hook or the number of points every single fish i hook is either in the nose or in the corner of the jaw . and i really do mean every single time. so therefore i fish whatever size hook i want and always a single barbless point and i am confident that my mortality for 30 years has been 0.

According to a canadian study on steelhead caught and released then counted after spawning indicated that the highest level of mortality is caused by blood loss due to hook injuries and this caused mostly by barbed hooks that were taken deep if i remember right.. so if you are hooking fish in the nose or the corner of the jaw your chances of killing one are next to none..

as far as I know there are no studies on steelhead indicating that playing them for a long time and exhausting them has any effect on the fishes survival rate or reproductive ability. HOWEVER i think it is paramount for anglers to land and release fish as quickly as possible...
 

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`release as quick as possible'

touche!,,i agree,;) ,now on the subject of doubles,,`rogue doubles' as the old timers call them,i love the hooks myself,not only reeking in tradition but,,they DO ride upright when `adding drag'to the fly(interpret this any way you'd prefer as that topic would constitude a whole thread by itself),and when the extreemly rare occaision occurs to take advantage of steelies rising to emergers,you can skate them,,,there are many varients in the doubles on the market just like single hooks,,,i have my favs,,,,witch i wont divulge since they are hard to find,,
The subject of taking the fly less deeply,,,no decent size steel has died from hooking and bleeding when using doubles that i've seen,smolt have taken the smaller sizes deeply but it's rare,counting the fingers of one hand rare,i recomend pinching the barbs down 90%,just enough to hold the hook during a headshake,and i do sharpen the points ever so slightlyyyyyy:lildevl: ,that's it,,,,there's my dollar and a quarter on the subject
 

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[QUOTEthere's my dollar and a quarter on the subject[/QUOTE]

And that's just about what the bloody things cost ... each!:saeek: Anyone have a reasonable idea why they're so darned expensive? Short of lack of demand.
 

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yes!

i was going to include that in my rant:chuckle: ,but i deleated it,yeah!,,stay away from them,,(more for me):lildevl: ,,actually if you chase you will find,,at reasonable price,but you have to look, ask when you go to shops,,one never knows!,,they might put a box on the counter(100 count) and say`ahh ten bucks we don't sell these any more',,it's happened!:hihi:
 

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Mustad's comments

This topic was very interesting to me since Maine is opening a short Atlantic Salmon season this year for the first time in years and requires single barbless hooks and immediate release.

So I emailed Mustad USA and asked if they had done a study and if so could they send me a copy or a link because if there was less damage from double hooks Maine should be requiring them instead of the singles -- here's what I got in response.
Joe


Hello Joe

Thanks for taking the time to contact us with your question. Mustad has not done any scientific study on this subject. I can however tell you that I have spent time talking with lodge managers and head Ghillies at some of the lodges in Russia (Kola). In running their operations they have looked at the damage done to fish from flies tied on singles and doubles. They told me that they saw a major difference in the two hook styles and that the double did far less damage to fish. In some cases, the operations required or strongly recommended that their clients only fish double hooks so as to reduce the damage to the fish. The main problems with singles were the hooks that went through the side of the mouth and exited the fish through the eye (in small fish) and how deeply a single could penetrate the tongue area causing excessive bleeding and death. The doubles cannot penetrate as far and therefore did far less damage.

I enjoy fishing doubles in Quebec and wish I could use them when fishing British Columbia and my home waters of NY.

Hope this helps


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O. Mustad & Son (USA), Inc. / Partridge of Redditch
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