My understanding is that the up eye return wire salmon hooks were designed to a) allow a turle knot to be tied to the hook and have the line come out the eye in a straight line with the hook shank this was important for gut leaders which would break if crimped at an angle when strain was put on by the fish, b) protect the gut leaders of the day from chaffing, and c) to do these things without narrowing the effective gape of the hook.
observing my flys in the water ,,seems tde hooks don't swim as well,actually straight would be fine,,sometimes i turn the hook point up add dumbells,brass wire,kitchen sink,although i feel it is way easier;faster to tye on a TUE hook,anyone else??? oh yes i also fish doubles,,alot,and with the tde i have to bend the hook to get enough gape to get a hookset
well that's what i envisioned,got a massive box of doubles from G Anderson,said wow down eye!!!,but it didn't seem like they swam as well,work great upside down,crazy charlie style,doesn't matter though,,if i'm almost out it's a given ;;;haveta' have!!!!!
Whether tapered loop up eye or down eye really makes not difference. Both were designed to be tied to the tippet with a Turle Knot or some other knot that pulls up behind the eye; thus, giving a straight pull from hook shank to tippet. A straight, or ring eye hook is best to use if the hook is tied to the tippet with a clinch or other knowt that pulls tight on the eye itself for the simple reason that it provides the same straight pull.
Most eyed trout hooks were down eye, and most salmon irons were looped- up eye to distinguish them from irons meant for lessor fish like trout. Why, who knows. does it matter, nope.
The best hook to tippet connection is a braided gut or braided mono loop that is lashed to the hook's shank to form the eye. In other words, blind eye hooks produce the finest straight line, flexible connection to the tippet. The blind eye hooks do take longer to tie a fly on though because you must set the gut or braided mono eye loop first before commencing to tie the fly. But such action it provided the fly is something to behold.
Interesting thread. I would agree that the blind eye hooks seem to have more action. I have been playing with some this fall after one I tied a few years ago was responsible for a nice Kispiox fish this September. Rather than gut or braided mono, I have been using 30# dacron and stiffening the loop with cement. So far I have had no problems.
What advantage does the gut/dacron/mono have over a straight eye and a loop knot in your tippet? Never seen a gut eye swim so I have no idea, but I do regularly tie on long shank size 6 and 4 straight eye saltwater hooks.
i know a loop connection seems to give the fly more ability to flutter in the current,works great with popsicles,my prob is i usually fish sundown,and with these two handers,light tippets,clear water,i'm burnin' thru the flies,i have a bunch of blind eye hooks but they're quite small,some streamer sizes,i'm up for a trade,????
There are three advantages to using gut/braided mono/braided dacron loop eyes on blind eye hooks: 1) the straight connection to the leader; 2) the connection is more flexible than tying the tippet to the steel eyes; and 3) the connecting knot does not slip arouund the hook's eye at all. Combined, these three advantages produce a more mobile and lively fly in the water. It is able to swing about a bit and you never need worry about whether the tippet has slipped to one side or the other of the hook's eye, which makes a fly swim if a very unattrative way.
You can very easily turn any loop eye hook into a blind eye one by simply cutting the eye off the hook and filing or grinding off the sharp edge left from the wire cutters. I use 15# or 20# braided mono for my blind eye loops and have never had a loop fail. Just remember to lash the eye loop at least 1/2 the shank length and then glue the thread wraps (any good glue will work including ordinary head cement) before proceeding with the fly. I use Danville Flymaster (which is about 7/0 in size) or Uni Thread 8/9 exclusively to lash the eye loop to the hook and tie the fly.
Just what I need, a new tying fetish! A few years ago when it was rumored Cortland was going to stop selling spools of braided Mono, I picked up pretty much every weight in 15 thru 50... Now I know what to do with the #15! Thanks.
From THE AMERICAN FLY FISHER, the Journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, Fall 2003, page 19, in an article about the history of hooks by John Betts:
"Horsehair and gut competed on fairly equal footing for a century or so after the introduction of gut in the early 1700s. By the early 1800s, knotless tapered lines were coming into common use. They could be cast at speeds that exceeded the strength of the hair snells, giving gut a leg up. Within another fifty years, the process of making small, smooth, profitable closed rings at the end of thin wire shanks had been perfected, Horsehair can be twisted and braided easily, but does not knot well around anything, especially fine wire. It’s slippery, stiff, capricious, and comes in only one size. Trying to safely secure one or more hairs with a Turle knot or the knots we now use in hook eyes was and is impossible. Snelling was the only practical way to secure horsehair to the hook shank. Gut, on the other hand, knots well, is stronger than hair, is manageable and dependable, and comes in different sizes. . . .
“The modern hook eye brought with it the Turle knot. This clever removable snell requires an up- or down-eyed hook for its installation. The Turle knot looks like a last-gasp attempt to maintain a good grip on the devil you know—the snell—while reaching cautiously out to touch the one you don’t—the eye. Basically it’s trying to keep one foot on the dock and the other on the boat that is drifting away. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to commit. After what anglers had been going through for centuries, to suddenly be able to knot right into an eye must have been an awful lot to handle all at once in spite of the advantages it offered.
"Aside from the obvious benefits of gut in both changing flies and the reduced loss of flies through reknotting, it brings something else that is rarely commented on. When gut is tied to the eye, a hinge develops between them. It helps reduce the possibility of a set or the effects of a set [in the snelled leader], if one appears, and allows the hook to self-adjust instantly to resistance."
Yes, you could do as you suggest and thread the loop through the metal eye, this really messes with the ation of the fly though because the eye loop then become too long and the fly swivels all over the place. Aesthetically it messes with the fly's head by causing the head to be rather large in diameter before you even add the wing to the fly. And the water will puch against the hook's metal eye and cause the fly to swim with its head up at a rather pronounced angle.
That is why those of us who fish with blind eye hooks (either ones that were made that way or ones we cut the eyes of off) are particular about the eye loop, the length of the loop (it should be just large enough to put a 16d nail in it easily without binding), and positioning the loop underneath the shank. Also, if you tie with a blind eye hook, don't forget to leave 1/32 to 3/16 inch of the end of the shank exposed. In other words, you cannot allow any of the fly's head thread to go off the end of the shank because it will interfere with the eye loop. and produce a strange looking head profile.
Thanks for the recommendation to read Datus Proper's What the Trout Said.
In his chapter on hooks, page 103, Proper states: "The turned down eyed actually narrows the angle of pull and improves the penetrating qualities of a hook. In our very first angling book, Dame Juliana advised tying the line to the bottom of the shank, thought she did not explain why."
Interesting that up and down eyes were initially created to allow the Turle knot. With superior knots now available, there appears no reason to design a hook with the Turle knot in mind.
To summarize, hooks with up eyes offer no benefits, and are inferior to down eyes in terms of hook penhetration properties. Does anyone disagree?
Bob, I agree with you, but wanted to add two things to this thread.
Philster, thank you for the recomendation of Datus Proper's book. Somehow I hadn't heard of it before, and it is a very interesting book. I've always categorized hooks by gape rather than length so the Redditch hook scale threw me off.
Also, if your into midges Darrel Martin has a very good compililation of hook properties & sizes in his book Micropatterns.
Neither the up eye nor the down eye hooks when you use something other than a Turle Knot or one of its modern variants are best because both of them change the angle of penetration and also allow a fish to exert a pull on the hook's point and bend other than straight in line with the shank. The best eye for hooks is actually the ring eye, and for salmon and steelhead irons, the tapered loop ring eye, because the eye is in-line with the hook's shank. This is why all the best saltwater hooks use ring eyes.
However, getting 100+ years of tradition with up eye hooks for salmon (and now steelhead as well) or down eye hooks for trout, it would be very difficult to get the fly fishing public to accept ring eye hooks. For instance, take the very fine 7x long classic streamer hook made by Daichii that Dick Talleur (it is model # 2370) got them to make. It is a great bronzed, tapered-loop, ring-eye hook that is 1x strong and 7x long. In my opinion, it is perfect for streamers, including the New England Classic Streamer style (think Carrie Stevens) and it is available from #2 to #10 in size. However, it has not found a lot of favor with the angling public.
They are still made and can be found; but you have to look hard for them and many times you need to ask a Daichii dealer to special order them for you in boxes of 100 of a size. At the same time, folks buy a lot of the Tiempco 6x long hook with the down eye and it does not have the tapered loop eye of the Daichii or the limerick bend of the Daichii and they are 1x shorter and of a slightly lighter wire. The price for either the Daichii or the Tiempco is nearly identical; however, the Tiempco sells readily and the Daichii seems to sell only to those who want the advantages of 7x, 1x strong, and tapered-loop, ring-eye.
Another example of this is the number of small hooks (#18 and smaller) that have down-eyes, or up-eyes. Despite the fact that the ring-eye is best for these small flies because is doesn't interfere with the hook gape (as the down-eye does) nor does it cause the fly to sit cocked forward (as the up-eye does). The down-eye is still the most commonly sold and used hook in these small sizes.
Tradition is a difficult thing to overcome with most anglers.
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