Updated: Aug 25, 2022
This is going to be a series of starting to tie flies. We are going to be learning together on this journey.
After some thought the first place to start is hooks and hook terminology. Below is a diagram of a hook with the terms for each part of the hook.
1. Eye: The eye is where you attach to the hook (normal fishing line or leader).
As you can see there are several types of eyes.
A. The ringed eye is the most common, with actual two types of ringed eyes the style illustrated above where the end on the hook is bent around and almost touches the shank. The second where the gap is welded or brazed close.
B. The needle eye works well with fresh bait, you can thread it though the bait much easier.
C. The tapered eye is an eye that works well for dry flies, the tapered end reduces the weight which aids in floating the dry fly.
D. The looped eye works for wet flies, giving them extra weight.
Above are a few of the most common examples of hooks eye.
2. Shank: Is right behind the eye, it is the backbone of the hook. It can be straight or curve depending on what type of hook it is.
3. Bend: The bend is where the hook literally bends it helps to generate the force required for the point to hook the fish.
4. Barbs: There are several styles of barbs. Below is a diagram of the most common types of barbs
A. Needle point: Needle points tapers to the shank. This design causes minimal damage once it is though the fish keeping the hole small.
B. Spear point: Spear point are one of the most common points it comes straight from the throat. These points are easier to sharpen.
C. Hollow point: Hollow points have a curve in the barb. They stay in place quite well once it is set however it can be hard to set the hook with certain species of fish.
D. Knife edge point: The knife edge is sharp on both sides and pierce quite well (these are not recommended for catch and release).
E. No barb: No barbs is also an option (the are great for catch and release)
5. Gap or gape: Gap is the distance from the point to the inside of the shank.
6. Throat: The throat is the distance from the inside center of the bend to the top of the point.
The Size of hooks
First thing is we need to understand there is no industry standard for hook size. So, a size 10 Aberdeen hook from eagle claw will be slightly different from a #10 Aberdeen hook from Mustad.
A size 30 is the smallest hook as the number get smaller the hook gets larger with 1 being the largest before going to the X/0 series then it goes from 1/0 being the smallest to 10/0 being the largest.
The Extras (the “X’s”)
(Note: the examples below do not actually describe a hook that could be easily purchased)
If you have a number 10 Aberdeen 2X long, it means that the wire diameter of the hook is still the same diameter as the standard #10. What changes is the length of the shank so the two long means it is 2 sizes longer than the standard #10. So, it would be a size 6 shank length. Conversely a # 10 Aberdeen 2X Short would have a shank length the same as a #14. (Remember the smaller the number the larger the hook and the higher the number the smaller the hook).
Staying with the example above a number 10 Aberdeen 2X long 2X heavy means that not only does the shank length by 2 sizes so does the wire diameter. Conversely a # 10 Aberdeen 2X Short 2X fine would have a shank length the same as a #14 along with the same size wire as a #14. As well as using the word heavy some companies use the word strong.
There are also some hooks that has an X2 Gape. Which as you have guessed it is the distance from the tip on the point to the inside of the shank of a hook the is twice the size as the one listed.
The above covers the basic terminology of fishhooks.
I hope you enjoyed it