best hook style for tarpon (flies not bait) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: best hook style for tarpon (flies not bait)

04-09-2006, 12:46 PM
I've read that some linelining captains have gone to circle hooks for giant tarpon. I don't think that fly anglers will have the same opportunities to let the fish take the bait deep and pull it past the lips as a circle hook requires.

My experience is that you try to get as many hookups as possible and if you get lucky the hook will find a soft spot in that prehistoric bone maw.

Has anyone unlocked any secrets to fly hook designs that lead to a higher percentage of landed tarpon? Or is the hook design a constant with other factors like hook setting technique being the deciding factors?

I am interested in your opinions.

04-09-2006, 04:33 PM
I donŽt know of my info might be handy, it is not the type of hook youŽd be expecting, but there is a dutchman who developped a hook for fishing on pike that looks like the ideal tarponhook to me.
The hook is called:
Partridge Ad Swier Absolute Pike Hook (google on it)
Not having much experience with tarpon, but knowing a lot of the sea and beeing very interested in tarpon (and other tropical fishing) because of my folks still living back home, in Aruba i would suggest youŽd try these hooks.

Last fall it resulted in less misses on pike for me, especially the big hooks, I now use 8/0 and even hook pike (looks like musky) of 40cm with it. 8/0 of the regular hooks.
The advantages are it is very sharp and has a wide curve (is that how you call the bend in the hook), there is no barb on it so it really penetrates easily and deeper into even the thougher harder jaws and mouths of fish. it is allready known that there have been people experimenting the smaller versions on permit and bones and the rumour has it the results are very good.
the regular ones are the Ad Swier Pike Hook and they even come up to 8/0

maybe you can find some pictures of these hooks on the net, if you can not get them in the us, we can in holland and I could help you getting them. Look at pictures of them and I think youŽll see what I see in them.

04-09-2006, 04:41 PM
Not sure if I see how they apply to tarpon mouths... but here is the picture... tell me more!

04-09-2006, 04:42 PM
Thanks for sharing that hook. I can see lots of salty uses for it around here.


04-09-2006, 04:42 PM
In my experience the best tarpon hooks are Tiemco 600SP. They are a sort of circle hook.


04-09-2006, 04:43 PM
the Signature Series "Tarpon" by Mustad might be a contender?! :confused:


04-09-2006, 04:46 PM
Maybe... here it is...
Mustad Signature Series "Tarpon"

Doesn't look too different from anything I had on the other day. Also if it's the popular hook, and conventional wisdom is to hook a lot of fish to keep one on the line, then there might be more discussion worth having on the topic.

04-09-2006, 04:48 PM
In my experience the best tarpon hooks are Tiemco 600SP. They are a sort of circle hook.


Pete -

That looks like a very good hook... but hardly a circle hook:

TMC 600sp

04-09-2006, 04:51 PM
Juro were you fishing barbless?

I know for giants in the keys most of the guides I talked with fish with a barb on the hook. Reason from the guide I fished with was with those mouths you need all the help you can get to stay hooked up and since the mouths are so boney minimal damage is incurred as opposed to barbs and softer mouthed species.

I have a bunch of those signature tarpon hooks (acutally use them for the deep eel) if you want to use some for testing. Also fish the 600sp alot and it comes the closest to a circle in the conventional hooks you will find. Expensive but has a low profile cutting point on it and really holds well.


04-09-2006, 04:58 PM
As always, I started out barbless... I went for my winter creeper as a shrimp fly which are used for PNW native steelhead and always barbless. But as I approached the 11th jumped fish (and twice that many fish hitting the fly) I was digging for anything with a barb on it in my flybox!

I think the main thing (with conventional hooks) is to get the point into a soft spot somehow. This is not typical for me to say but since the acrobatics are so ridiculous with these fish I have to agree that a barbed hook is the way to go.

In the skull shot I posted the largest spots were in the corner of the mouth under that HONKIN upper mandible. Webstain's comments about the pause reminded me of the centuries old greased line method of letting the salmon hook itself in the corner of the mouth. It's very good advice.

However I actually did try that in St.Kitts and just as often as a solid hookup would result the fish would spit before the fly could corner itself. I need to increase the sample size to get a better scientific picture of this :)

It's a research project dear :lildevl:

04-09-2006, 10:55 PM
In my experience the best tarpon hooks are Tiemco 600SP. They are a sort of circle hook.


Hey Pete what other hooks have you tried? I know a coupla guys that use the 600SP that like them a lot but curious as to how the compare to some of the others like Owner and Gamakatsu.

04-10-2006, 06:46 AM
From what I've read on some other sites the Owner aki seems to be the hook of choice, at least for the big boys. It's not sharpened to a needle point but more of a knife edge. The point won't roll as easily and it's supposed to be a very strong hook. It looks very similar in shape to the 600sp.

alan caolo
04-10-2006, 11:00 AM
Gamakatsu SC-15's lead the pack, in my opinion, for all hard-jawed fish - including the King. 1/0 for babies (under 40 #s), 2/0 for big fish, and probably 3/0 for Homosassa. They come in extra-strong models, too. It's like every time a new stout hits the market - I always hear bartenders say " Really good . . . almost like Guinness." which kinda says something. But the TMC 600SP looks really good, too . . . probably almost like an SC-15 ;)

04-10-2006, 12:18 PM
Thanks Alan -

Yeah they look SWEET!

04-10-2006, 07:19 PM
The captain I fish with uses the Gammi SC-15 2/0 (NOT the heavy duty one shown in th pick). We fish oceanside (super clar water) and I think that it is important for the fly to land softly, sink slowly (usually) and the thin gauge really seems to penitrait. It is unbelievable how strong thos hooks are. I've straightened out only a couple (we have landed fish up to 130#). The point does roll at times, so we check it on every bite. What an amazing hook!

04-10-2006, 09:04 PM
In the recent magazine featuring the toad, it shows Andy Mill and toad hook where the hook was pulled open some. So he must favor the more thin wire as well to provide better action w/ the toad fly

04-12-2006, 08:38 AM
From Andy's statements, he likes the thinner hooks not for better action on the toad but for better penetration - it's easier to penetrate a concrete like mouth (on a tarpon) if you're only trying to make a little hole rather than the bigger penetration required by a thicker gauge wire. He likens it to a hypodermic needle...of course the downside is that you are going to bend more hooks and even break some on bigger fish.

04-13-2006, 11:04 PM
I tie my own tarpon flies and use the Gamakatsu SC15 2H. It has been a very good hook (3/0) for medium and large tarpon. I have had more secure hook sets and fish landed with this hook then with others I have used. I found the points on the TMC 600SP's to roll all too often (I should note that I use a heavy class tippet 25lbs and am putting tremendous pressure, down and dirty, to facilitate quick capture and release). One other thing I noticed is the wide cutting point on the 600SP bores a big hole if not in a soft spot and more of these hooks tend to come out well into the fight if I goof up than the narrow profile of the Gama's point. The Gama's I can sharpen as well, making a very effcient narrow profile point that really digs in. I tried TMC 800S hooks but too many have broken on big fish. The Gama SC15 is too light a wire for big tarpon and will bend with heavy class tippet. I haven't used Owners yet, but by most counts it is one of the best and look forward to trying them. One thing I've noticed for sure, is setting the hook to soon after the take results in more thrown hooks and and poor hook sets. I am by no means an expert. My 2 cents worth.

best fishes, Paul P