Fly Fishing Traditions

Fly Fishing Traditions Blog and Website
"It's about Life & Fly Fishing"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fly Fishing Traditions- Tips - Tie with Smaller Hooks

I've recently subscribed to an Internet newsletter from Deneki Outdoors, at It is an informative website with lots of good information. I recently came across an article which talked about hook sizes when fishing for anadromous species such as the steelhead we chase on the Lower Yuba River.
For years the "standard" hook sizes used in the pursuit of anadromous fish on swung flies were pretty darned big, 1/0 and 1 are "steelhead hooks". A lot of streamer patterns available online or in our local fly shops are tied on these large hooks.
In the Pacific Northwest many anglers are starting to use smaller fishing hooks that are quite a bit smaller – 1 and 2 for King Salmon and 2 and 4 for Steelhead. It is reported from these fishermen that a funny thing happened on the way to the smaller hook – they started landing more fish!
The common perception is that a big hook is going to hook deeper and hold more securely. It turns out that, that perception is not often the case. There are some other reasons to fish smaller hooks too.
Try fishing with smaller hooks and your success rate may go up.

Why Smaller Hooks Might Be Better

  • You land more fish. The anglers of the Pacific Northwest have discovered that landing rates are higher with smaller hooks. Most modern hooks are extremely strong even in smaller sizes. Smaller hooks tend to bury deeper, particularly in the corner of the jaw. Once a fish has been hooked solidly, smaller hooks with shorter shanks have less leverage to work open a big hole and eventually pop out

  • They look better. Smaller hooks are more proportionate to the flies that we normally fish, especially for steelhead. Do the fish care? We’re not sure, but if you want fish a fly that looks good, shouldn't those good looks include the hook?

  • They’re easier on the target species. Smaller hooks are less likely to hook eyeballs, backs of tongues, gills, etc. That's important.

  • They’re much easier on the non-target species. If you’re fishing for steelhead, chances are you’re going to incidentally hook some trout along the away. The point above is even more true for smaller resident fish – a giant hook can do an awful lot of damage to a beautiful rainbow trout.
So start tying your streamer patterns with smaller hooks and don’t forget to pinch those barbs!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.