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It is a gut eye loop and goes back to the early days of salmon flies where instead of a loop in the hook like we see nowadays a twisted silk worm gut loop was used.

In full dressed salmon flies you will see guys still using twisted gut but a dacron loop is also a way you can do it. I am pretty sure in Shewey's book on Spey and Dee flies he details how to make a loop out of dacron on your flies. Your leader is tied to the loop via various methods. The loop does provide a little more action to your flies due to the mobile nature of the loop as opposed to a rigid metal loop. Hooks withput a loop are called blind eye hooks.

IMHO you can mimic this with a loop knot tied to your flies but if a traditional look is what you are after the 'gut' loop is the way to go. Many antique hooks do not have an eye and this is the method of putting an eye on the hook.

Basically a way to traditionally tie a salmon fly but they do provide some extra fishing action to your fly as well. Guys who tie display flies are usually the folks using actual silk worm gut. The stuff provides that full dressed look but is not the best for fishing flies as it does seem to break down rather quickly. If you want to fish blind eyes I reccomend just using braided dacron.

-sean
 

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'Gut' eye ....

Hi All,

I was browsing the fly pictures and noticed a lot of loopes in the front instead of the metal eye. What's the deal?
The traditional (100+ years ago), fly fishing hooks (called 'irons' then), often did not have an metal eye. The eye was seperately created but tying in a catgut loop (twisted sheep intestines, actually, not from a cat!) before the assembly of the rest of the fly.

Although we have perfectly good metal eyes on our hooks now, it appears to be more aestetically pleasing (eye candy) to use 'blind-eye' hooks, and then construct a loop eye (now usually from braided nylon) in the run up to the traditional salmon fly tying itself.

It also appears that, mostly, such modern tied 'gut' eyed salmon flies are no more than eye candy, as very few are ever cast at a fish, ie, they are for displaying the skill of the fly tier, rather than being truly functional.

Why would anyone who wishes to hang on to any scarce resource which they have managed to entice to take such a fly deliberately build into that fly an added possible source of failure ('gut' loop to blind eye hook bond)??

Mike
 

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Bowing to greater knowledge...

I may have been mistaken in the materials used for such 'gut-eyed' loops of the traditional salmon ties, and I had certainly heard that silk loops had been used in the past, but I actually own some real gut eyed (not silk) antique salmon flies.

I would agree that such silk or gut eyes do have a limited lifespan being cast, in the water, and after the fly has been grabbed a few times, but the rest of the fly suffers such ravages also!

The more modern 'gut' eyes can be done with braided nylon (which I have used), or dacron as was mentioned above. These eyes, however, will not really degrade with use.

Mike
 
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