Recycling My Mistakes

Over the years I have tied a lot of ugly flies and, for some reason, have kept them. It’s time to toss or…
Does anyone have a quick way of removing material off hooks? Thinking maybe an acid bath, but I’m no chemist.

Rob Ast

Active Member
If you're going to chuck them anyway, maybe try burning everything off. If you trash the hook no big loss, but it just might work ok.


Active Member
Really depends on the material for me. It has to be something special, or that I know I can reuse. You have long streamer or steelhead bodies with crystal/cactus chenille? That's worth it, because it's not biodegradeable, and easy to reuse. Dry fly hackle? less so, although it can work pretty well in EHCs. Fancy pheasants? Yeah, worth it.

So first thought is "can I use it". The next thought is "can I cut it down" You got dries with too long hackles, weird tails, whatever, can you cut it in some way to fish well but differently. Cut the bottom half hackles, to make it ride on its belly, turn it into an emerger, etc.

Lastly if yo do go somewhere to fish the salt with chum, it can make sense to cut streamers that aren't quite up to snuff, and with either a marker or sparkling t-shirt paint, color the cut line, and fish it under the chum. It's a great tuna trick.
Save them until you need to use the hook they're on and cut the material off then. Clean as you go rather than the huge task of all at once. They're not going anywhere. Cabezon's razor method is the easiest.


Left handed Gemini.
After years of tying I must have a few hundred (at least) flies that haven't made the cut for one reason or another, I have them in boxes, bags, jars, and just lying around in different places, I cut them up (the razor method) as I need to (to retrieve the hook or material) and have lately decided to not tie a fly unless I can do it using a recycled hook, I've started doing this to cut down on the numbers of hooks I buy, not that hooks are all that expensive its just I want to thin out the huge amount of shit I have lying around that will never be used otherwise, but I must say the donation idea has merit I have alot of flys I tied early on that I tied on some mustad hooks that were very fine wire that I got for next to nothing, I stopped tying on them even though the hooks were extremely sharp and were great for excellent floating flies its just with my heavy handed playing of the fish I would usually end up with flies that were bent all out of shape and worthless so I quit using them, if a person were so inclined who, what, or where would be a good (and please don't just say me) place to donate to.

colton rogers

wishin' i was fishin'
burn it off, i think sticking the hook point in a 2x4 and when you have a nice row of flies make a few passes with a torch might save some time. as long as your not heating the hook to the point where it gets red hot i dont think it effects the strength of it much
Keep an old pair of seizor's around, cut most of the fluff and bulk off of the hook. Then just a couple of quick passes with a fighter will clean the rest off nicely without a large inferno. I have been doing this for years with no problems to the hooks.