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1

At a Glance: Hooks & Shanks

We stock a wide variety of quality fly tying hooks from Tiemco, Daiichi, and Mustad, along with other brands. Our coldwater hook selection includes dry fly, nymph, streamer, salmon, steelhead, and egg with bass, popper, and saltwater models for warm and saltwater tying. We also carry articulated shanks for tying Intruder-style flies and other patterns that require sections to move independently.

Bronzed steel and stainless steel are the most common materials for fly hooks, although nickel is sometimes used. The shape, style, and size of the fly pattern determine the hook shape needed, so each hook design reflects different dimensions and properties for the varying types of flies. Fly fish hooks can have long, short, curved, or straight shanks with up, straight, or down-turned eyes.

Dry Fly hooks rely on lightweight wires with a “standard” length of 1X (meaning one size length) for shorter shanks, or 1X, 2X, or 3X for longer shanks. Traditional dries like the March Brown Catskill or an Elk Hair Caddis require standard shank hooks, while more extended patterns like stonefly and attractor patterns, such as a stimulator, hopper, or the larger mayfly imitations, take long hooks in 1, 2, or 3 XL sizes. Most dry fly hooks feature a turned-down eye, so the fly sits in the correct orientation on the water. Hooks size 20 or smaller typically have straight or "up eyes," which helps hook fish on such a small fly. An Emerger-style hook is a light wire hook with a curved shank like a scud hook. Its more delicate wire helps this hook style float or hang just below the water surface.

Streamer hooks, as the name implies, are for tying streamers and the baitfish imitations. The Clouser Minnow, Wooly Bugger, Emerald Shiner, Muddler Minnow, and various newer baitfish imitations are popular examples. Streamer hooks are available in 1XL, 2XL, 3XL, and 4XL long styles. The wire is usually 1X heavy to account for the larger fish targeted. Some articulated streamer fly patterns require multiple sections to tie and will need a shorter or longer hook, along with a shank(s).

Nymph, Wet Fly, Scud, and Egg hooks are the ones fly tiers turn to when tying various sub-surface patterns. Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Prince, Golden Stone, and Pheasant Tail nymphs are a few popular flies, along with various stonefly and mayfly nymphs and caddis pupa. You would use one of these hooks to tie scuds and egg flies. These hooks generally use 1X or 2X heavier wire and 1XL and 2XL shanks or 1-2X short for egg patterns. Most of these hooks have either down-turned eyes or straight eyes.

Salmon Hooks are used when tying traditional-style salmon and steelhead wet fly patterns. These hooks range in sizes from 12 to 1/0 or larger. Salmon hooks are usually black or nickel in color with straight or upturned eyes with a heavier shank diameter and a more significant gap.

Bass and Popper hooks are available from sizes 10 to 1//0 or larger. The design of most bass fly hooks displays standard wire, a straight eye, and a large "stinger" style hook gap. Fly tiers often use bass hooks for popper and deer hair bugs. Specific "popper style" hooks are similar but have one or two humps bent in the shank. These bumps help retain the cork or foam popper body so it doesn't rotate on the shank after gluing. Popper hooks generally feature a straight-eye design as well.

Saltwater hooks usually depend on corrosion-resistant stainless steel materials in their construction to withstand saltwater. Baitfish, shrimp, crab, and attractor patterns demand saltwater hooks for many species, including bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, and striped bass being the usual targets. Hook sizes range from 8 to 4/0 with a 1X or 2X strong shank and a wide gap.