Black-finished streamer hooks [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Black-finished streamer hooks

02-23-2004, 10:47 PM
I like the appearance of salmon hooks for the color, as well as the shape. The question is whether there are any traditional streamer hooks offered in the black finish? Does anyone know of any? Everything I've seen for freshwater is bronze-finish. Specifically, I'm looking for a 6X to 8X hook. If nothing is available, I'll stick with my TMC300. TIA...


02-23-2004, 11:14 PM

Belvoirdale sells one they have made in England. Do a google and you will find them. Partidge used to make one called the Ken Baker Streamer Hook, but Mustad (who bought Partridge a few years ago) discontinued it, you might be able to find some though. I'd go with the Belvoidale hook.

My favorite streamer hook is the Dick Talleur hook of Daichii. Even though it is bronze, it has a finely tapered loop eye, is 7X long, and has a beautiful modified Limerick bend.

I almost forgot, Daichii also makes the J171, which is black, tapered loop down eye, 6X long, and Limerick bend. The down side, it is only offered in #1 and #2.

02-23-2004, 11:18 PM
but, if memory serves, the 'black finish' on the hooks is/was referred to as "Japanned." Can only assume this may indicate the 'black finish' hooks first came out of there at some point in time.:confused:

02-23-2004, 11:35 PM
Thanks; I'll look into those. When it comes to actually fishing these hooks, would you say that one stands out against the other as a superior choice? I realize that "look" may be just suited for flies that I intend to keep out of the water, but I'd like my fished flies to be tied on the black hooks also. The loop eye is important to me, BTW. I would think that neat features of a streamer hook would be a black finish, looped eye (up-turned, as in the salmon and steelhead hooks), 7X long with a Limerick bend. Of course, I'd like them offered in everything from a size 10 to 1/0, though I suppose that this "modified salmon hook" could be sized in odds (1,3,5, and so on).

Fred - I think you're correct regarding the dsignation as "Japanned hooks".

02-23-2004, 11:42 PM
And one more question, semi-related: I just ran across Mustad 36890's on Kaufmann's site; 100 for $9.25. Am I correct in thinking that these would be a case of "you get what you pay for", since most salmon hooks are much more expensive than this?

02-24-2004, 12:28 AM

Run away from the Mustad 36890's as fast as you can. They are awful hooks, poorly tempered, non-taptered hook return (the hook's wire is simply bent back against the shank and this makes it difficult to make a nice transition from hook shank to fly head), several hooks in each box of 100 will be malformed, points are too long, barbs too high, points don't hold up, etc. Yes, they are cheap; however, they are so poorly made that they are a waste of time and make tying into a chore.

The Daichii Dick Talleur hook is made in #2-#10. The Belvoirdale Sprite hook is offered in #2-#8.


The were known as Japaned black or just Japaned because that is where the lacquer was made that they dipped the completed, polished hooks in to paint them black. Japaned Black hooks are really only hooks that have been painted black instead of bronze.

02-24-2004, 12:29 AM

I forgot about Castle Arms, they offer a black, tapered loop down eye streamer hook.

02-24-2004, 12:34 AM
Got it; thanks!

02-24-2004, 07:46 AM
The "NEW" finish that some hooks are offered in is "black nickel".
The "Japanned" hooks are the old traditional.

There are some brands that make 'em this way. You need some good hook catalogs of all of the brands.


02-24-2004, 08:25 AM

Varivas makes some nice japanned hooks, and now Daiichi is stepping up with their own numbers. I've tied on both and I like them.

John Desjardins
02-24-2004, 08:33 AM
The black nickel finish is interesting. It has a shinier apearance than the traditional japaned black. If your interested this is what a mustad 80400bln hook looks like.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen the black nickel in anything longer than 4XL.

02-24-2004, 06:32 PM

I forgot to mention that you can always get some black "touch up paint" in a spray can from an autoparts store and paint any bronze hook black. This is best done by suspending the hooks from a wire that is strung through the eyes of at least a dozen hooks at a time. Just remember to keep a little bit of space between the hooks. Spray the paint on and let it dry. the remove the hooks from the wire suspending them and let them sit for another 3 days to a week before tying on them to let the paint "cure". This is a cheap and easy way to get black hooks with a tapered loop eyes that are 6X-8X long.

02-28-2004, 11:41 AM
Flytyer-- I just looked in the latest Partridge catalog, and it features the Ken Baker streamer hook and shows it offered in sizes 4 and 6. I can't say if that's still the case, but I can find out if you're interested.

Also, for those looking for premium salmon hooks at less than premium prices, check out the Partridge Michael Frodin Salar Salmon hooks (CS14/1B) in black finish. The Salar hook series is one of the best I've fished. It's extremely sharp, nice diameter, and short barb.

As for the 36890 hooks, the box I just opened showed a tapered return-- it wasn't finely tapered, granted, like on the Partridge Salar, but if you're tying flies to fish with and not display, I wonder how much extra a couple thousandths matters. I can't speak for the temper or the poor quality control alluded to by Flytyer, but I haven't had any serious problems.

If it seems like I'm coming down strongly on the side of Mustad, it's not because I'm connected to Mustad in any way but because I've seen a lot of unjustified and somewhat fraudulent Mustad bashing on another board. It's one thing if the criticism is accurate and another if it's not.

I do know the guy who manages the fly tying hooks for the company in the U.S., and his concern for design and quality control are pretty strong.

My $.03,


02-28-2004, 08:32 PM

I have never had a box of 100 Mustad 36890 hooks that had zero defective hooks. However, with Daichii hooks (which is the only hook brand I tie on), you are lucky if you find a single hook defect in 1,000 hooks of the same size and style. To me, quality hooks do not have defective hooks in virtually every box of 100 hooks. I've seen hook eyes not closed, hoks bent, hooks broken at the bend, eye loops not tight against the shank, eye loop retruns bent away from the shank, points that were malformed, shanks that had kinks in them, and shanks that had forging nicks in them in boxes of Mustad hooks. These are quality problems.

The lack of a nice tapered hook return on them is a pain to deal with when tying because the hook return is not very long making it tough to tie a nice small unobtrusive head. The hook return also makes it difficult to tie the head of the fly back from the hook eye a 1/16" or so to facilitate the use of improved turle knots that seat on the eye wire and not the fly's head. The Daichii hooks have beautifully formed tapered loop eyes, even in #1/0 and #2/0 heavy wire standard salmon irons. The Daichii return wire is not only tapered right into the shank, they are much longer and it is easy to form the fly's head with the 1/16" gap behind the hook eye.

The 36890 hook temper has a lot to be desired as well. The temper of the 36890 is on the soft side and I've seen 36890 hooks open up the bend when fighting fish. The hook point on them also doesn't hold up very well when you hang a rock because of the temper either, which neccesitates the need to inspect the hook point any time you hang up no matter how little to be sure the point wasn't bent requiring resharpening. In contrast, Daichii tempering is excellent. I've never seen a Daichii hook bend totally straigthened. Yes, I've seen #5 or #7 Alec Jackson Spey Hooks (which are made by Daichii) bend to the left or right; but I've not seen them straighten the bend. And the Alec Jackson Spey hook in #5 and #7 is of much smaller diameter wire than the 36890 in #10.

The finish on the 36890 is also not very consistent. There will be runs or spots on the hook were too much finish was put on the hook during manufacturing on quite a few hooks in a box of 100. This is also a hook defect because if you tie a tinsel or floss body these defects will show through. Again I do not find these probelms with the Daichii's that I exclusively tie on.

If a person is looking only at price of the hook, Mustad has a place; however, there are other choices among the lower priced hooks that have better quality than Mustad. Dai Riki for instance is much better quality than Mustad standard hooks for about the same price.

Many of the things that I find unacceptable in Mustad hooks are of no consequence to many others. As a result, Mustad sells a lot of fly tying hooks in the U.S. They are an OK hook; but they are not a high quality hook. Sort of like the difference between a Chevy Corsica and a Mercedes Benze. Me? I'll take the Mercedes and pass up the Chevy when it comes to hooks.

02-29-2004, 11:45 AM
Now you've got me curious, Flytyer, as to when you evaluated the 36890s with the problems. The hooks I'm basing my comments on are 20-30 years old. I haven't picked up any since then, as I don't tie on them much. The boxes I looked at didn't have the problems you listed (with the exception of opening up on fish and that I haven't tested). Mostly I use these for trout flies, and that's an area where you won't see many problems with a 36890 opening up. On steelhead, stripers or salmon, that may be something else. There I tend to use the Partiridge Salar hook for many of the reasons you mentioned.


02-29-2004, 05:26 PM

The last time I looked at the 36890 hook was 6 months ago, and they had all the problems I mentioned in my prior post. I have not bought nor tied on Mustad salmon or trout hooks for 16 years because I got tired of the problems with the hooks. I also quit tying on Partridge hooks 13 years ago because they had problems with the quality of the hook finish (many hooks even had surface rust on them) and poorly formed eye or bent shanks. To be fair, Partridge always put extra hooks in the package when there were hooks with the finish and shank problems in the same package; however, I don't think the poor hooks should have been in the package in the first place.

I gladly pay more for quality hooks that don't have these problems. And for those who may ask, yes, I only use Daichii hooks for commercial tying too.

The price difference between cheap and highest quality hooks is really not a very large portion of the cost of a fly. It amazes me the number of times I've seen people buy #1 Metz and Hoffman capes, and then go cheap for hooks. Also, very few tyers really need #1 or even #2 capes for tying dry flies. Unless you are going to be tying a lot of #20 and smaller flies, a #3 cape will provide all the hackle you need. In fact, the only time commercial tyers buy anything other than #3 capes is when they have orders for a lot of hackled flies #20 or smaller.

Don Johnson
03-24-2004, 01:35 PM
Like a lot of things with fly tying and fishing, there are personal opinions not to mention the fact that certain things have their respective place for reasons that may not be readily apparent. With that said, I will gladly admit to tying on Mustad hooks because in certain circumstances it is rediculous not to. Two examples off the top of my head are a couple patterns I have for searun cutthroat and holding salmon fishing in salt water and a pattern I tie for steelhead (a string leech variation.

In the former, at certain time of the year, the fish seem to have an aversion to nickel and/or stainless hooks and a bronzed hook seems to be the only thing that will work. Because the flies don't last long as they are lost to fish, oyster beds, snags or eventually rust, it doesn't make much sense to spend the dough on hooks that are top end when less expensive substitutes will work fine. This is why I use the Mustad 3366.

With the latter pattern, the Mustad salmon iron forms the lead hook in a tandem setup and has the bend cut from it. I would no more think of cutting up a Daiichi ior Tiemco iron than I would cross in front of a moving bus which is why the 36890 works well for that particular situation.

03-24-2004, 01:59 PM
Don makes some good points. I've started tying experimental SRC patterns on bronze hooks for a couple of reasons, one of which is that I have a large supply, and I don't mind throwing them away after a couple of uses, especially if the pattern doesn't work out.

Late last week, I was talking with Jeff Pierce, who is the fly hook sales manager for Mustad. He said that the company is coming out with a new salmon iron this year, and a lot of the features he brought up as being incorporated are some of those mentioned in this thread.

The hook will be in the Signature series, the premium Mustad brand that has been excellent in my limited testing. He also mentioned that there will be a new version of the black nickel 80200 ringed-eye streamer hook that should be out this year, that being the style of hook that started this thread.


03-24-2004, 03:33 PM
There are hooks, and there are hooks. But why does an Alec Jackson salmon hook have to cost $0.75 apiece? :eyecrazy:

03-24-2004, 05:29 PM

If you buy them buy them in a box of 100, they only cost $.45 to .58 each. Frankly, I don't care that they cost what they do, they are an excellent hook and use them exclusively on spey flies. Be the way, the new Tiempco Spey Hook is pretty nearly the same cost as well.

Standard Daiichi salmon hooks aren't cheap either, nor are their low-water salmon irons, or for that matter their trout and bass hooks. However, I'd rather use high quality hooks, regardless of the cost. And I do so on flies for my own fishing and for those I tie commercially for shops.


If I were tying on bronze hooks for the salt, I'd use the Mustad 3366 too, even though they are not of very good quality. The salt eats up bronze hooks so fast, that I agree using cheap bronze hooks makes perfect sense. Same with the string leech or other trailing hook set-up. Use the high quality, expensive hook for the trailer and use a cheapo for the front one.

03-24-2004, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by kjackson
...He also mentioned that there will be a new version of the black nickel 80200 ringed-eye streamer hook that should be out this year, that being the style of hook that started this thread.


EXCELLENT!!! :smokin: Sign me up to field test a few packs!

Don Johnson
03-25-2004, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by flytyer
If I were tying on bronze hooks for the salt, I'd use the Mustad 3366 too, even though they are not of very good quality. The salt eats up bronze hooks so fast, that I agree using cheap bronze hooks makes perfect sense. Same with the string leech or other trailing hook set-up. Use the high quality, expensive hook for the trailer and use a cheapo for the front one.

Semantics I know but 3366s are bronzed carbon steel, not bronze, but you know that. The 3366s last just as long in the salt as the tinned hooks if the coating has been compromised. Once the coating on the hook has been degraded (such as by crimping the barb for example) the ensuing corrosion will eat them up in no time regardless of whether they are tinned or bronzed or japanned. I use the 3366s because I lose a lot of them in oyster beds, on rocks and to poor casting. Being the quintessential tightwad that I am I can't see punishing a Daiichi, high end Mustad or Tiemco like that.

Anyway, stainless seems to last longer because the entire hook is resistant, not just the outer coating.

Now, the more pertinent question is why does a bronzed hook work better? I haven't been able to do any studies on this but the theory some of us have is that the electrolysis occuring when a metal hook is in the water may be a turn-off. As it is with a bronzed hook (or japanned) the hook is actually "encapsulated" by the nonmetallic coating thus preventing electrolysis from occuring. Or maybe it is just a function of the bronzed hook being less visible to the fish. Who knows.

I think a fish can "feel" or sense something like electrolysis just like you or I can smell a hamburger and fries, but it's not a proven theory. Maybe we need a Federal Grant to study the phenomenon...or maybe it's already been done.

Any thoughts?

03-25-2004, 04:51 PM

I suspect it has to do with a bronzed hook being less visible. Alec Jackson mentioned to me quite a few years ago that there had been a study done on hook color and underwater visibility. He told me that white colored hooks were found to be least visible, followed by stippled grey (like the grey shadow hooks of Partridge), then bronze. Black was the most visible hook color of all, with dark blue very close to black. Bright silver or nickel was also not very visible underwater unless the sun glinted off it.

There may be something to the electrolysis theory; but I honestly don't know.