Hook Points [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Hook Points

12-01-2004, 10:47 PM
Sean's post has got me thinking, I have some of the Bartleet hooks and the point is a "Dublin" (?) point, this does not look to be the "best" hooking point on the market...anyone be able to give me alittle FYI on this style of point & any other styles out there?

Also, what is a Japaned hook? :confused:

12-01-2004, 11:59 PM
A Japaned hook is nothing more than one with a black finish. Originally this finish was black enamel that was air-dried. Modern black hooks have a baked-on finish. As you are probably aware, the term "Japaned" is no longer in vogue and hook makers use the obvious term of "black" to describe this color hook.

A "Dublin Point" is slightly hollow ground (meaning the point has a slight curve to it from point of barb to hook point that is very slightly U-shaped), it has a slight outward angle (meaning away from the shank) to the hook point as well, and somewhat has the shape of a narrow spear. This type of point was developed back in the middle 1800's and can be seen in the hook illustration in Blacker, THE ART OF FLY MAKING, 1855, Francis, BOOK OF ANGLING, 1867, Fitzgibbon (Ephemera), THE BOOK OF THE SALMON, 1850, Hale, HOW TO TIE SALMON FLIES, 1892, Kelson, THE SALMON FLY, 1895, along with the books by Hardy, Maxwell, and Price-Tannant on tying salmon flies. The "Dublin Point" is actually a very good hook because it readily catches hold in a fish and penetrates rather rapidly because of its slight outward angle.

12-02-2004, 12:20 AM
Hmmm Russ I have never heard someone refer to a barleet supreme as being a good fish holding hook. Maybe with the barb on but barbless in my experience and other steelheaders I have talked to I have not heard good things. They sure look good though.


12-02-2004, 12:32 AM

I agree, the Bartleet penetrates very quickly because of its Dublin Point; however, if the barb is mashed down, it is terrible at holding fish. This is due to both the dublin point's outward rake tearing the flesh of the fish's mouth and the leverage a fish can put on the point as a result of the shank length and shape of the hook bend. The point and bend of the Alec Jackson Spey Hook is much better at holding fish when barbless because the outward point angle is less, it is a needle point, and the bend has a slightly different shape. Personally, I quit using Bartleet hooks for fishing because I find Alec's hooks to be a more pleasing shape for spey flies and Alec's hooks hold better when barbless.

12-02-2004, 09:46 AM
In my limited knowledge I have to disagree...partly. I have spoke with a few people about the AJ hooks and the complaint that I have and others as well is that when you mash the barb down, there was a tendency for this to create a very weak spot there and you risked breaking the point off. I have seen this happen and I have had it happen. Any insight or did I get riped off with AJ knock offs? BTW, the ones that I have are #2055 1.5 I think (the gold finish).

12-02-2004, 09:56 AM
there was a tendency for this to create a very weak spot there and you risked breaking the point off. I have seen this happen and I have had it happen. Any insight or did I get riped off with AJ knock offs? BTW,

I mash the barb on every AJ hook I tie on and then file the bump down. I haven't broken one yet. Quit using them to pull the truck. :lildevl:

That being said I'll take a little tube hook anyday.

12-02-2004, 10:18 AM
:D I thought it was wierd too, but after I looked at the hookpoint it self, I saw that the cut to make the barb is into the point 1/2 way. So, when I mash the barb I think its like taking a piece of wire and bending it one way and then another, thus weakening the point...on the other hand I could be just a bumbling idiot.

12-02-2004, 10:33 AM
on the other hand I could be just a bumbling idiot.

I'm not saying that. I've just never had the breakage you speak of. There are lots of people around that don't like the AJs very well. I get a lot of complaints about them opening up although I think the 1.5s are pretty stout.

12-02-2004, 10:59 AM
I have a love/hate relationship with AJs. I love the looks of them and the way they fish but in smaller sizes they are prone to open up and in all sizes they seem to be somewhat brittle. I have experienced breakage at or behind the barb on a number of occasions over the years. Granted the breakage was due to poor casting and hard rocks and not the result of a fish.

A few years ago I had breakfast one morning with one of the old-time PNW legends and I was bemoaning the extreamly large buck I had lost a few days before. First he asked me what hook I was using and then he told me I deserved to lose that fish if I was fishing AJs.

I guess I am a slow learner as I still fish them more than any other hook for speys. I know they have their problems but damn, they do look good.

12-02-2004, 11:11 AM
I also have found the 1.5 AJs in silver and gold heavy wire to be brittle. Like Sinktip says it is usually due to hitting rocks and such but they do not tolerate that as well as other hooks. I have just started using the new tiemco super point spey hooks which have the same profile as the AJs. They seem to be a little tougher and am going to fish them this winter and see how they do.


12-02-2004, 11:15 AM
Granted the breakage was due to poor casting and hard rocks and not the result of a fish.

Even the rather stout 2061s have broken when I have used them to try and make gravel. :lildevl:

12-02-2004, 12:24 PM
So I guess that begets a good question, what are everyones preference of hooks for both winter & summer flies & why? (to solve some of the above shortcomings)

I look for the smallest barb possible and the best tapered loop eye, but i have not found one with both. Partridge has a great tapered loop eye, but Tiemco has a very small barb.

12-02-2004, 12:35 PM
The new Umpqua hooks (202SP) are very similar to AJs, are available in Black, Gold, Silver. Hook points are very nice and triangulated. The are just about the same diameter as AJs, maybe slightly larger. I've had AJs open up on me, too. So far, none of the TMCs have. Also, the new AJ heavies won't open up. Unfortunately, they're only available in 1.5 and 3.

12-02-2004, 03:27 PM
The new Tiempco mentioned is a very good hook. I've never had an AJ hook break unless I've hit it on rocks when casting. And I've landed chums to 22 lb on a standard AJ #3 (models 2059-blue- or 2051-black) and chum pull a lot harder than steelhead. I've had a #7 open up slightly once for me when I put too much pressure on a fish and have not had it happen since. When I bend the barb on my hooks, I use a fine pointed, needle nose plier that just covers the barb so that I don't inadvertently damage the hook either in front of or right behind the barb.

As to hooks with nice, finely tapered eye returns, there are several. The Tiempco 7999 heavy wire, 7989 light wire, and new 202SP (there is also another Tiempco that only comes in large sizes 1/0 to 5/0, but I forget its model number) meet the criteria.

In Daiichi hooks, the 2441 heavy wire, 2421 medium wire, 2131 low water (this is the number of Veverka's low water hook and Alec's low water river dee hook), 2161 heavy wire (this is the same as Alec's steelhead iron), the 2050, 2051, 2052, 2055, 2059 (these are the AJ standard wires), the 2061, 2062, and 2060 (these are the AJ heavy wires), the 2091 (AJ blind eye), the 2151 heavy wire straight looped eye (the same as Alec's steelhead iron without the upturned eye). Daiichi also makes a black, long shank, down, looped eye hook in size #1 & #2 that is an excellent dee or spey hook, but I don't remember its model number. The Dick Talleur straight, looped eye streamer hook of Daiici is another hook that makes a nice platform for spey and dee flies in the larger sizes (#2,4,6) it is model #2370.

Targus makes some nice salmon/steelhead irons, models T7999 and T7989, and the Targus hooks although not as nice or strong as the Tiempco or Daiichi are a well-made hook at a lower price.

12-02-2004, 04:04 PM
The other new tiemco Russ refers to is the Tiemco 7931C. It comes in sizes 2/0 -5/0. A nice looking hook that is similiar to the 7999 but has a wider hook gape.


12-02-2004, 07:47 PM
is the hook Russ was talking about. I wish it were avilable is sizes other than #1 and #2. It is a lovely hook for spey flies and I have never had one begin to open.

12-02-2004, 07:53 PM
I have 2161s also in sizes 4 and 6. However, the jump in size between the 2 and 4 is laughable. There should be at least one and perhaps 2 hook sizes between their 2 and 4. But, it's a wonderful hook. Black only.

12-02-2004, 08:44 PM

I just looked it up and the Daichi hook I couldn't remember the model number of is the 2271, a down, looped eye, limerick bend, long shank available in only #1 & #2. Daiichi calls it a dee hook. It is a very nice nice hook for dees and bigger speys and if you open up the eye with some heat, it makes a fantastic extra long blind eye dee hook because of its straight shank ans standard limeric bend. The Daiichi 2161 is a great hook; but the Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron in the Daiichi 2151, which is the same hook with a straight, looped eye and it is available in more sizes (#1,2,4,6,8,10) or (#3,5,7,9 as Alec sizes them). Alec's steelhead iron sizes are the same as the 2151 in #4,6,8, and 10.


Yeah, that's the Tiempco I couldn't remember the model number of. It is a wonderful, standard wire, slightly longer shank that the 7999 hook in larger sizes.

Don Johnson
12-03-2004, 10:39 AM
Why is a hook failure the fault of the hook when it has been subjected to stresses for which it was not designed? I am specifically referring to hitting rocks during the cast. No hook is designed to endure that punishment and if it does, one should consider themselves lucky...then go buy a lottery ticket.

12-03-2004, 10:47 AM
Why is a hook failure the fault of the hook when it has been subjected to stresses for which it was not designed?

RE: my earlier comment, the failures of normal AJs have been bending, not breaking. For instance, on the Umpqua this summer, the take of an approx 7 lb steelhead bent the hook sideways and opened it up. I think the hooks are just too soft.

Don Johnson
12-03-2004, 10:55 AM
Sinktip was the one that mentioned breakage; guess I should have quoted his post.

If you think Daiichi are soft, do yourself a favor and stay away from Targus.

12-03-2004, 12:04 PM

I agree that no hook should be expected to get whacked off of rocks. It does happen though. I just mentioned that when it happens, AJs tend to break when others, Diachi, Tiemco, Partridge do not.

My main concern is that they also tend to open up. This is a concern for a hook as I think you would agree. It is my understanding that the larger sizes have gotten a lot better than the first models when it comes to this. The 1.5 used in the example up above was one of the older models.

In recent years, I have not had any problems with larger AJs but have had some of the 5 and 7s open up. Interesting to note that the fish were landed in all these cases and it wasn't until afterwards that the open bend became apparent.


Don Johnson
12-03-2004, 01:57 PM
As you know AJ Spey hooks are made to his specs by Daiichi and I don't believe there to be any difference in the tempering process for his hooks as compared to other Daiichi models. I also believe, if I remember a distant conversation correctly, Alec would rather have a hook bend and not break (on a fish). With all that said, I am 100% certain that any input with regards to failures is something that Alec would want to hear about. He takes quality control more seriously than most could imagine, as does Daiichi. With his name on the hook though, he doesn't take such matters lightly and I can almost guarantee he'd be interested in hearing of such occurences and/or failures.

12-03-2004, 05:35 PM
Don, and others-

Your right, the hooks that are spoken of are not engineered to handle an occasional ding on a back cast, but just for the record manufactures never intend for things to happen (don't expect them to happen) but good manufacutres reengineer their product to handle as many of the potential circumstances as possible, thus creating a superior product.

It is this reason why I think that these major hook manufactures need to begin making barbless Sal/Steel hooks.

12-03-2004, 08:15 PM

I won't hold anything back. This is related to the AJ Spey hook.

The regular wire 3 and smaller are what I call "one fish flies". IF you are lucky enough to land the fish they are bent one way or another. Discard after use.

The plated hooks are brittle. They break for no reason at the barb junction on the point.

No doubt the hooks do tie a 'pretty' fly. But they are THE worst hook I have ever used when it comes to landing fish. (That is with the barb pinched down.) Understand this is no little experiment...Oh I hooked 3 fish and lost them all. It spans a few hundred fish and the numbers don't lie. Never again.


12-03-2004, 09:44 PM
This is a great subject to discuss. Unfortunately, to truly get into the spirit the participants should be seated around a table, bottle of single-malt Scotch at the ready, assorted hooks, lengths of tippet, and pieces of cardboard at hand. Actual physical demonstration does more to prove a point than any arguements that I may put forth.

In any case these are some "facts" that I have proven to myself, and a few others:
"Outpoints" are poor hookers, they tend to "rake" rather than penetrate.
Unless you use an in-line tie (such as the Turle knot), up-eye hooks are the worst at hooking and holding fish.
Down-eye hooks are the best at hooking and holding.
The longer the shank of a hook is in relation to the hooks gape, the worse its ability to either hook or hold a fish.
Offset hooks hook and hold better than non-offset.

Many hooks designed for tying steelhead and/or Atlantic Salmon flies are heavily influenced by "traditional" and/or aesthetic values. This is a state of affairs that in varying degrees pervades all aspects of steelhead flyfishing. If you wish to hook and land more of the fish that you contact with a fly, then start to look at your hooks as a function of fishing and not art. If you see hooks as an artistic statement of sorts, then don't complain about losing fish.

12-03-2004, 10:11 PM

Done exactly the same game of trying to find out what is happening and why. Came away with a very similar set of results.

"Unless you use an in-line tie (such as the Turle knot), up-eye hooks are the worst at hooking and holding fish."

It depends on the hook size and wire diameter. Over the past three seasons I have been running a loop knot on an up-eye hook with tube fly type of numbers towards grabs/hook ups and hook ups/landings. I found the turle knot to change the angle so little that I believe it to be a non factor in changing the results.

"Down-eye hooks are the best at hooking and holding."

Again I found that it matters more on wire diameter and hook size. However, apples to apples,I agree down-eye hooks will outperform up-eyes of similar diameter and shape.

"If you wish to hook and land more of the fish that you contact with a fly, then start to look at your hooks as a function of fishing and not art. If you see hooks as an artistic statement of sorts, then don't complain about losing fish."

Wasn't complaining about losing fish- just stating my results from said spey hooks. Those results were from years ago.


12-03-2004, 11:22 PM
This is a great subject to discuss. Unfortunately, to truly get into the spirit the participants should be seated around a table, bottle of single-malt Scotch at the ready, assorted hooks, lengths of tippet, and pieces of cardboard at hand.

Bourbon here, Maker's Mark to be exact. ;)

Inland, Riveraddict,
Compared to me, you have a few more seasons of data so, with those statments, what would your recomendation be?

Have you seen the Salar hooks by Partridge? Interesting hook point.

12-04-2004, 12:34 AM
My apologies to you William. I didn't mean to make it appear as if my comments were directed towards you, rather they were meant as just a generally open comments. I agree with you about hook size/wire diameter. I especially have been playing around with wire diameters this past year. Some of the Gamakatsu light wire hooks designed for bait fishing are wicked at hooking fish. The downside is that the wire is so light that if you don't get a perfect placement of the hook during a hookup (where the hook sinks in up to the bend), then it is quite easy to bend them out, particularly if the point contacts something hard (such as bone) and is therefore not able to penetrate.

I tie almost all of my flies either on "shanks" (similar in concept as a tube) or "articulated" like a string leech, so that I can use smaller, short shank hooks as "trailers". Basically, if it's bigger than a size 2 then it is tied in one of those two ways. This eliminates the "levering" inherent to long shank hooks, and because the trailers are much smaller than a standard hook, the wire diameter is much thinner thus promoting quicker and easier hook penetration. Also, the smaller trailer hooks are much less likely to cause any serious damage to fish, a very important attribute to me. A few other advantages - less prone to snagging; hooks can be changed out when dull, therefore promoting the "life" of a fly. I have not found any "normal" hook that can compare with flies tied to accomodate some sort of "trailer" system. I can confidently state that as a cumulative figure at season's end I hook between 80 and 90% of steelhead that get a "positive" hold on my fly, and of those I land 75 to 85%. Sure, it takes a bit more time to tie flies in such a manner, but to me it is well worth the little bit of extra trouble!

12-04-2004, 02:00 AM

I almost agree completely with you on which eye hooks best. Like you said, the down is far superior to the up eye unless you use a knot like the Turle Knot to attach it to the tippet. If you use a Turle or other knot that pulls straight in line with the hook shank, there is no difference between the hooking ability of up or down eye hooks. However, if you use a know that tightens on the hook eye itself instead of behind the hook eye, say the clinch or Ducan Loop that seem to be used by a lot of fly fishers, the up eye hook will pivot away from the leader attachment and cause poor (I found it to be very poor years back when I did the testing you suggested) hooking. While the down eye tie on with a knot like the clinch know that tightens on the hook eye, was very good at hooking because it pivoted the hook point toward the leader.

Likewise, I agree wholeheartedly with you on shank length. The longer the shank, the poorer the hook holds because the fish has more leverage against the hook and this can and does cause the hook to get torn out during the fight. The long shank hooks also have a greater tendency to bend when a fish is on.

The place I disagree is I found staight eye (or ring eye) hooks were the best hooking hooks with knots like the clinch and Duncan Loop that are tightened on the hook eye. This is because a straight eye hook's shank is exactly in line with the leader when the knot if tightened on the eye. I also found the straight eyed hook is less prone to being thrown by a fish. These are the reasons why saltwater hooks are made with straight ring eyes. Unfortunately, there are very few salmon/steelhead irons (heck there are almost zero trout hooks with them either) made with straight eyes.

I strongly suspect the major reason the per-WWII salmon fishers used either double hooks or blind eyed hooks with gut loops. The blind eye hook with gut or braided mono loop eye added to it has a straight line of pull from shank to leader because the only knots the work on them are one that are tightened on the loop itself. Thus the blind eye hook's gut loop provides the best hooking, unlike the up eye salmon irons that were availalble.

Interestingly, Maxwell speaks of this in his book back in the late 1800's, and he flatly states that straight eyed hooks hook best, but then he goes on to say they don't look right. Therefore, he ends up recommending looped, up eye hooks and a turle know to attach them to the leader. However, he also says he used blind eye hooks for large and medium sized hooks and only uses the "steel eyed" hooks in the smaller sizes.

I also agree wholeheartedly with you that straight or ringed eye short shanked hooks have the best hooking of all and are the ones fish have the hardest time to throw. However, I like the look of a spey fly tied on the long shanked Alex Jackson hook and the look of a dee fly on the blind eye Alec Jackson or the very long shanked (6x-10x) hooks in sizes 2 or larger. A tube fly or Waddington shank use for a spey or dee fly doesn't have the same graceful, streamlined look of a spey or dee tied on one of the long shanked ones.

12-04-2004, 02:08 AM

I messed around with the Salar hooks. Good results at first then they dropped off into the great abyss. Overall impression is that they are poorer then most at hooking up and about average once you get them pinned.


I gave up on the Gamis for the same reason. Think bad thoughts and they would bend out. Put them to the cardboard and watched the spring spring bend as they penetrated. Went, um, no more. Went back to the Tiemco 105's (in 4's) and Kamasan (in 2's) for my shank flies. Plenty happy there.

Time for another Bowmore,


12-04-2004, 02:41 PM
I tie almost all of my flies either on "shanks" (similar in concept as a tube) or "articulated" like a string leech, so that I can use smaller, short shank hooks as "trailers".

So what would your recomendation be for the trailers? I tie a large number of leeches with an Owner trailer, usually in a #2 or #4. And on your smaller flies, do you still use the same style of hook or do you switch to a spey/dee hook? What technique are you using to attach the trailer?

...the smaller trailer hooks are much less likely to cause any serious damage to fish, a very important attribute to me.

Bravo man, good form.

Everyone else-

In a perfect world, the number on all around Sal/Steel hooks steel needs to be of a stronger make up, either a straight, down, or blind eye (looped) and barbless is key. What hook gap, bend, and gauge of wire relative to size? Oh, Black or Bronze, I heard that bronze is the most difficult color to the fish to see...correct?

12-04-2004, 03:52 PM
Funny thing, I never really played around with straight-eyes because, as you pointed out, of their unavailability. By the way, I'm not necessarily bagging on up-eye hooks, just trying to bring to light the fact that even though very few people use in-line knots anymore, still the majority of flyhooks for steelhead have up-eyes. Seems like a curious state of affairs to me. I doubt that you would find any other group of anglers that would hold the looks of a hook in higher regard than its true function... only flyfishers.

If you would use a shorter rod that had a little more flex than a graphite flagpole... haha, just pokin' some fun at you. I'm still playing around with different stuff for trailers. Currently, I am using Gamakatsu B10S with outstanding results, size 2 and 4. These things hook-up like they are fish-magnets, but because of how light wire they are they don't tend to hold a lot of weight, and I don't reccommend their use on any doublehander rated heavier than 7 weight. However, on lighter, flexier rods that give a lot of "shock absorbption" they work superbly. They were kick *** on the Ronde and Snake for me this past Fall. Another one that will hold up to more brutal strains is the Gamakatsu SC15 Saltwater Wide Gap. This hook absolutely rocks! In size 1/0 it was deadly on Kings in the 8 to 28 pound range. I just wish they woud make them in the black-nickel coloring.

I dislike hooks with "cutting points" such as the Owner's because the cutting edge can make nasty sized holes in a fish. I favor extremely sharp needle points - they provide good penetration, but very little "tearing" or cutting.
The Gamakatsu SC15 Saltwater Wide Gap is pretty hard to beat as a trailer in my experience. Size 1 is good general steelhead use (4 to 8 pound fish), size 1/0 if the fish average larger than 8 pounds.
On flies smaller than size two I just use any of the current quality made up-eye steelhead/salmon fly hooks. I just make sure to always tie them on with a Turle.
My trailers are attached in two ways. #1 - on my shank flies I tie them on with Lefty Kreh's nonslip loop knot... probably the strongest knot that I know of that doesn't involve more than 5 turns of line. #2 - my articulated flies are built with a loop of 50# Powerpro as the means for trailing the trailer hook. First thing I do is to tie a six turn snell of 8# Flourocarbon onto my trailer hook. This is to prevent the Powerpro from slipping through that space in between the hook shank and the butt of the hook eye. I then push the Powerpro loop through the hook eye, then pass the hook through the Powerpro loop, then twist the Powerpro loop twice. then once again pass the hook through the remaining loop. Sounds complicated, but its not all that bad once you've seen it done.

Topher Browne
12-04-2004, 05:09 PM
Except when fishing a 'riffling hitch,' I gave up on all up-eye salmon hooks years ago. Lost too many fish.

For a single hooks, I now use the down-eye Mustad #3906 or Mustad #3399, depending on size-class of fish. I 'gap' the hook in my vise, and hone to razor edge with stone before tying the fly. Ugly, perhaps, but a far superior fish-catching instrument.

For double hooks, I have discarded all up-eye hooks in favor of the Loop Down-Eye Double. Am more than satisfied with their performance. The Loop double is extremely stable in 'power' water.

For size #2 flies and larger, I now fish only tubes. The Owner Aki is a DEADLY hook when used with a tube. Riveraddict makes a good point about their 'cutting point.' May have to re-evaluate that one.

Bob Pauli
12-04-2004, 06:25 PM
Another advantage of the short shank bait hooks is the point is directed upward. This puts the pull of the leader [more] in line with the axis of the point, which IMHO is a key hooking factor.

I believe if a hook point axis points below the front of the hook shank the best eye/leader geometry is: leader tied to down eye [per RA], followed by turle type knot to down eye, followed by turle type knot to up eye, followed by leader tied to up eye.

12-04-2004, 06:50 PM
Straight Eye Hooks --

By far the best hooking and holding hook (other than those short shanked ones used for tubes or stingers) that I have found is the Daichi 2141. It has the looped back straight eye, a sharp point and a medium length shank. They are 1X heavy so they sink well and are fairly bullet or should I say rock proof. All my GP and marabou spider patters get tied on them. They are pricy though and just don't look worth a damn for traditional spey patterns.

Regarding Inlands comments about AJs in smaller sizes being one fish flies, I totally agree but then again, all my flies are one fish models. If they do their job, then they get rewarded with retirement. It is the least I can do for them and since I rarely take pictures, they serve to remind me of good times.

Don Johnson
12-04-2004, 07:25 PM
These are great hooks and are available in a nickel (crystal) finish from Alec Jackson (his Blue Water hook) just in case you want a more camouflaged hook. I was also able to procure a few thousand of the same profile in red (2144, size 1 only...great for bucktails and Clousers!).