Pattern What a Differrence...

...a hook makes!

I've always believed that if you ask 10 different flytyers to dress the same pattern, you'll get 10 completely different flies.

I also think that if the same tyer dresses the same pattern (the same way) on different style hooks, you'll also yield a very different fly.

I was pretty amazed at the difference in style or 'character' that came from tying the venerable Brads Brat on a "old school" hook (Daiichi #2271) and an Alec Jackson Spey (Daiichi #2050).


Cameron Derbyshire

Steelhead, Classic Atlantic salmon flies
Nicely tied! To get 10 tyers to tie approximately the same fly you'd have to give each the same hook and materials. You're right about the way a pattern will change just by using different style hooks even when using the same materials. If you're looking for a cool little project, try tying the same pattern on different hooks or different styles.

I bought a small shadow box/frame about 10" x 18" from a craft store and mounted my flies on cork. I just tied the Skunk. But I tied it as a Wulff, Bomber, Muddler, old style trout wet fly, long shanked streamer, tube, Spey & Dee, standard 1/0 steelhead tie, nymph, matuka, and bass bug. I'll have to search for a picture of this; I've got it around here somewhere.

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
What a Difference...

Nice work.

As evidenced by these two flies the hook sets the style for everything that follows. The shape of the hook influences the tier to make choices appropriate to that shape.

The Daiichi looks pretty close to the Brat found in Enos' book Northwest Angling.

Although I appreciate the sleek and stylish look of the Brat on an AJ hook, my preference is for the older style. I'm a real sucker for a nice Limerick.
In general, hooks used to have more variety and character than they do now. Most likely this came as a result of having more cooks in the kitchen than we do now.


I wholeheartedly agree with your thinking that a hook sets the style for everything that follows. In my mind, the hook itself defines the fly from both an artistic and practical point of view.

Case in point; I've talked with several anglers (some quite accomplished and renowned) who simply won't tie on a traditional Bartleet or Alec Jackson Spey hook. They believe that the design simply doesn't stand up the rigors of bringing an aggressive fish to the net. Yet there are other well-known and talented fishermen who won't fish (or tie) on anything but a Bartleet or A.J. hook.

Personally, I love the looks of some of the 'old-school' hooks, like the Daiichi #2217. Yet, some hooks from that older era present a real tying challenge for me - for example, the Mustad 3858E. Like the Daiichi #2217 it has a lovely (although large'ish) Limerick-style bend, but an ungainly-looking short shank, and a very small non-tapered return eye. Try as I might, I can't consistently dress a fly that (in my eye) 'flows' with the hook.

When it comes to hooks and hook design, I guess it all boils down to personal preference, eh?


BTW - Gracias (to everyone) for the kind words about my tying!