Attaching trailing hooks...


Lucky if I get out anymore!
I have noticed that folks who tie "trailing hooks" or articulated patterns use different materials to attach the rear hook - ie, some use mono, some use braided line. What materials do you use when tying these patterns and why?


Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
20 pound backing or 40lb saltwater tippet. It's about the same diameter. I like it because it seems to last a while when fishing it. I havent had the line break on the hook yet. I have had a couple come apart from a crappy wrap job on my part plus 1 too many fish caught with it. The backing allows me to color it with a sharpy. I have a black sting leech then I can color the backing black as well.
Hope this helps
Dacron and similar materials are just a little limp for my tastes.

I employ Don Johnson's* method of furling a trailing hook and generally use 15 to 20 pound Amnesia Leader Material, or a variety of Maxima Mono lines.

Jack Cook of uses Fire-Line for many of his trailing hook patterns.

*Don has several articles on articulated flies on WFF and a great 'primer' on trailing hook fly construction on

For the few times I tie with a trailing hook, it's usually for pike, so I'll use 30 or 40 lb steel. The times I've done it for salmon, I've used a hard mono. I liked that the mono was stiff enough to keep the hook towards the back of the fly where it belongs.



Active Member
My business partner Clark ties a ton of flies with trailer hooks. I know that he is partial to 30lb. Fireline. It is a gel-spun filament, but seems different from the other GSP lines that I have seen. It is graphite in color, very abrasion resistant, and is somewhat stiff. This stiffness in particular makes Fireline great for this application (the hook is much less likely to fold and foul on the shank).
His preferred technique is to tie one or often two loops along the shank, pull the tag ends through the eye and double them back along the shank, then tie those down the other side. As a final step the shank is coated in Zap-A-Gap. If this seems like overkill, it may be. On the other hand Fireline is fairly slippery stuff and Clark uses these flies for both Steelhead and Chinook. I know that personally, taking some extra time at the vise is a preferable alternative to having a loop pull out of a shank.
In case anyone is questioning my motivation, we don’t sell the stuff here. You should be able to find it at most conventional tackle shops.
One advantage to this technique is that if you make the loops large enough, you will be able to replace a dull or damaged hook.