Best Hooks for Tarpon, Trevally and Other Large Saltwater Species [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Best Hooks for Tarpon, Trevally and Other Large Saltwater Species

02-18-2012, 06:01 PM
On a November trip to Christmas Island, two of my fishing partners had good luck using a fly pattern I tied for them to use on GTs. One of these flies landed 5 Trevally between 25 and 60 pounds on the same tide and still retained its shape to continue fishing. If there was a Trevally near, they went for the fly. Most of the flies were tied on Gamakatsu SL12S hooks, but a few were tied on Tiemco 811S hooks. With the heavy drag settings on the 12 weight outfits used, both hooks tended to bend somewhat out of shape. (I got the impression the Tiemco 811S hooks bent out of shape more than the Gamakatsu SL12S hooks.) I want to know are there stonger hooks available?

In addition, some saltwater hooks, such as the Owner 600 SP, have a dark finish. Owner 600SP hooks are a strong hook I have used for Tarpon in Belize and the Bahamas, but have only found it in a black nickle finish. The black nickle finish on the 600SP is too dark for some fly patterns - I need a nickle/tin/chrome finish for a number of fly patterns I tie.

I have been using Gamakatsu SL12S hooks for some larger saltwater patterns (Puglisi-style patterns, deceivers, mushmouths, sea habits, etc.) that I tie on 2/0 and 4/0 hooks. I know there are a number of saltwater hooks for larger fish on the market including: Gamakatsu SL12S, SC15, and SC152H; Owner 5370; Mustad 3407; Tiempco 800S and 600SP; and possibly others I have missed.

Has anyone done a comparison of the strengths of saltwater hooks available? What do you use as your "go to" hook for larger saltwater patterns and species, (possibly excluding billfish)? Are there any other heavy nickle/bright finish hooks combining good strength and and hook penetration ability?

02-19-2012, 08:49 AM
My testing has been mostly anecdotal, but my favorite hook by far for tarpon type flies is the Owner Aki. I've never had one open up on me. If you don't need a particularly long shank on the hook, then the Gami SC17 is also very strong. I avoid stainless hooks for those species as they are softer and tend to open up more easily. I don't think I've tied a tarpon fly on anything but an Aki for about five years now. Before that I liked the Gami SC152H you mentioned, but the Owner is stronger. I also like its point better, although admittedly it is harder to re-sharpen with a hone/file.

02-21-2012, 09:29 AM
I think you have them listed for the most part. I have never bent out an SL12S and only bent a 600SP in an very small size on a very big striper. Both hooks are fine in larger sizes for for tuna, big Amberjacks, etc. One that you did not list that has a slightly longer shank (nickel) is the Gami SP113H. You won't bend that one out either. Some of the spinnerbait hooks from Gami and Owner in the large sizes are pretty strong but I have bent those out 'slightly' on larger tunas.

TMC811 is a great flats hook but way too light for pelagics.

02-21-2012, 07:20 PM
I could not determine the relative strengths of the saltwater hooks from the information provided on the Gamakatsu website. There did not appear to be a way to assess which was the stonger hook, the SL12S, the SL11-3H or the SC15-2H. Does Gamakatsu have such a system to compare the relative characteristics of their various hooks?

02-23-2012, 06:14 PM
I want to correct a typo in my original post. The post should read Tiemco 600 SP, not Owner 600 SP.

02-24-2012, 07:10 AM
I beleive the 2H or 3H at the end of the hook model denotes how heavy it is.

Makes sense to me. The 3H definitley the thickest of the 3 per size.

02-28-2012, 02:07 AM
For what it's worth, I also called Gamakatsu USA up in Washington last Friday to get some information on how they rated hook strengths. They were helpful, but did not have a classification system that rated hook strengths in any quantitative way across their different saltwater fly hook patterns. The person I spoke to also said each hook manufacturer had their own rating system that was different. They alluded that the different manufacturer's classifications systems are done on purpose so itís harder to compare hooks from one manufacturer to the other.

It appears expert opinion is the next best source of information. Other than that, I guess the only way to know is to test different hooks using a force gauge (I happen to own one, but this would be a big project) to test and compare hook strengths more objectively.