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StrmanglrFebruary 6th, 2012, 1:05 pm
Posts: 154
What kind of hooks are you guys using?

I recently went and got some new dry fly hooks from Gander Mtn. (got a gift card for em). $6.00 a package of 25! I thought that was way out of line until I got on line and found the same Tiemco hooks for just under $6.00. Then I found Mustads for less than $3.00 for 25. Are the other hooks really that much better?
SofthackleFebruary 6th, 2012, 3:42 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
NO, not in my opinion

Mark
"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: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
OldredbarnFebruary 6th, 2012, 5:38 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
I don't in any way want to hijack this post, but this is hook related and somewhat on topic...

Some of us older sorts have been carrying on about these hooks and their pros and cons since I believe someone created a darn hook. I have yet to have had "problems" with hooks...I remember one hook in a very nice fish, that once I had the fish in hand, I realized I was one good move away from losing him...He had nearly straightened it out. I have had hooks break on me as I was debarbing them...A good argument for doing it at the vise before hand or buying them already de-barbed.

Mustads have served me well...That being said, I have to admit I own some of damn near every manufacturer out there...It is part of our disease. :) I don't no why really...I even have some discontinued Partridge hooks (Marinaro Midge Hooks K1A, Grey Shadow GRS12ST or is it 15ST that were the preferred hook of Olivier Edwards for Klinkhammers, Roman Moser Barbless, etc) that I can't bring myself to tie anything on...What am I saving them for?!

You can ask a hundred anglers/tyers and you will hear from a hundred "born-agains" why the hooks they are using are far and away the best. Last year it was the "then" latest and greatest.

Strmanglr...I believe you may have walked on a landmine here. :) I'm surprised that your post has been sitting out there for a few hours and we haven't seen the wars begin...:)

I do occassionally look at a hook as I'm placing it in the vise and tell myself, "that's a damn good looking hook", but...I don't know what to tell you because before it's all said and done I'll have changed my story several times and swear to you that I'm sticking to this one, even though I know I won't...:)

We are a funny lot, no?

Datus Proper was serious about hooks and has a nice, though dated, discussion of them in, "What the Trout Said". At one time I may have been heard to mutter something about sticking to Mustad for my home waters and using the Japanese hooks for out west but I'll probably deny it if pressed...;)

I say, for now, use what you can afford and once, if ever, you run in to problems then you can deal with it.

Now you have had Mark's elegant "No" and another rather drawn out "good luck to you brother!" and if you finally figure it out, let us know and someone will tell you why you are wrong...:)

Spence

I would say something about the proper way to play a fish, but that would start WWIII...:)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TNEALFebruary 7th, 2012, 7:37 am
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
Several years ago I stumbled onto a company that specializes in hooks. they are top quality at prices from years ago. $6.53 per 100 or even less if you buy large quantities. I was skeptical; spoke with the owner several times before trying them. I've been tying for 57 years, and was not disappointed. Send me a note if you're interested.


Tim
StrmanglrFebruary 7th, 2012, 10:56 am
Posts: 154
I like Mark's "NO" in big letters.

"I say, for now, use what you can afford and once, if ever, you run in to problems then you can deal with it.". . .and that's probably just what I'll do.

Or, until someone can make a very sound argument to the contrary, :) what have I done? No, seriously, I don't know if there is a difference in the metal, how it's tempered and what not. I do have respect for people who try to make a better mouse trap and I'm willing to hear a pitch to judge for myself.

I do know this, I went to my local fly shop a time back and bought some 14 dries, and I didn't really look at them so close. They were more like sixteens, and had this funky lip right at the end of the hook. Not too happy about that, they still get used but lesson learned.


GldstrmSamFebruary 7th, 2012, 3:18 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Be careful when you are comparing hook prices, and make sure that the quantity is the same. One time I was at the store and I saw that one package of hooks was $2 less than the other package that I was comparing it to. For a while it stumped me until I looked at the quantity. The cheaper package had 25 while the slightly more expensive package had 50 hooks. So remember to check the unit price.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Shawnny3February 7th, 2012, 7:15 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Not every Mustad hook is the same, but the ones I've used generally suck. The Tiemcos are worth the additional money. The only question is how much you're willing to spend. But you do get what you pay for. And if you're going to be spending a lot of time tying things you're proud of and want to be productive on the water, then don't tie on a hook that is likely going to be the weakest link in your rig. Put it this way: Considering how much you spend on travel expenses and equipment, all to have the opportunity to hook a nice fish, do you want to chance losing it because you saved 10 cents on the hook?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
SofthackleFebruary 7th, 2012, 9:03 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Shawn,
I am not arguing, here, but I believe a lot of our selection of fly fishing equipment, including hooks, and their quality is often imagined. We want to believe that because we pay more for something it's better. It has been my experience this is not always the case. I have been using Mustad hooks for 50 years. I have never had one fail. I have seen Tiemco hooks, but never used them simply because I see no need to spend more money on hooks when I have good quality hooks for less money. this is especially true of the new Signature series Mustad hooks. I also use Daiichi, Grip, Dai-Riki and White River hooks from Bass Pro. I use these because of hook shape and availability, not because there is such a big difference in quality.

I would suggest Daiichi if you don't like Mustads. They are not as expensive as Tiemco, and are of good quality.

If you feel Tiemco hooks are better, I respect that opinion, but I know many tiers that have used Mustad hooks without fail for many years, and they've been completely satisfied, and paid less money. Also, the fish don't seem to find any difference. At the very least, try different brands, and use your own judgement.

Mark
"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: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
TNEALFebruary 7th, 2012, 9:25 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
I used mainly Mustads for the first 55 years and liked them very well... but I'm now using something better and much less expensive.
PaulRobertsFebruary 8th, 2012, 11:26 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Gosh... well...the following is as I understood things. So take it more as an opinion:

Early on, I always used Mustad, bc that was the best hook out there. At one point I sent some trolling flies to China with a friend to see if they could be produced there. The reply was: They could duplicate everything but the Mustad hooks bc they didn't have that quality steel at the time.

I've had some poor lots of very early Mustads though -94840's that weren't tempered right. But for the most part Mustad's were just fine.

When the Japanese hooks came in though, a notably better quality hook, things changed at Mustad too and they began to offer newer lines of hooks offering new competitive designs and most importantly higher carbon steel. These cost a bit more than the old standards, but not as high as the Japanese ones. Part of that cost I always assumed is the strength of the Yen and cost of living in Japan, but also in R&D bc the Japanese took the market by its shirt collar, like they did to the automobile industry.

I remember the first Gamakatsu hooks I ever saw (in the mid 1980's) and was shocked at the price! "Who would pay that much for hooks??" I thought. But over time, I got to see the qualities they offered: high carbon steel (which means a stronger hook per weight, remain sharp longer, and can be re-sharpened longer), sharpness out of the box, and consistency in these qualities, as well as some designs I could not get in Mustad -at least early on.

Now, these qualities were most noticeable (glaringly so against some Mustads at the time) in larger hooks such as bass fishing hooks (for softbaits and hardbaits), and saltwater fly hooks. With comparatively tiny trout hooks, the difference wasn't so obvious, being thin enough to get hooksets easily enough. However, with the original Mustads, and heavier wire ones esp, I sharpen often on the stream. Most people don't pay attention to hook point sharpness. For me, my hooks must stick into my thumbnail and not slide. This is critical with large fish like bass and SW species. It's also important for trout, although one can get away with more bc of the soft mouths and comparatively fine wire hooks used. But I sharpen my fly hooks as I fish.

For fly-tying, Mustad is what I have the most of. I use both their older styles and their "newer" ones too. I also use the Japanese hooks too, as well as some very high quality Sprite hooks from the UK (which I don't think are made anymore). And I use the Eagle Claw L42 for some egg flies.

Guess that's what I have to say about that.
OldredbarnFebruary 8th, 2012, 11:41 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Shawnny...

You probably already know of this, but check this out...It's down your alley...A friend sent me this link to another Hans web page and this one is the small fly challenge...Size 32 hooks! I thought you or Tony might give some of these boys a run for their money...This is hook related :)...Very small ones.

http://www.danica.com/flytier/sfp/sfp.htm

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
CrepuscularFebruary 8th, 2012, 11:56 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
I think I agree with Spence, Paul and other in this thread, it seems like Mustad saw the need to produce a hook to compete with the (in my opinion at the time) higher quality japanese hooks a few years ago, so brand may be immaterial these days unless you are looking for a specific style of hook for a specific pattern. So as far what hooks to use try and buy in bulk if you can find them, you will save money. Personally I tye mostly on tiemco hooks because thats what I can get in bulk. It's not like it used to be when I would buy 100 Mustad 94840's and 1/10th of them would be defective(no eyes,bent shanks,broken points etc). Quality control has gotten much better. I'm pretty sure that 99% of the time when I miss or lose a fish it's my fault not the hook's
OldredbarnFebruary 8th, 2012, 12:27 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
I'm pretty sure that 99% of the time when I miss or lose a fish it's my fault not the hook's


Crepuscular,

This was sort of where I was heading with the following, but for some reason I was afraid to say it...;)

I would say something about the proper way to play a fish, but that would start WWIII...:)


Somewhere here someone had a saying about "its the jerk at the end of the line" and he wasn't talking about the fish's end...:)

I have been out "smarted" by many a fish...They know better where their safety lies and I've made the mistake of letting them get there...Ending up hooked to logs etc at the bottom of a deep run...The one fish I mentioned above, that almost straightened out the hook in 1995, was 23.5" Brown and was living in the mighty Madison...A very strong fish in a very strong river...To be honest though, I don't know what hook I was using at the time, I had a "secret" guide fly attached to my terminal end...Once I hooked the fish and landed it they decided that I deserved to keep the fly...:)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsFebruary 8th, 2012, 1:22 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
You know, what big fish can do to hooks is surprising -even astonishing -even on fairly light tippets. Most trout anglers might never experience it, unless got to do what Spence did, or start chasing steelhead. There you are, you hit the run just right, and you are catching chrome. And then, you hook a big one, enough to scare you. And then it's gone and your old reliable hook is actually bent open!

Soft wire, and it doesn't appear soft under normal circumstances, will bend out from the sheer torque (if that's what it is) from a gangbusters steelhead on even a 4lb tippet. Too hard a temper and that hook might break. You can tell which is which when you de-barb them with your needle nose. What high carbon steel did was allow a hook that was easy to set (sharp and relatively thin) that would not straighten or break on a big powerful/hot fish.

Now Mustad makes perfectly good hooks for big trout. But, my point is, big fish can show you things that you might not have expected. That EC L42 I mentioned above, is NOT adequate for BIG steelhead. It's fine for trout up to ... 6-8lbs mebbe. If they are pushing beyond that, I'm going up in hook. I use the same hook for plastics for largemouths and it's fine for the 2-4lbers I catch here. But a buddy from down south scoffs at that hook, and rightly so bc he's got fish pushing 10lbs there -a different scale of animal. He uses Gamakatsu and Owner hooks he pays 5 times what I pay for my ECs.
CrepuscularFebruary 8th, 2012, 1:41 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Paul, I agree, it all depends on what you are catching. I'd say for most, if not all, of my trout fishing here in the east hooks are not what I worry about, but throwing flies in the salt, which i do a fair amount of, I only had to have one big striper straighten out a Mustad 34007, to make me switch hooks. I have to travel too far and spend too much money to loose that fish on a technicality. Those big fish from the beach are far too rare and special
PaulRobertsFebruary 8th, 2012, 2:09 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Paul, I agree, it all depends on what you are catching. I'd say for most, if not all, of my trout fishing here in the east hooks are not what I worry about, but throwing flies in the salt, which i do a fair amount of, I only had to have one big striper straighten out a Mustad 34007, to make me switch hooks. I have to travel too far and spend too much money to loose that fish on a technicality. Those big fish from the beach are far too rare and special

Yup.

I loved that beach FF too: stripers, blues, and false albacore. Such fun. Such adventure.
Shawnny3February 8th, 2012, 5:15 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion and has his own expectations for how a hook must perform. How you fish and what size hooks you are using may have a lot to do with how you perceive their performance. I used Mustads (the old standards, not their fancier new ones) until a few years ago, when I tried a pack of Tiemcos - and, in spite of being a confessed cheapskate when it comes to my fishing rig, I will never go back to the Mustads. Understand that I mainly nymph, where hangups are common, and I typically fish hooks in the 18-22 range. Here are the problems I have had with the Mustads in those sizes, fished the way I fish them:

1) The hook opens easily at the bend. If you bend it back, which is also disappointingly easy, the "fixed" hook looks fine but opens even easier the next time. After repeating this opening/closing operation several times, the hook breaks at the bend. Hopefully the break doesn't happen with a good fish on the line, but even if it happens in your hand, then you have to retire a perfectly good fly because the hook failed. Time at the vise and at the stream wasted. Even worse, if you fish with the opened, weakened, or broken hook without knowing it, you miss or lose fish.

2) The very point of the hook easily bends on rocks. Those of you who fish the Mustads know exactly what I'm talking about. This is annoying because it is harder to notice than an opened bend, and the kink in the point is usually severe, practically perpendicular to the shank. Good luck hooking a fish. Sometimes the point can be bent back, but it usually breaks on the first try. That means getting out a file and sharpening a new point from scratch, which is time-consuming. Sadly, the newly sharpened point is typically much stronger than the original, leaving one to wonder why Mustad made the hook the way they did to begin with.

3) The hooks are sharp enough for me out of the package, but they dull easily. Nuff said.

4) The hooks rust easily.

The Tiemcos are significantly better in every one of these regards.

-Shawn

P.S. Spence - PMed you.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
MartinlfFebruary 8th, 2012, 8:44 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2927
Shawn, let us know which hook you were using (hook number) and for what kind of flies. I think that may shed some light on all of this. I have some guesses, having seen some of your flies, and watched some trout bend them out one day on Spring Creek. For your flies and the fish you target it seems clear that you're better off with Tiemcos than those specific Mustads. However, on the recommendation of Loren Williams, a guide I trust completely on such matters, I just ordered some Mustad C49S hooks and some R50X's. They are relatively heavy wire for their applications, and I doubt I'll see them bent anytime soon. By the way, my current favorite dry fly hook is a Partridge SLD, a light fine wire high carbon hook. I've yet to see one of those bent out.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Feathers5February 9th, 2012, 10:24 am
Posts: 287Ah, c'mon. A fish on Spring Creek bent your hook? Seriously guys!
Bruce
Flatstick96February 9th, 2012, 11:01 am
Posts: 127
I'll presume Bruce is just kidding - Spring Creek definitely has fish that can straighten a hook.

I'll also confirm that Shawnny is indeed one of the most frugal people you'll ever meet; if he's spending extra on something, he's got his own very good reasons for doing so.

I hardly ever fish any more; I tie, maybe, 2 dozen flies a year. I have a bunch of old Mustads, and It'll take me another decade to use them up. So, for now, that's what I use. Like Shawn, I mostly nymph, and I've experienced all of the things he mentioned above. But like Paul, I'm really particular about checking and maintaining hook sharpness when I'm fishing, so when hook problems arise, I notice and address them pretty quickly.

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