Fly Fishing Hooks And How To Choose The Right One
Fly tying is a great way to combine creativity with fly fishing, and it requires knowledge of fish behavior and fly fishing tactics. One of the key components to mastering the art of fly tying is fly fishing hooks.
Here we go over the basics for how to choose the right fly fishing hooks for your flies. After all, the right hook leads to the right presentation and the right presentation leads to more catches!
How To Choose The Right Fly Fishing Hooks
There is such a large variety of fly fishing hooks available, it can be a little confusing knowing which ones work well for each fly, especially if you’re a beginner.
The good news is that we have some tips to help you distinguish between the different options and help you pick out the right fly fishing hooks.
Parts of A Fly Hook
The first step to knowing which fly fishing hooks to use is to know the parts of the hook.
Eye: The eye of the hook is the round part at the end of the hook where the fly fishing line is threaded. Similar to the eye of a needle, the line is threaded through and knotted to hold the hook secure.
Shank: The hook shank is the straight part of the hook that runs from the eye to the bend.
Bend: The curved part of the hook is known as the bend.
Point: The sharp part of the hook at the end of the bend is called the point.
Barb: The barb is also sharp, and is located at the end of the hook and is how the hook stays caught in the fish. Barbless hooks can also be purchased.
Gap: The space inside the bend from the shank to the point is known as the gap.
Typically hooks are made from three different materials, carbon, steel or stainless steel, and then usually coated with a rust and corrosion inhibitor and then finished with a bronze coating.
Types of Flies and Fly Fishing Hooks
Typically wet fly hooks come in three grades: heavy, medium-weight, and lightweight. Typically the most common shapes are round bend and sproat bend. Round bend hooks have a bed that is perfectly round. Sproat bend hooks are fly fishing hooks that flatten out as the bend comes to a point. This technique is supposed to add strength and make them better at hooking onto passing nibbling trout.
Heavyweight wet fly hooks are ideal for a large variety of wet flies and nymphs to even tadpoles. Medium-weight wet fly hooks are really popular because they are great for most nymph patterns and are also light enough for many dry fly patterns.
Most anglers would argue that if you’re tying dry flies, you should look for a fine wire hook so that it is lightweight. However, fine wire hooks can often be weak, and isn’t ideal for larger trout. The key is to find the balance between strength and matching the insects in the area.
Long-shanked hooks work well for caddis imitation, specifically with a slightly upturned eye. This type of hook pattern mimics an insect rising toward the surface and should be fished higher in the water than most other larvae imitations.
When choosing fly fishing hooks for nymph patterns, you’ll want to really pay attention to what insects you see on your favorite river. You’ll obviously want to choose hooks that are little smaller, and typically have a humpback profile and the shank is almost never straight.
The bottom line when it comes to choosing the right fly fishing hooks for your fly tying needs is to pay attention to the trout food you’re trying to replicate. If you’re fishing for small fish, you’ll likely be using small hooks. If you’re fishing larger fish, you’ll use a slightly larger hook.
Being mindful of the hooks you’re using can help us keep our rivers full of healthy and uninjured fish. Oversized hooks can injure a fish, and undersized hooks can be swallowed, causing internal injuries.
Our last tip is to make sure you use sharp hooks when tying flies because dull hooks can injure the fish’s mouth.
Have questions on which hooks to use still or wondering to get all the tools you’ll need? Head into the fly shop and get all the fly fishing gear you need to tie your own flies or replenish your supply.