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MartinlfDecember 18th, 2006, 7:18 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
Now that I finally have some time, I'm getting ready to sit down and tie some flies for next season, probably starting with emergers, my favorite flies to fish during a mayfly hatch. Scud type hooks have become a favorite, with many of my flies being tied on Tiemco 2487, 2457, or 2488's to allow the abdomen to sink underwater and be visible to the fish from a greater distance.

From past posts I note that Gonzo seems to prefer Mustad C49S hooks for fies that dip the abdomen under, such as his recommendation for Klinkhammer style ties. So my first two questions are for him (when he returns from his current trip): 1. What do you have against scud hooks such as the Tiemco 2488, 2457, and 2487, :) and why do you prefer the Mustad C49S? 2. The mayfly emergers in your book are tied on standard dry fly hooks, not curved hooks. Why? Do you ever use curved hooks for emergers?

The next two questions are for everyone else who has an interest in mayfly emergers. 1. Do you have a hook preference for emergers and why? 2. Has anyone tried the Partridge Klinkhammer hooks and what do you think?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPDecember 19th, 2006, 2:42 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
i've tied Patridge Klinkhammer hooks, but not many other curved hooks so my observations are limited. the klinks were amazing: their open shape and long shank meant that 18s and 20s were more like tying 14s and 16s. the eye and shaft part don't curve back towards the sharp end of the hook. Herr Klinken designed them that way because of "misses," he said. my local shop had to order them specially and they cost the earth. (come to think of it, the 14s never did arrive. i understand that Mustad bought Patridge so there have been some teething troubles in some types and sizes.)

anyway, they tied up so nice for this tyro that i couldn't resent the time or money involved.

other beginners take note!!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
MartinlfDecember 20th, 2006, 12:44 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
Here'a another source for Partridge Klink hooks. I'm thinking about trying them just for fun. This source also has all the colors of hi vis one needs to tie Gonzo's flies. (Is this OK, Jason? I've had a devil of a time finding the colored hi vis, and this might help some folks.)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CapoolongDecember 22nd, 2006, 4:22 pm
Baptistown, N.J.

Posts: 2
I LIKE THE Varivas nymph in size 16 1xh-2xw-2x short for my emerger patterns with black matt finish. puts my fly down a bit deeper
Upnorth2December 23rd, 2006, 3:54 am

Posts: 62
Not an emerger hook but give the umbrella hook a look too at Swedes Fly Fishing shop in Spokane and Seattle.
MartinlfDecember 23rd, 2006, 11:16 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
What an amazing hook!! Thanks, Upnorth2, I'll give them a try. For everyone, here's the exact link to the hook. Take a look!!

Capoolong, do you have a source for the Varivas hooks?

I like them too, but haven't been able to locate any recently. I believe the Daiichi 1130 is similar, though in the smaller sizes it looks more like a Tiemco 2487. I've also wondered about Kamasan (spelling?) emerger hooks. Some of them seem to be bent like the Varivas.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZODecember 26th, 2006, 7:46 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
My answers to the questions Louis posed about my use of emerger hooks:

1. Tiemco 2488--nothing, I like it. This is one of my all-time favorite hooks for the front portion of hinged flies. It's probably pretty good for some emerger applications. Tiemco 2457--I don't like the down eye. Tiemco 2487--same thing.

I like the Mustad C49S because it has a lovely bend, is not offset, has a straight eye, and because the standard wire is heavy enough to help sink the rear portion of the fly without additional weight. It is also reasonably priced for a rather high-end hook (Mustad's Signature series).

2. I do use curved hooks for some of my mayfly emergers. I use the Tiemco 400T or Daiichi 1770 ("swimming nymph" hooks) for the Half-and-Half Mayfly Emerger because, when inverted, it gives me two curves to work with. It produces a downward curve in the dun half and an upward curve in the nymph half. (This is a stroke of creative genius that I "borrowed" from Harold MacMillan's Vertical Emerger). I'm not sold on the typical depiction (in fly patterns and illustrations) that always shows the body of the mayfly nymph in a downward curve during emergence. Because everybody else seems to accept that depiction (myself, Harold MacMillan, and Ken Iwamasa excepted), I choose to do it differently.

I don't use curved hooks for mayfly emergers with fiber shucks because tying the shuck around the bend makes for a poorly balanced fly. If the shuck material is tied so that it extends from the short straight part of a curved hook, a much larger and more obvious gap (relative to body size) results and sizing issues become problematic (for me).

All of this is personal preference (prejudice?), and these hooks simply accommodate my own patterns and tying style. Actually, some of my most favored and productive "emergers" are modernized versions of old-fashioned wet flies. (This is because many more mayfly species can emerge subsurface than popular depictions and descriptions usually allow. Again, I try to use popular assumptions or misconceptions to my advantage whenever possible.)
MartinlfDecember 27th, 2006, 6:55 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
Thank you for the help on this. Now I understand much better. It's interesting to note that not everyone prefers the down hook emergers that are so well-known. By the way, your emerger on the 400T or 1770 almost perfectly matches a sulphur cripple I saw on the Little J struggling unsuccessfully to extricate its abdomen from its very dark opaque shuck.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
MartinlfDecember 28th, 2006, 6:17 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
Here's another URL on umbrella flies. This one shows several flies and some tying instructions.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to make a durable extended body for baetids such as the one pictured at the bottom of the page?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Upnorth2December 28th, 2006, 9:59 am

Posts: 62
The owner and I are very good friends. I did International Show for Swede's in Seattle. We go back a long way. I often took him up to Lake Isabell. I'm the topic in one of his paragraphs on the lake. Monster fish in it. 20+ pounders and yes the rainbows were that big.

I use them, though I bend my own....they are not cheap. You should have seen his mouth drop when one of those rainbows come up and the bent hooks I had.
MartinlfDecember 28th, 2006, 11:38 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977
Upnorth2, I'm going to try to bend some too. I ordered some from Swedes that I can use for models. What hook do you start with to bend to get your homemade umbrella hooks? I'd think it would need to be something like a Mustad 94840 that wouldn't be too brittle. Do you break many of these when you bend or fish them?

On the link--what a fantastic story. I'll probably never get there, but it's interesting to hear such a place exists.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZODecember 28th, 2006, 1:02 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Those are cool flies and cool hooks! While I'd be the last person to discourage anyone from bending or buying exotic hooks, I would point out that this is a slight variation on a fairly old concept--the hanging dry fly. LaFontaine's Occasion is an American example and there are several (older and newer) European versions. I hope no one will get mad at me for suggesting this, but such flies can be tied on regular dry fly hooks. And, when tied in this manner, they have two distinct presentation advantages that the specially bent hook doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm a maniacal hook-bender from way back, and I'm being sincere when I say that both the flies and the hooks are really cool.
SofthackleDecember 28th, 2006, 1:50 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Do you find bending hooks detract from their performance? I've bent wet fly hooks in the past for certain patterns like emergers, scuds and fresh water shrimps. I've been doing it for years and only recently started using the scud style-emerger hooks.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GONZODecember 28th, 2006, 2:16 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681

Certain types of bends that reduce gap, change hooking angles, or crack wire can certainly hurt performance. But these things are usually pretty easy to test before you get involved in bending a lot of hooks in a particular way.

Tie a leader to a test hook bent in the configuration you wish to try. Close your thumb and first finger into a small O around the leader ahead of the hook, and slowly and carefully draw the leader over your finger through the opening. It's not exactly scientific, but it usually does give you a good sense about whether you've created any significant hooking impediments. If you're afraid you might slip and hook yourself, make sure the barb is smashed (I do this on all hooks). Or use somebody else's fingers! :)

You can test for strength by sinking the hook into something fixed and pulling the leader until something gives. If the hook bends or breaks somewhere other than where you've produced the new bend, it's sound.

Round-jawed wire-bending pliers are by far the best tool for this (almost as good as bare fingers and much stronger). Padding the jaws with tape or vinyl tubing helps to better disperse pressure on fragile wire. Clamping a hook in a vise and bending it with sharp, square-cornered pliers almost guarantees breakage.

PS--There are a number of standard hook shapes where I find I can actually improve performance by slight tweaking or bending.
Upnorth2December 28th, 2006, 2:48 pm

Posts: 62
Not sure if the last post worked so here goes.

Not to worry there are lakes like that. I'd come down to Gold Bar and stop at a cafe on Highway 2 with a few of those big fish and cars would stop. Just big, big, pulling fish. I'd go up to the Mountain Company and tease the manager about the big fish he said I was not catching. The steelhead in the Sky were a hard match for what was in that lake. The rainbows were just big fish. He does not have the courage yet to talk about the Kootenia River fish I caught that were over the 20-pound mark. LOL

I have a jig setup on a metal plate with small machine screws I coated with a fine layer of teflon. Do the same with a pair of needle nose pliers. Makes things a little more secure. Bends well and you can get taps and drills at any good hardware stroe. I've used just about everything from Mustad to Eagle Claws. I've heated a few but they get too soft, fine though for smaller fish. Getting a sample will help you make a nice jig.

I normally use a piece of cherry and put the hook in it and used a leader and slowly pull on it. If it breaks outside the bend then something is wrong, no doubt bending too quickly. Experimentation is the best way.

Have fun.....that Swede!!!!!!
Upnorth2December 28th, 2006, 2:57 pm

Posts: 62

Al did not get all my tricks. There's another bend that works for this.Gary LaFontaine was at the Seattle Show and stopped in the shop a few times I was told. Like anything experiment. Al no doubt got these because someone made them in a large enough quanity to mess around with. I've learned that there's really nothing really new in fly fishing, just new graphite or something else.

Enjoy....and let's see a fly and a fishing report!
MartinlfDecember 28th, 2006, 5:51 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2977

Thanks for the tips. It looks like Gonzo is going to have me doing a lot of hook bending, so this doesn't seem so daunting now. As for flies and a report, I'll see what I can do. Unfortunately I'm no good with a camera, but my daughter is and may be able to help me. You can read about one of my favorite flies in one of the older threads if you can find it. It's an upside down caddis. I do hope to do a bit of midge or nymph fishing next week, and will send a report if I make it. Don't expect to hear of big fish, though they will be wild browns who have never seen the concrete sides of a hatchery.


The thing about the umbrella hook that intrigues me is its ability to put the hackle underneath the fly and have the fly sit entirely on top of it, with a footprint more like a dun riding the currents. Is there a way to do this with an unbent hook? Might one turn a swimming nymph hook upside down to get a similar effect? The Daiichi Truform hooks may be good candidates for this also. As Upnorth2 suggests, I'll be experimenting some with this idea.

To all, I'm still hoping for an idea on the extended body. Anyone?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZODecember 28th, 2006, 7:29 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
The thing about the umbrella hook that intrigues me is its ability to put the hackle underneath the fly and have the fly sit entirely on top of it, with a footprint more like a dun riding the currents.

OK, I was going to send you a PM about this, but I'll take a chance and express an opinion on this subject. I just hope that the only thing that gets bent out of shape as a result will be a few hooks.

Everytime I hear someone wax poetic about the "little dimples" from a mayfly's feet or talk about how dry flies should ride on their "tiptoes," I cringe a bit. It's as though we are so enamored of the traditional above surface image of a dry-fly dun that we forget where they came from. Those little dimples are not visible from any distance in anything but dead calm water. Even then, their attraction value is questionable. Do we ever stop to think that one reason that fish are sometimes more attracted to emergers is that they can spot them from a greater distance underwater than a high-riding dun? Or that sometimes pressured fish turn to emergers because they have learned to shy away from the image of the traditional high-riding dry?

Turn your above surface dry-fly head around and consider what the fish are perceiving from below. Sure, the tricky parachute hackle makes a pretty good representation of mayfly feet dimpling the surface. But in the silver mirror the fish uses until a fly enters its window, what it mostly sees (especially if the water is ruffled at all) is a bare dark curve of metal penetrating the surface. Not only that, but it sees two of them--the real one and its reflection in that mirror. At least an emerger exploits this situation by disguising that form in the dress of an evacuating nymph. Even when these flies enter the zone of clear vision, it seems to me that most of the wing and body details are obscured by the overwhelming buzz of the parachute hackle. This seems like a lot to sacrifice in order to achieve that precious dimple on the surface.

With high-riding dry flies, the fish only sees something like what we see (in terms of color and above surface elements) in that moment when the fly passes into the edge of its circular cone of vision or its "window" into the outside world. Beyond that brief intersection, the fly passes into silhouette. This is why fussy fish often drop back with the fly, holding the image near the edge of the window for critical inspection. This is the only way they can see some of the things we see, and they still see the underside of that image.

Sure, such great theorists as Goddard and Clarke or Vince Marinaro made much of the "dimples" and of keeping the rest of the fly above water, but they were primarily concerned with flat-water dry-fly situations or "hatch pools" (as Goddard and Clarke call them). Even in these situations, I can't see the advantage of emphasizing the "double hernia" hook image over fussy flat-water fish as these flies do. (Marinaro and Goddard and Clarke tried to get as much of the hook out of the water as possible, and I think they were right to do so.)

I'll apologize in advance for this "rant" because it is really just an opportunity to get a pet peeve off my chest. And I don't mean to pick on these flies, they just provided an opportunity. I still think that the flies, the hooks, and the ideas behind them are clever and intriguing. I would just choose to exploit some of the possibilities in other ways. And, I'll repeat, similar hanging dries can and have been tied on "normal" hooks, with greater advantages.

I really don't want to deter anyone's experimentation here, least of all for my good friend Louis. But I do think it is worth considering the fish's perspective before we get too caught up in an image that they never see, or never see in the way that seems so appealing to us. Again, I sincerely apologize to any and all I may have offended, and I'll try to show more restraint when voicing my opinions in the future. (But I'm not making any promises.) :)

In my temporary role as curmudgeon-at-large,
TroutnutDecember 28th, 2006, 9:55 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2558
Gonzo, never hesitate to share unorthodox ideas here! Fly fishing has plenty of advancing to do, and this is exactly how it's done.

I had taken the common wisdom about dimples at face value too, and I'll have to see what I can figure out about that with my camera this coming year. It seems the "footprints" could be quite bright and noticeable if they catch the light properly. I imagine this is the basis of the observations by Marinaro and others. But perhaps that phenomenon is more restricted to specific lighting situations than they had originally supposed.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZODecember 28th, 2006, 10:25 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Thanks Jason. Those "footprints" can indeed be quite bright under the right conditions. It depends not only on lighting, but the condition of the surface of the water, the size and weight of the fly, and also the color or brightness of the stream bottom as it reflects in the underside of the surface. Even the fish's depth relative to the surface will play a large role. Interestingly, those flashes from the footprints are often most noticeable when the fly strikes the water, yet emerging duns rise to and through the surface, and only rarely land upon it.

Dry fly purism seems to have colored the observations of many authors. While both Marinaro and the Goddard/Clarke team are very great heroes of mine and made some of the most telling and accurate observations about the way fish perceive flies, I do think that some of their observations (and even some of the supporting photographs) are arranged to fit their conclusions in an almost Bushlike way. (Sorry about that last comment--I couldn't resist!) :)

My main problem with the above-mentioned flies is that the positioning of the potentially fish-attracting/fish-convincing elements and the potentially fish-repelling elements seems to be backwards. (They are arranged in a way that seems to be attractive to a fisherman viewing them from the side or above the surface.) I do think that hanging dry flies have some very interesting and underutilized traits--it's just that these flies don't seem to take very good advantage of those traits.

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