Albacore/bonito hooks...stainless? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Albacore/bonito hooks...stainless?

Dble Haul
05-12-2005, 09:49 AM
I may be getting a bit overly cautious here, but have any of you noticed problems fishing for hardtails when you tie flies on bright stainless hooks? My inclination is that this really shouldn't be a problem since these fish feed in a flash, and don't really inspect a fly like a striper on Monomoy in August.

Please correct me if my assumption is wrong. If so, I could start tying these patterns on hooks with a duller matte or black finish if it really makes a difference.


05-12-2005, 12:55 PM
When you think about it any hook unless covered by the materials should look odd or out of place to the fish. I attended one of Abram's lectures where he covered this topic although not in the context of speedsters which have excellent vision. The statement went something like - maybe it's not so much what looks out of place as what looks correct and intices the instinct to strike. These were not his exact words but it's what I took away from the speel and I think in many cases this is correct. A hook is not naturally occuring in nature, tie a good representation of something that is in color or size or movement and that hook and perhaps the hook is not even recognized. I don't know and don't think I'm getting all moonie here but I think there is at least some truth in it.

If the hook is sharp, does not interfere with the action and doen't bend or break you should be all set. If they do see the hook clear as day it seems to me a dark hook might stand out more in contrast to the school of bait than one that twinkles a bit when light hits it. At any rate it's a good topic.

Dble Haul
05-12-2005, 01:03 PM

In regards to your first paragraph, I agree wholeheartedly. Flies have triggering mechanisms that make fish bite in spite of the hook showing.

I ask the question regarding albacore/bonito because quite frankly I have far less experience with them than I do skinny water stripers, trout, etc. where a shiny hook can make a difference (and has in my past experiences). And since hardtails have such keen vision, even though they knife through bait at incredible speeds, I was wondering what the potential impact might be. You're probably right, a bit of flash off a hook near other bait probably doesn't look out of place at all.

Thanks for your feedback.

05-12-2005, 08:20 PM
I'm no expert and would also be interested in what others have to say.

05-12-2005, 10:25 PM
My experience is that for those fish I want a VERY sharp hook so I tye those flies and use them with the thin, shinny SS gamagatsu hooks. They are very thin in appearance so I can not tell if the fish are spoting them but I don't think so since they are hitting them. For the stripers it's the Tiemco and Varivas...or in some cases the Trey Combs , which are shinny too.... the POINT sharpness has always been my first concern.... tiemco on the flats though

05-13-2005, 05:45 AM
For Albies and small tuna, I always use the black finish Owner Aki, a fairly heavy wire, strong, sharp hook. We generally put a lot of drag pressure on the fish and we find that the heavier wire of the Owner works out well.

05-13-2005, 06:35 AM
Mark I am by far no expert on Albies. My one hook up was on a Bay Anchovie with a shinny Mustad hook. The Albies were keyed in on this bait and that's what triggered the strike. I also pulled a fly out of the mouth of an Albie due to Buck Fever. I could be totally wrong here but I think size , color and shape matter more than a shinny hook. Good topic. FishHawk

05-13-2005, 09:13 AM

I have spent a fair amount of time targeting these fish but am by no means an expert. In my experience though, I would disagree that Albies don't inspect a fly like a Monomoy striper. My flies for Albies in fact tend to be more realistic than the flies I might tie for stripers. I think that anytime you are targeting fish on fly you must first think about how the fish will be seeing the fly. For instance, from shore I would say that albies tend to be rising to the bait and attacking from underneath. In this instance I would want a fly that looks like a silverside from below. I don't think the shine of a hook in this instance is a huge influence since the Albie will be looking up against the sun. The contrast of the fly especially the translucent and opaque sections will be clearly discernable however. This is where I would focus my efforts. Now for stripers on the flats which tend to be focusing down on the fly with the sun's effects cleary highlighting anything reflective I think the shine of the hook will have an effect. Especially since most flies are desingned to ride point up. This year I have coated many of my flies for the flats with dull nail polish on the hook bend up until the point to see if that will improve the hook up ratio. Time will tell on that one.


Dble Haul
05-13-2005, 10:26 AM
In my experience though, I would disagree that Albies don't inspect a fly like a Monomoy striper.

I guess I wasn't entirely clear on that. Your points about hardtails coming from below (albeit quickly) and most Monomoy stripers coming from above (in the dog days) is more along the lines of what I meant. So in fact, I think we might actually agree. :wink: Thanks for your thoughts on the subject....I'll be interested to hear how your modified hooks work for you.

And thanks to everyone else for your feedback as well.

05-13-2005, 10:30 AM
That's a great point about the angle of attack, nevery really though about it that way.

05-13-2005, 11:37 AM
Don't be overly concerned about the type of finish on a hook. We are lead to believe that fifty pound stripers get to be 50 lbs. because of their intelligents. Bull! They get that big because most of us don't know how to present a bait correctly at the deep depths they feed at. That's how they survive from being caught and that's why live lining eels is so effective. I't just a matter of finding the bottom. Try doing that with trolling techniques or fly fishing. Takes a lot of boating experience when you have to factor boat headway, current, wind, and bottom contours. Many big stripers do go after lures with 6/0 trebles completely exposed. Go Figure! What's important with fly presentation is how the hook and weight of the hook effect the motion, sinking and action of the fly.

Yes there are days when albies might shy away from bright hooks, but those days are few. You can design flys to incorporate and accent the silver of a hook shank by using it as lateral lines. You can also conceal a hook by material or use a darker finish to blend into the environment. What ever the choice both will work. Yes at some times it may seem important but it doesn't happen enough to bother me. How do I know if they are shying away from a hook or not? Most likely it's some other reason like presentation or fly pattern. Don't know for sure because I'm not down there. Any doubts, Hit it with a Sharpy marker and have fun.

05-13-2005, 11:47 AM
Interesting thoughts and ideas here. I don't know much about albies eigther. But I can remember times years ago watching bait fishermen fishing pogies for blue fish and seeing their frustration of having the blue fish take the end of the pogie that didn't have the hook in it. If they put a hook in the tail and head the fish would bite the middle out of it leaving the guy with just head and tail. This would happen sometimes even when there was a feeding frenzy going on. Yet maybe the next frenzy the blues didn't care or for some reason not see the hooks and consume the entire pogie. If a fish is hook shy maybe it has to do with how the light is on the water at certain times in the day. Maybe the flies we fish look entirely different to a fish at different times of the day.

05-14-2005, 08:30 PM
Have to agree with Ray...Fish can be selective but I donít think the hook is the major reason. Tide, bait, lack of, time of the year, a lot of things but a hook is very low on why a fish will not take a fly.

05-19-2005, 10:15 PM
new to site and just thought this thread was interesting. i remember an elderly fellow years back telling me to throw away the gold snapswivels and barrel swivels as bluefish hit the shinny stuff and cut your leader.

05-20-2005, 07:11 AM
I don't think the hook has much to do with it. Tying a fly small enough to imitate a bay anchovy is a different story....

05-25-2005, 12:05 PM
I spend alot of time during the Fall chasing them and have found that the hook doesn't make a difference. Size does sometimes but not all the time. I experimented the last few years and found that even though Albies are feeding on rainbait and they seem to ignore your best offering try throwing a 2/0 or 3/0 Pearl or Gold color Creasefly. For some reason they hit that but will steer clear of the best Anchovie immy you have.

A guide friend of mine showed me a trick up in Watchill one day. I was throwing everything from Size 4 up to Size 1/0 at the fish. They were everywhere ... I mean all around the boat. It would have been easier whacking them on the head than trying to get them to eat. The bait was small.. maybe around 1.5 inches. My closest match was a #6 Tan and White deciever ( very sparse ) w / gold flash. The match was pretty damn close. Once in a while I get a looker ... most of the time they didnt even notice it. Me and him were discussing my dilemma when he said " watch this " . He put on a 5 inch 3/4 ounce Green and Silver Gaggs Pencil Popper and proceeded to hook and land fish after fish! By this time I was ready to stick that Gaggs where the sun didnt shine.

His point was that color or size didnt matter as much as we all like to think. He advised me to put on a ratty popper or a crease fly. It worked !! not as well as that Gaggs on a spinning set up but I got alot of lookers and a few hook ups.

My personal thoughts is that presentation plays the biggest part in success. Ive caught Albies using BIG cruddy flies that I honestly would be embarassed to show anyone. Not only where they much bigger than any bait around they where bright colored and should have scared the fish as well as anyone near enough to see what I was using. The success came by varying my presentations. The best presentation I have founs so far is dead drift with an occassional twitch and a painfully slow retrieve.

Just my thoughts

05-25-2005, 12:45 PM
Good point Mike! It always pays to watch the spinning folks and learn...The crew that I spend some time with catching FAs every fall use very large soft plastics with a side to side zara spook action and many others use small very shiny metal baits (with split rings replaced).

05-25-2005, 04:25 PM
The Old Salts around Montauk telling tales of trolling 3 White feathers on a hook using a 2oz drail weight. If them FA's were that smart and could see that well dont ya think they would see a huge fin shaped weight getting dragged @ 3knts?

Im convinced its not rocket science. Although the Hook and Material supply companies may have you thinking otherwise.

Matter of fact I didnt use Flouro last year at all! I used 15lb Maxima Clear. Why spend $20 bucks on a small spool of Seagar when ya can get 4 Spools of Maxima and have $3 bucks left over for a Coke.

I have 10's of thousands of $$ tied up in gear, materials and Boats. I manage to hit quite a few fish throughout the season and no matter how fancy or transparent or non glare or whatever the latest greatest trend is I almost always find myself fishing Decievers, Clousers or my SandEeel immitation. They account for 90% of all my fish.

It all boils down to the following 3 things: Location, Presentation and Luck.