FLY TYING FISH HOOKS
Fish Hook Description and Information
FLY TYING INSTRUCTION

http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

HOME | VIDEO | RECIPES | TECHNIQUES
EQUIPMENT | HOOKS | MATERIALS
FEATHERS | HACKLE | HAIR & FUR
PHOTOS | CONTACT | LINKS

FLY FISHING HOOKS
The first step when tying a fly is selecting a hook This page will give you a better understanding of fish hook designs and structure. There are too many shapes and styles of hooks to mention all of them, and this page will explain the basics and most common features of a hook. Terminology can vary between one manufacture and another.

PARTS OF A HOOK:
Parts of a Fish Hook


Tapered
Loop Eye

Untapered
Loop Eye

Brazed
Ring Eye

Open
Ring Eye

LOOPED EYE HOOKS
Tapered Loop - Provides a smoother transition from the eye loop to the hook shank. Allows for tying a smaller head than an untapered loop. Untapered Loop - Not a problem with most patterns, but you will need to plan ahead or there could be a bump where the untapered loop ends.

RING EYE HOOK
(Also referred to as Ball Eye Hooks)
Open Ring Eye - Found on cheaper hooks
and are notorious for cutting the leader.
Brazed or Closed - Brazed hook eyes are
stronger and less likely to cut your leader..

 


Turned Down Eye
Limerick Bend


Straight Eye

HOOK EYE CURVATURE
There are conflicting theories as what is the best style eye curvature and their implications. Some patterns look better with an up or down turned eye and straight eyes are claimed to be more efficient hooking a fish.
Turned Up Eye
Turned Down Eye
Straight Eye


Streamer Hooks are Designed With
Extra Long Shanks. This hook has a
down turned eye.

PHOTO HERE
Popper Hook Shaft
Designed to hold the popper in position

HOOK WEIGHT
Hook weight is determined by the diameter of the hook. The thicker the diameter the heavier the hook.
Standard - General all purpose hooks
Extra Fine - Best suited for dry flies
Extra Heavy - Best for fishing in deeper water
Extra Strong - For fish with super strength

Continuous Bend Fly Fishing Hook
Mustad Salmon Fly Hook
Continuous Bend Fly Fishing Hook

Sweeping Bend Fly Fishing Hook
Alec Jackson Steelhead Irons
Sweeping Bend Fly Fishing Hook

HOOK BEND
Some common hook bends styles:
Continuous
Limerick
Oversize
Sweeping
York

York Bend Fish Hook
Swimming Larva Nymph Hook
York Bend / 3x Long / Up Eye

There are numerous styles of bends that have been designed for nymphs, scuds, ect...

Hook Size
Hook Size #26 Compared to a penny
The larger the number the smaller the hook.
Also notice the 1.5mm /1/16" brass bead.

HOOK SIZE
Hook sizes can vary between manufactures and with different hook bends and styles. Hook size is determined by the size of the gap. Fish hook sizes range from 32 to 20/0. Size 32 is the smallest commercial size hook and size 20/0 is probably the largest commercially available hook size and is used for big game fish. Generally hook sizes are even numbers such as #6, #8, #10, #12, ect... but there are exceptions like Alec Jackson Steelhead Irons which are odd number sizes such as #3 and #5 sizes or Mustad size #1 salmon hooks.

PHOTO HERE
Custom made size #100/0 Hook
This hook could be used as a boat anchor.
On the other foot, we have heard of custom made
size #40 hooks, which would be so small it is hard
to imagine what is the intention and purpose of such
a microscopic design.

Measurement of a Hook Shank
Measurements of a Standard Hook Shank
Gap Width + Gape Width + Eye Width = Shank Length
(This is only a general rule of thumb)

HOOK SHANK
A standard size hook shank is 2x long
as the gap, plus the width of the eye.
Standard - General fly tying
Extra Long - Best for streamers
Extra Short - Mostly used with egg patterns.
Several nymph and scud patterns use extra
short hooks.

PHOTO HERE
A size #12 hook with a 4x Long Shank
is equal to a size #4 hook shank.

1x short is the same size as the next smaller sized hook shank. A size #8 hook with a 1x short hook shank would be equal to a size #10 hook shank. (Hook sizes are generally even numbers #10, #12, #14, ect...) A size #12 hook with a 4x long shank would be equal to a size #4 hook shank.

BARBLESS HOOKS
For catch and release purposes it is recommended to use a barbless hook, which makes it easier to extract and causes less stress to the fish. You can easily remove the bard by crimping down on it with a pair of needle nose pliers, but in theory that could weaken the point. You could use a small file to remove the barb. Have heard that the friction from electric sanders can cause enough heat to weaken the temper in the metal and the point will be easier to break.

If planning to debarb the hook, it is recommended to remove the barb before tying the fly, just in case the point breaks. It is always a heartbreaker to tie the perfect fly and then have it rendered useless.

Before giving any flies to younger children, always remove the barbs.

HOOK COLOR
The most common colors for hook are:
Black
Bronze
Nickel
Gold
Other colors include red, green and blue, ect...

METAL COATINGS AND ALLOYS
Metal alloys are extremely important, but luckily most modern fishing hooks sold in fly tying shops won't be of concern. If you do see any flaws or the hook easily breaks, then switch brands. Japan makes some of the better quality hooks, while hooks made in China are more questionable.

Dublin Point Fish Hook
Dublin Point
Commonly used with Classic Salmon Flies

HOOK POINT
Spear Point
Hollow Point
Needle Point
Rolled-in Point
Knife-edge
Diamond / Triangle Points.
Dublin Point


Fish Hook Wire Shapes

Fish Hook Wire Shape
Round wire can be pressed for extra strength. This creates a oval shape with flat sides. The flat shape  increases the bending strength of the wire. You probably won't notice the wire has been pressed and flattened without close inspection. Some hooks have round shanks and the wire is only flattened around the bend.

Harrison Bartleet Blind Eye Hook
Harrison Bartleet Blind Eye Hook
Designed for Classic Atlantic Salmon Flies

BLIND EYE HOOKS
Eyeless hooks are used when tying classic salmon flies. Instead of an eye, the shank is tapered to a point that will accommodate the tying in of a silkworm gut traditionally used in previous centuries. Flies tied on these hooks are usually for display purposes only. There are dedicated fly fisherman who use blind eye fish hooks for dry and wet trout flies, ect...

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Some of the best hooks are made in Japan. Some of the worst hooks we have bought were made in China and should be avoided. Companies such as Eagle Claw are produced in the USA and the quality control is consistent. English hand-made hooks are usually beautifully designed, but might cost a little extra. With other countries of origin you can probably guess the quality by their reputation and would most likely be right.

Double and Treble Hooks

DOUBLE HOOKS AND TREBLE HOOK

Fish Hook Gage
This is a hook and hackle gauge
(Image for reference only and not scaled
to proper size. This hook gauge was included
with a fly tying vise we bought)

Hook and hackle gauges are available for reasonable prices...

Hook manufactures are continuously changing styles. Some hooks have been taken out of production or renamed. Any reference to specific brands or model numbers are subject to change.

PHOTO HERE
Magnet with a string attached.

It would be good to have a magnet in case you need to pick up fish hooks. With a string attached you can lower the magnet into tight spaces. We have lost flies between the car seats and with a magnet on a string, retrieval was quick and easy. Another time we dropped some size #32 hooks on the floor and could barely see them, but running a magnet over the area retrieved them easily.

PHOTO HERE
Mechanics Magnet Tool which can be
purchased at most auto part dealers, but
they are more expensive.


Worst Hook Awards

WORST HOOK AWARDS
We very seldom complain and just take our lumps. Would like to post a page with the worst hooks, but afraid of lawsuits. Lets just say the worst hooks we have bought were made in China.

BOOKS AND LITERATURE
Some of these historic fly fishing and fly tying books have interesting thoughts and insights on fishing hooks.

 

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

Fish Hook Description and Information
FLY TYING FISH HOOKS