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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 12-23-2004, 05:49 AM
Nick Pionessa OOFS
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: wny
Posts: 160
not offended at all, and how i got to defending a tiemco is beyond me. another question for someone who has fished the pnw (you), does anyone use standard aj's in #5 for those big fish rivers? i have always thought they were a little on the light side. i know friends that use the larger 2051 for atlantics but that #5 seems awfully light. opinions, please.
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Old 12-23-2004, 07:17 AM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Great lakes and West Coast Steelhead
Posts: 165
Even though I'm out there a couple times a year I'm sure there are more qualified people on the forum to answer this. I do know that in the summer on the Deschutes a size #5 AJ is very common. John and Amy Hazel who guide out there do most of there flies on light wire AJ. In the summer on the deschutes I have found 10 lbs to be an average fish.
My experience with winter fishing is that most of the people I've fished with stick to heavier irons due to the potential for larger fish in heavier flows. I think the ability of the larger iron to sink also plays a large role.
The smaller AJ's have always been a source of internal conflict for me. I think they are a beautiful hook and I think they fish very well with a floating line for near surface presentation. I have certainly landed fish on them up to 15 lbs although I have also straightened a few out (the most vivid memory I have of straightening one was trying to turn a fish on the Umpqua that was headed for rapids where I had no chance to follow, the fish came loose and the hook gap was opened up when I retrieved the fly back in. For reference I think I was fishing 12 lb tippet but might have been 15).
For the GL I really prefer the2441, 7999 and 2151. I also fish the AJ heavy wire spey. I wish Alec would come out with the heavy wire in #5 and #7. Those would be perfect for the GL winter fishing.

I've been rambling, but in summary I avoid AJ #5 in big rivers for winter steelhead but like them for dry line summer steelhead.

The nice thing about this forum is I'm sure someone will disagree and share another perspective .

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Old 12-23-2004, 07:59 AM
Shaq Shaq is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Eastern Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain, NY
Posts: 146
I bought a pack of targus hooks from Cabelas and have found them to be a decent heavy wire hook. They have a nice shape for tying hackled spey flies and landlock salmon type flies.
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:28 AM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Grand River, Ontario
Posts: 2,084
I've found that the 2051 AJs #5s will open up and break off points on snags but I still use 'em anyway. For the get-down stuff, I'm using Kamasan B190 Deepwater Salmon Singles. Not as pretty as an AJ but they do get down. Generally, if I have to use a T-6 or a T-8 then I'm switching over to the Kamasans.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:12 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 3,346
I live in the PNW and use the AJ spey hook in both #5 and #7 for summer fish and have not had a hook open up. However, in summer I use 8lb tippet and if I horse a fish, it will break the tippet if it decides to take off.

I find the AJ spey hook in #5 to be a very good hook for low water spey flies and even carry a few royal blue and red spey flies on them in winter for when we get a freeze and the water gets low, clear, and cold (in the low to mid 30's). I've caught fish to 13lbs on the AJ #5 in the low, clear, cold conditions just mentioned and did so on my 16' T&T rod with 12lb tippet with no probelm. I just have to remember not to horse the fish or the hook may bend or open up.

The #7 AJ spey hook I use only in the low water of mid-summer to mid-fall and use it tie spiders and light wire Spade's finding it too short and small for a spey fly to look right.

I use the AJ spey in #1.5 and #3 for spey flies in winter and the #3 during the early summer and later fall as well as during very early morning and very late evening in summer low-water. In fact, I use the #3 more than any of the other sizes during winter. I also use the #1.5 for marabou spiders for winter fish. And the #3 makes for a very nice bunny leech hook and it the hook I use for the fuchsia bunny leeches I tie and fish for chum, and I've caught chum to 22lbs on it without a problem. I also use the #1.5 for some full dressed, married wing classics I fish in winter because I prefer the smaller wire it is made of over the heavier wire of standard salmon irons, which results in fewer flies lost to logs or rocks.

I use the AJ blind eye #1.5 for dee flies that I only fish during winter/spring. I haven't used the AJ #3/0 because it has such a large gap that there is too much probablility of damage to smaller fish like Dolly Varden, although when the return eye is opened up and straightened out, it makes for a very nice, long dee on which to tie double wing dees.

The heavy wire AJ spey hooks I use only on G.P.'s because the standard wire AJ's don't have enough mass in the hook bend and point to keep a full-dressed G.P. riding properly in the water with the hook point down, while the heavy wire ones do. I tie them in both #1.5 and #3.

For standard winged flies, Ally's Shrimps, and Irish Shrimp flies, I use either the Daiichi 2441 or the 2141 depending on the time of year. In winter I use the 2441 only in sizes #1/0, 2, and 4 and almost exclusively for Ally's Shrimps is several colors for my own fishing. In summer fall I use the 2441 in #4 and #6 for Ally's Shrimps I fish in the heavier water on a floating line so they sink a little instead of being in the film. The 2421 I use in #4,6,8 for summer-fall fishing and usually only tie Ally's Shrimps or Irish Shrimps on it for my own fishing.

The Daiichi 2131 (Ververka's low water hook, or AJ's River Dee Low Water hook) I use for dry flies (except Bombers, which I put on Daiichi 2220's in #2,4,6) in #4,6,8 and for true low-water featherwings (the body is only 1/2 of the shank with tail, wing, and hackle reduced in size in proportion to the body) in #4,6,8 with #6 being most common.

The Daiichi 2151 (also known as AJ's Steelhead Iron) I use exclusively in summer/fall and only in #8,10 for tying Spade in several colors, which are fishing on floating line.

I wish Alec had a blind eye AJ spey hook in both #3 and #5 on the market (although I've told Alec many times since before he put the #1.5 blind eye on the market that the #3 would be perfect for larger speys) because both would be perfect for spey flies. If you open up and straighten the eye on these, like Steve Gobin has done for years, you get the same thing. It would just be very nice if they were available already made this way.
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Old 12-24-2004, 12:22 AM
Hammer Hammer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: the Rogue
Posts: 637
what about just `touching' the sides of the point with a file or stone,and bending the barbs down halfway,helps me with the doubles i use here,the smaller sizes=`wee doubles' make it tough to keep them pinned,i also bend the body of the fly with my hemos=results=points go down,out
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Old 12-24-2004, 05:33 AM
Nick Pionessa OOFS
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: wny
Posts: 160
thank you all for the opinions.
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