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"Hooked" on Tying Flies


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Can someone provide a simple explanation regarding the methodology for determining size and thickness with respect to hooks for tying flies?


Have checked various websites associated with fly hook comparisons (i.e, Mustad, Gamakatsu, Tiemco and Diichi, and found the codings in the comparisons to be confusing (1X fine standard dry; nymph 2X short and 2X strong; multi-use 3X strong).


To compound the issue further, in Tim Holshlag's book "Smallmouth Fly Fishing", he references various hook sizes differently for his top 20 smallmouth flies by citing hooks by shank dimension and gap dimension.


To top it off, in Lefty Kreh's DVD "Handcrafting Effective Flies", he cites yet another approach for hooks . . . namely, 3x long hook; standard hook length; hook with wide gap.


Would appreciate a Hooks 101 summary before I commence purchasing hooks on my new vice for smallmouth, largemouth, crappies and panfish. Thanks . . . most appreciative!

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For bass, in my opinion, two basic hooks will get you started. I like the Mustad 3366, which is a wide gapped bass hook. It is inexpensive and can be used for everything from Clouser minnows to deer hair poppers. The wide gap makes for an easy hook set. I also like the Mustad 9672. It is a 3X long streamer hook. Works great for Wooly buggers and other streamers.


For the panfish I use standard dry fly hooks for surface flies and standard nymph hooks for subsurface. I will use a 2X long shank if I put a brass bead on the front. That helps keep the proportions of the fly in line. I like the Mustad hooks for these also, but I don't have the numbers handy.


Hope this helps.

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Hooks are like clothes. Sizing varies from brand to brand. I always considered Mustads a fair benchmark. However there are small, medium, and large #4 hooks when you look across from brand to brand. Then there are hooks like the Tiemco "special use" size 6 which is about the same as your typical 1/0 or 2/0 hook. The X game is fairly easy to understand though the standard is still relative to the brand. We have X long/short for hook shank lengths and X heavy/light for hook shank diameter. A common streamer hook is #8 3XL which is a #8 hook with the shank length of a hook 3 sizes larger (#2). A common dry flie hook is #10 1X light which is a number 10 hook made from the wire normally used on a # 12 hook. You can extrapolate from there, I think. I hope this gets at your question. If you can find hook assortments, they are a great way to get a look at many styles and sizes though I do not see that offered by many sources.

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