Tying to scale [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tying to scale

M. saxatilis
09-24-2005, 04:36 PM
Hi all,

I was hoping to get some feedback with advice on how to tie saltwater streamers to scale for the hook I am using?

It seems the answer to this lies in the tying instructions themselves when it indicates "...select materials 1 1/2 - 2X the length of the hook shank". This seems good and well but it always seems that regardless of hook size, the flies are about the same length. I am able to notice a difference between the flies I tie on a #2 vs. 2/0, but little if any when the hooks are closer is size to another. This makes me wonder if there is even a need for tying patterns on hooks so close in size.

This conundrum has plagued me the most when I tie patterns like Deceivers and thier spin-offs. Any advice?

I present my question to the fly dieties and demigods in hopes my prayers are answered!!!

09-25-2005, 05:17 PM
What is needed to ensure there is a noticeable difference in flies that are only a single size apart is using the same length in relation to the hook shank. In other words, use 1.5/1.75/2.0x's the hook shank religiously. If you tie a #4 with things 1.5x hook shank, tie all of the #4 flies you tie with 1.5x's hook shank. Then when you tie #2's or #6's, tie them with 1.5x's the hook shank of that size. Doing this automatically produces varying lengths of flies in each size since each size hook has a different shank length, the materials will be of different length if you religiously apply the 1.5x's hook shank.

However, if you do not religiously tie with a set x's hook shank length, the flies will be all over the place in overall length. If you tie #4's that vary from 1.5 x's to 2.0 x's hook shank, and then tie #6's that are 2.0 x's hook shank, many of the #6's will be as long as the #4's. Likewise, if you then tie #2's 1.5 x's hook shank, many of them will be the same length as the #4's.

But if you tie all three sizes and religiously keep the material 1.5x's the hook shank (or 2.0 x's as well), there will be noticeable differences between one size and another because of the difference in the length of the hook shank of each size hook.

09-25-2005, 08:24 PM
For me the first question is:

- is the fly appropriate for the fish I am after? (size / profile etc)


- is the hook appropriate for the fly and the fish I hope to hook?

for SWFF I prefer that the material to metal ratio adds a little wind resistance to soften the flight of a heavier hook through the air just a bit.

A deceiver might have a good ratio rule-of-thumb, but sand eels and crabs and other flies might not fall into such neat categories.

09-25-2005, 08:28 PM
I've struggled with this same thing, and in the end, I tie things that look like they're the correct size and ratios of height to width to length. You also need to make sure your hooks are the exact same type from the exact same company. A 1/0 hook from one company can be significantly different than a 1/0 hook from another company. I've also found it depends on your fishing style and the size of the fish you're going for. For instance, I target big largemouth bass, and use BIG hooks on my flies. A 1/0 isn't a big hook for a largemouth, and I go as big as 3/0. A lot of people use this same size for stripers that run 10-20 pounds. I don't size the actual fly as big as I would for stripers, I just use a bigger hook for the same size fly.

M. saxatilis
10-01-2005, 05:27 PM
Thank you for the words of wisdom.

I think the idea of having a "standard" material length multiplier for each hook size would be a great place to start. I can also see the benefit to staying with a particular hook when using this method. It makes alot of sense. One of these days I'll start taking close-ups pics of my flies to share with you all.

See you on the beach