Hooks-Then vs. Now

Anything fly tying...
SgtMajUSMC
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Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

Your thoughts, please. I started tying flies in 1976. The books showed some pretty standard hooks for dries, wets, nymphs, and streamers. Compared to the variety available today...are all of the "specialty hooks" a necessity, or a gimmick?

As an example, I remember buying my first box of TMC 200's back in the mid to late 80's, and thinking that it would really make a difference on the way some nymphs looked (compared to the shape of a natural). I think that was an accurate statement. What I am unsure of is whether it makes a difference where it counts, though...to the fish.

Does anyone have an opinion, one way or the other? There are some standout aspects to many of these hooks: Smaller barbs, chemically sharpened, a more durable finish, finer/heavier wire, etc. I'm just unsure of a "need" for all of the different shapes that we tend to use.

Thanks,

Tim

Jerry G
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by Jerry G »

As far as the different shapes of hooks that are available today I feel they have very little to do with catching fish but are simply maketing ploys to hook the fly tier.

Regards, Jerry

redietz
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by redietz »

Jerry G wrote:As far as the different shapes of hooks that are available today I feel they have very little to do with catching fish but are simply maketing ploys to hook the fly tier.
I agree. Want to make a more curved fly? Tie further back around the bend.
Bob

catskilljohn
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by catskilljohn »

I feel like everything else, time makes things better. With hooks? Man, have they come a long way. It was common to open a box of Mustads from the 70's and have 2,3 maybe more "mutant" hooks. Eyes open, no point, twisted, mangled but unusable, not to mention almost all the points needed touching up. Tempering was questionable too. Same with Allcocks. Today you would have to buy alot of boxes before you find even 1 bad one.

I love the micro-barb hooks, just a little squeeze and the barb is gone, with the old hooks if you didn't pinch it perfect you broke the hook. Chemical sharpening really makes a dangerously sharp hook point too.

I used to look at all the "new" different shaped shanks and dream of the cool patterns you could tye with them, but actually, a model perfect in my opinion is the best shape for hookability. Those 200 series hooks are fish losers if you ask me, as well as the down eye scud hooks that contribute to light hookups.

Tying flies is fun, and its cool to have such a wide variety of style hooks to choose from, and thats what its all about. But for simply hooking fish, staying with the basics is the best choice. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

redietz
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by redietz »

catskilljohn wrote:I feel like everything else, time makes things better. With hooks? Man, have they come a long way. It was common to open a box of Mustads from the 70's and have 2,3 maybe more "mutant" hooks. Eyes open, no point, twisted, mangled but unusable, not to mention almost all the points needed touching up. Tempering was questionable too. Same with Allcocks. Today you would have to buy alot of boxes before you find even 1 bad one.
There's no doubt that the metallurgy is better today, and I do like the micro barbs. The reality of Mustad hooks is that yes, 2 or 3 (at least) mutant hooks per 100 pack was the rule back in the day, but today we're buying 25 packs, and I'm still seeing at 2 or 3 per mutants across 4 packs. With the smaller barbs, I'm also seeing at least one per pack of hooks through the eye of another hook, that I can't get apart without flattening the barb. Since I flatten the barb anyway it's not a big deal, but Mustads are the only hooks I see this with. I still tie with Mustads more often than all the others together, though. At least the hooks don't break as often as they did. Back in the 70's, I lost far more fish because the hook broke than because the leader broke.
Bob

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ewpeper
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by ewpeper »

I think as fly tyers we are in a kind of "golden age" of hook choice, particularly when it comes to the variety of barbless hooks available. My primary dry fly choices for this year will be TMC 900BLs and Dohiku 301s along with a couple of the Grip designs. After using the Dohikus for a couple of years, I think I can definitely say they improved the number of hookups as well as the number of fish landed over the TMC 100s and 101s I had been using for the same applications. That said, I also think they look like hell when used as the base for traditional patterns. :-)

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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Eperous
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by Eperous »

Neat question Tim… I think I’ve been tying a bit longer than you – but not quite as good yet…

I hate to be cynical about this, but the biggest change that I have seen over the years is the onset of “chemically sharpen” hooks, which I feel is a money making marketing ploy… :x I probably have boxes of hooks that I don’t use as often as others that are 20-25 years old, maybe more… when I do use those hooks, they seem to function just fine… I know that there was a loose unorganized consortium of fly tyers who constantly complained about old Mustad hooks breaking at the barb, I never really seemed to have that problem and I’ve used Mustad hooks since the late 1960’s… Also talked to Dave Brandt about this very perceived issue at a fishing show once and he didn’t seem to have any problems with old Mustads either… :o

So I tend to think hook manufacturers/suppliers came out with a gimmick; chemically sharpened hooks that large portions of the angling world bought into… then they seemed to charge more for this latest innovation, but instead of selling hooks by the boxes of 100 anymore where we would really feel the sting of increased prices :o :shock: :? , we now buy them in packs of 25 which even inflates the cost further, more packaging and more handling… :x :x

Like I said, I hate to be cynical but does anyone know where I can purchase some old reindeer horn or bone hooks like these..

Image

These were good enough for the first few fishers of the world, and they're good enough for me... plus now I'd have a vaild reason for breaking off, and losing trout... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Ed

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Joe Fox
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by Joe Fox »

Wow John I could not have said it better, I agree with almost everything.

I think we forget a lot of the less popular hooks of days gone by. Mustad's catalog of freshwater hooks is quite small compared to the 100's models they have had. Allcock was not much better, anyone know for sure how many different 4991's they made??? Wide selection of redundant hook is nothing new. What is new, even from the 70's is the availability of any of them thanks to the internet.

I don't think chemically sharpened hooks are a gimmick, there is a lot to be said to starting with a great point. I find a lot are scary sharp and sometimes it is hard no to get hooks pricking you. I think when nymph, wet or streamer fishing these super sharp hooks do help a lot, even if a lot is only a 5% increase (no idea what the real % is) in hookup rate. Older hooks were sharp, but not this sharp.
Micro barbs are great, both for debarbers and non debarbers. For the debarbers there are less broken hooks. For those who refuse to debarb less damage is done in the hooks removal.

As for hook design I think think there are many from the major brands. I do think there is a lot of misuse, as in trying to use the hook in a way it's design does not allow. The Weamer True Form hook is a great example. Many hate it because they say they get bad hookups, but if you tie the fly correctly the hookup issues vanish.

Joe

narcodog
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by narcodog »

I'm not as analytical as others I just tye flies. Ninety percent of the flies I tye are on old Mustads and I have experienced very few hook breaks on debarbing even the lightest wire hooks so I'll stick with them. I have to agree though with Joe that the micro barbs and chemical sharping is an awesome step forward. There are some that will stick you just by looking at them. What I have found when you use them while nymphing is that they will dull quicker then the older style hooks as they bounce on the rocks.

Another thing is the price, I can't see spending big money for for some of these newer hooks like TMC, when a Mustad will do just fine. I will say this I do like the Grip and some of the Gamakatsu hooks. The problem being that some of the old Mustads are hard to find. CJ turned me onto 3399D's and they are just about impossible to find. I did find a source for 94845's and I have stocked up on those the last time I was in Roscoe.

The 200 style hooks I gave all of those away after I read an article on the poor hook ups with them.

dennis
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Re: Hooks-Then vs. Now

Post by dennis »

Today I had to go shopping with the family. I went to Gander Mountain to buy some wood chips for the smoker. But after I got what I came for I happened to stroll over to the Fly fishing section to see if they had a size of dry fly hook that I was running low on (94840 # 14). To my surprise they had very few boxes of 100’s mostly boxes of 50’s and 25’s that were in my opinion very high in price. Granted I am not use to buying hooks in this small of quantity, but there is no way I would ever pay 3.99 for 25 standard dry fly hooks. or even 8.00 to 9.00 for 100. They didn't have any 14's and the salesmen said they must be a popular size. :roll: Maybe I'm behind the times but these where not anything special just Mustad 94840 the same hook that I had paid less than 4.00 a 100 for about 10 years ago. I know there's a shortage but this is Ohio for crist's sake :shock: I’m sure you could find a lower price on hooks on line or in a mail order catalog, but if you only need a couple 100 hooks the shipping and handling eats any savings you might find. Also who needs a chemically sharpened hook to hook in the back of your neck. :twisted: That's a bunch of malarkey. :roll:

Is this the same price I might find at a large outlet like Cabelas or is Gander Mountain just high way Robbers?
I don’t understand how the price could jump like that. Are fishing supply companies taking advantage of fly tiers?
Could this be because of the special tax on Hunting and fishing equipment? I often wondered why you had to pay 25 dollars for a tackle box when you could get the same size tool box at home Depot for less than half the cost.
OK enough with my rants. Dennis

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