Do You Know How to Match a Fishing Hook to the Fly You’re Tying?
by Steve Galea
Just as the broadhead is the most important item in the bowhunter’s tool kit, the hook is what gets it done for anglers. Like all tools, you need the right fly fishing hook for the job. That’s because a fly is most effective when tied on the proper frame.
Most times, we’re lucky. The pattern we choose to tie, if published, will suggest the proper hook(s) that can be used.
But what if you are creating your own pattern? Then you need to take the following factors into consideration:
1. The size range of the pattern is the first – you need to find a hook that is made in the entire range of sizes. The next factor is weight. Will the fly be floating or is it meant to sink deep or hang somewhere in between? This determines if you want a light or heavy wire hook.
2. Hook configuration comes next. Most hooks these days are purpose designed. There are dry fly hooks, caddis pupa/shrimp hooks, streamer hooks, nymph and emerger hooks, bass bug hooks and a host of other specialty hooks designed to be platforms of the flies we tie. They often come in different lengths too. Longer shanks are ideal for stonefly, streamer, bucktail and worm patterns. Shorter curved shanks work well for scuds and caddis imitations. Which do you need?
Hook strength and material are also important. If you are targeting big brawny fish a good strong hook is a must. If you are fishing in saltwater, you need a saltwater fly hook with corrosion resistant material.
These are things you need to give some thought to before you develop that great pattern that will take the angling world by storm. Whenever, I go through this exercise, I look at proven flies that do the things I want mine to do. Then, I look at their hook’s characteristics to decide if it will do for my creation or if I need one that is heavier/lighter, longer/shorter or of a different shape.
Most tyers do this intuitively, and we all have our preferences in brands and hooks. But I think we could benefit by spending more time thinking about the hook we are about to tie all of our angling hopes and dreams on.
After all, the best-tied fly is nothing without a good chassis.
Winter is a perfect time to focus on creating that new fly pattern. Bass Pro Shops carries everything you need to develop a fly fishing pattern that will take the angling world by storm.
About Steve Galea
Steve Galea makes his living as an assistant editor for Ontario Out of Doors magazine, where he is best known for My Outdoors, his back page humor column that has run continuously since 1996. He also writes columns for five weekly newspapers across Ontario and has contributed to several books on the outdoors. When not writing, Steve spends time fly fishing and tying. He also enjoys using bow, rifle or shotgun, depending on the hunting season. His English springer spaniel Callie is an eager grouse and woodcock dog and he values time afield with her.
NOTE: Featured Image is of master fly tyer Don Reed, owner of Salt Water Fly Tyers in St. Augustine, Florida.