Jim H

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About Jim H

  • Rank
    ( Tidewaterfly)
  • Birthday 09/25/1955


  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Fly Tying, Lure & Tackle Making, Fly Fishing, Hunting, Gardening
  • What I do for a living:
    Owner/CEO, J Hester Fly & Tackle Co, LLC. Manning, SC

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  • Location
    Santee Cooper Lakes in SC

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  1. For many lures this will be the best you'll find. VMC has been a major hook supplier for many of the mass produced lures, and they used to have a chart that listed hook sizes & models for lures from manufacturers for which they supplied hooks, but I haven't seen it in a few years. Perhaps they still do. It wouldn't hurt to contact them and ask. For wooden surf plugs from custom makers, if they're still making them, best to contact them and ask. If no longer being produced, maybe someone here would know about specific plug makes & types. . Otherwise, it's a trial & error endeavor.
  2. I tried the fast clips that were sold for fly fishing many years ago, but didn't care for them. They opened too easily IMO. I've also used the pre-made wire leaders, about 6" long, with swivel on one end and snap on the other when specifically targeting Bluefish. That was mainly sight casting to fish on the surface that was chasing bait. Otherwise only tie direct, and as was mentioned with the no slip type loops the majority of the time. You need to tie a knot one way or the other. With a snap or a clip I think folks get lazy about checking the end of the line or tippet for frays, so it causes more fish lost than it should. It should be a habit to tie a good knot & retie as needed. Knots are not difficult to tie.
  3. It's a style, and how it's tied. The original had a hackle tail, with a bucktail collar so the result produced a general small fish form. It's been expanded on a lot since then, with added materials & even tied with all hair or synthetics. I'm also much like Tim S in that I don't have a single color combination that I would call my favorite. There's too many that work well, and it's other variables that often dictate which is a good choice in the moment. I probably use all white, olive over white or chartreuse over white more than any others, plus a gray & white pattern that has some darker color to the back. That may be black, or just whatever dark color I decide to add. I really like the strands of peacock herl on the backs too, even though they get torn off easily. If I'm looking for any larger fish type, without a doubt, I'll tie on a Deceiver, Clouser Minnow or a Half & Half in the various forms before I'll tie on anything else and usually in that order.
  4. There you go! Problem solved!
  5. No doubt that's a problem with many of these off the shelf lures & jigs. That's one reason I pour my own, and have for a lot of years. I wasn't satisfied with the run of the mill stuff. I have some of the plastic shads with the hooks molded in that are way too small for the bodies. In many cases the hook size is too small, but going larger changes something with the plastics action. Can't get too large, on some of the smaller baits or the hook is out the tail end. You're seeing this I'm sure, there's not a real size comparison for jigs & the hooks, compared to the body sizes since every brand has some different measurements. I've been using some different brands of plastic swimbaits that I have to pour jigs with different hooks to fit them, and some of them are the same length body. Then, even if you was pouring your own, you find the problem that we do, that there may not be a really good hook available as a stock production product, then the only alternative is use what fits the closest, or have hooks made and that gets real expensive real fast. I know a guy who just had some hooks made, and he had to buy 50,000 of them. He didn't say what the cost was, but I'm sure it wasn't cheap. I've had to go to using straight shank hooks and sinker eyes for some that I've made, just to get a better hook. That can be done with bigger jigs where there's enough lead to make them strong enough, but not a good option with lighter weights. If anyone would know, it would be Dan. I pour some bass jigs with the wide gap hooks, but a lot of folks don't care for them for bass fishing and I'm not a big fan. I hear the same things about the wide gap plastic worm hooks too. I prefer to use the wide gap jig hooks for making weighted swimbait hooks instead of jigs with them, where the weight is molded on the shank rather than at the hook eye. I pour some of them on 10/0 hooks which may be a better option for you with shad bodies that don't have the jig molded in. For the size jigs, I can also get round bend hooks that fit the same mold that takes the wide gap hooks, and in larger sizes, but they're not really a jig that might not be a good choice for Stripers unless you're only chasing schoolies. As I mentioned, it's getting tougher to find a good & strong jig now for all types of fishing.
  6. IMO, it's getting difficult to find jigs that have a really strong hook, and when you do, they may not fit all of the plastics real well. I pour my own, and have used the Mustad 34184/34185 hooks, which are about as strong as you'll find, but now not all sizes are still being produced. I use all the brands, and the majority of the black nickel hooks are not as strong as those Mustads especially as you get into larger sizes. I make a bucktail with an underspin blade, which I've posted on SOL before, which will take either of those Mustads in 8/0, and will also take most of the black nickel jig hooks in 8/0. However, they're a lighter wire. I use the Mustad Ultra Points in it, and they're fine for plastic bodies & the fishing I do in the lake, but may not be the best choice for other waters and other plastic baits. These plastic shad lures, like Storm, are being made with hooks from Chinese hook makers, since the lures are generally made there. They may not be flimsy, but not as strong as they should be. That's sometimes a compromise that's made to control costs. They attempt to make a "one size fits all fish species", and we know it won't. Part of the problem with tackle is too many folks want it great, but also cheap in price. You may have to go custom to really get what you need, and that's going to cost you more. There was a discussion in the past few years about jigs & hooks. Tinman Dan has posted some great comments about the topic. I think you have to just keep looking around, and trying some different brands, until you find something that works for you. Try the BST forum here. Maybe even ask Dan to make some for you.
  7. Frank, I've only owned small boats, 16' jon and a Gheenoe, so that limited where I would go, and much of the time it was in the rivers, rather than the bay. But, I fished with friends often enough who had larger craft & enjoyed getting on the bay. Our family went with a charter for several years, out of Chesapeake Beach so most fishing I did in the main stem of the bay was from there & north. Like you I did travel some to the coast and fished those same areas that you mentioned and up in DE at Henlopen Park in Lewes. It was mostly fishing with baits, not a lot of lures, although I did give fly tackle a try while in those areas. Some places simply are not the best for tossing lures, either because of the lay of the land, or the numbers of people. It not that it can't be done, just isn't always practical. The majority of surf fishing I've done too was when I was younger, as I mentioned previous, we vacationed in OC then. In later years, we spent more time in SC on the coast, and I did more fishing in the backwaters rather than on the beaches. MD has a lot of diverse fishing, and I too used fly tackle a lot when fishing freshwater, but did so often enough in the tidal rivers & creeks for LM bass, the panfish species and Striped Bass. There was one small creek I particularly enjoyed fishing off the Honga River, as it was only accessible by boat, and I seldom saw other anglers. It was "saltwater", with salinity content too high for the freshwater species and depending on time of year, a variety of saltwater fish might be present. I took my fly tackle there too. I did some trout fishing, have fished most of the better known streams from Hagerstown & east, and some lesser known. As much as I can get into fly fishing for the trout, with the population in MD, so can a lot of other people, and that kept me away from some of it. I spent more time on trout streams in late summer, fall & winter, when most others were doing other things. I certainly spent more time chasing the brackish water LM bass than any other type of fishing except perhaps the panfish, which were also present in the same waters as the bass. There were a few freshwater streams that I frequented, because of the SM populations. They've always been my favorite freshwater fish species.
  8. IMO, you guys were moving too fast with your speed. Cut the speed in half, 1.5 to 2.5 mph would be a better speed. 3 to 4 is a better choice if you targeting Spanish Macs. If you don't know how much line you had out, there's no possible way you can know what depth you're getting the lures down to. You need to mark your lines in some manner, or get a line counter. I know a lot of folks who troll that area of the bay & they don't use wire. You can get down deep enough without it, but again, you have to know how much line you have out or it won't matter what you're using. Marking fish on the electronics does nothing if you can't get your lures at that depth. For all you know, as Brian said, you could have been several feet over their heads, and chances are that was your problem at the speed you were moving. Also, where was the tide while you were out there? If you're not checking the tides & using that to your advantage, you're going to spend a lot of time riding around, and still not catching any fish. You want some current. You're also usually better off trolling across the current than with it, or against it, but that can depend on the boat traffic and where you are in bay. The MD DNR site has a tidefinder link, and it was always a good one. It's been a long while since I've been on the bay, but If I remember correctly, the main channel down in that area on the eastern side can be rather deep. ( 50' and deeper?) You'll figure it out, eventually, but you need to come up with a better plan, and set your lines so you know how deep your trolling. SOL, does have a Chesapeake Bay forum, so your questions may also be more appropriate there instead of the main forum. You might also be better off asking this of some of the guys on a site like ****. I stopped going on there several years back, due to too much BS, but there used to be more guys there that trolled the bay than you'll find here. Edit: I didn't realize that site name would get blocked out. It's more of a Chesapeake bay site, so do some searching. Check out a fellow on Facebook, Skip Zinck, he fishes the bay, often out of Sandy Point but doesn't usually mind giving general advice. You might also check with Shawn Kimbro, who does a lot of light tackle fishing in the bay. I don't know how much trolling he does, but maybe he can direct you to someone. He has a blog too.
  9. Got to love all the folks who are only interested in dry fly hackle! I've obtained some very nice hackle from auctions because it wasn't "dry fly" type. That's a great grab!
  10. IMO, the "best" fly for any type of fishing will be the one that produces. It's always subjective, because what works well for me, may not for another angler, and there's going to be multiple flies that will work well for anyone, where they're fishing. If there was only one fly that was the "best", then it's all that would be needed, everyone would be using it, and we know that's not the case. I agree with what's been said, and the flies suggested. They're all proven. Also, as has been said, size can make a difference in the degree of success, so it's not simply about the fly pattern, but also it's size. For example, tie on a white Clouser that's only 3" long, you may not have the same success if you had tied on a 5" version, so beyond the patterns & styles, you also need a variety of sizes. It's been many years since I caught flounder/fluke in the NE. We used to vacation in Ocean City, MD when my wife & I first got married, often around the 4th of July. ( 41 years, so a long time). I caught them in the surf back then on 5" Rebel Minnows fished near the bottom. When I tried it with flies, I made the mistake of tying them much smaller than 5". I caught some, mostly small, but when I did go to larger flies, those I caught were bigger. At that time, there had been bulkheads built, perpendicular, along the beach to curb erosion of the sand, and the waves & tides had washed out holes at the ends. Those fish would move in & lay in the bottoms of the holes, and grab what was washed down to them. They were not the only fish that took advantage of those structures. I discovered those holes by accident, while wading around in the surf, We had been fishing with baits between the bulkheads early in the morning & late in the day, and primarily only caught small sand sharks. So, as Drew C. mentioned, structure can be a key ingredient. I haven't spent a lot of time fishing the surf here in SC, so any that I've caught have been in backwater areas adjacent to inlets. They're almost always picked up in areas of oyster bars, or in a creek where there's a deep hole or bend, where the current cuts into the shore creating a steep bank. These areas direct food to them with the current, and then it's up to the decision making process of which fly to tie on. I have to also admit that I have yet to hook any on a fly since moving down here. Any that I've caught have been on bait.
  11. You're welcome! BTW, do you know Shawn Kimbro? If not, he's a well known fishing guy who lives in MD. He's not a native, but is a real fine angler and gentleman, has a blog & has written some books on fishing. Check out his blog. He posts some excellent fishing information for MD and other places. There's a Fishing Maryland group on Facebook too if you use FB. Folks there won't spot burn either, and some of them, well, they're not real social, but you can sometimes glean a bit of information from what folks there post. If it gets real tough finding some fishing spots, send me a private message & I'll see if I can help you out. I've been gone from MD for 5 years, but still know plenty of places that I used to go to and fish.
  12. I realize, that MD still has some closures & restrictions, but they also have a map on the DNR website, that shows various things like parks, and boat ramps and other public access points. That map can be invaluable in scouting out potential fishing areas as many places with boat ramps, also have shore fishing access. It will never be a given, that even with access, you're going to be catching anything, but at least it gives you information for potential. When I lived in MD, and I did so for 59 years, the majority of fishing that I did was on the eastern shore, from a boat or from shore and I particularly liked places in Dorchester County. I knew people down there too so that helped. If you want to catch fish in MD, you need to be a multi'species angler and fish all types of water with different types of gear. If you want to "surf" fish, unless you go to the coast, you're going to sit a lot & wait a lot. If you only want to toss plugs, you're going to be practicing your casting, a lot. I didn't live too far from Sandy Point. I went there as a kid, but rarely as an adult to fish. Plenty of folks fish there, but that's also why I didn't. So, I found other places, but I had to drive to them. You will be far ahead, with some type of watercraft, even if it's a belly boat or paddle board, but that too will limit you. Get a Kayak or canoe, something you can carry on a vehicle, and it opens a lot of opportunities, as long as you're willing to travel. I had both a Gheenoe & a jon boat, both on trailers. There's a lot of fishing potential in MD, but you can't be real picky and you will have to find it when it's the best time to be in any one place. Most places are not secrets. The fish movements are generally predictable, and you have to be where they're at, when they're biting. Pay attention to the tides for tidal water. There's a lot of folks in MD, looking for the same thing. Some know, and go, others don't. Otherwise, stay at home and ask questions about places on a fishing site & get very little in return.
  13. In the years that I've been tying flies or jigs, I've used various paints & coatings for applying color or sealing threads. This type of question is often asked on fly tying sites because a lot of folks use nail polish on the heads of flies. Dyes used to color materials and preservatives used on materials or pesticides would likely have some smell to them, even if we can't detect it. The fact is, there'a a lot of things that have some odor to it that hardly anyone ever asked about. Those plastic shads or grubs you might use, the plastisol is petroleum based. Same with the silicone skirts used on various lures, they often have a petroleum smell to them when new. Many of the paints used on jigs have various solvents in them. Do they completely dissipate? We may not be able to smell it, but doesn't mean there's not an odor left that some other animals can detect. You touch the lures & other tackle don't you, and your odor gets on everything you touch. The fact is, the odors we smell in air, isn't necessarily what these fish we chase can smell in water. Their sense of smell isn't the same as our's, and a material would have to be soluble in the water, otherwise, they can't possibly "smell" them. They can smell much smaller amounts of dissolved odors, like a dog or fox can smell things that we can't, but again it has to be dissolved & soluble. I know that many times, I've coated heads on jigs with vinyl paints and used them the next day, with new plastics, and many times coated the heads on flies with nail polish and was still able to catch fish on them. To me, that tells me it's a non-issue. As long as the solvents in any of these coatings has sufficient time to dry, there should never be an issue.
  14. I've been doing this a long time, and the only hooks that I recall ever seeing that was even close, was the old Keel Fly hooks. Mustad and Eagle Claw both made them, and both had a stainless steel version. I still have some of them. I've never seen any worm hooks that were tinned or stainless otherwise. There was another company several years back that had a couple of versions that were similar to those Keel hooks, but I believe they all had a black nickel finish. They were being sold as a worm hook, and I don't know if they're still around. Those Keel hooks had their use, but IMO, would not have made a good worm hook, not compared to what's made now. Many of these worm hooks work better as a fly hook too than those Keel hooks did. If there was enough demand for these types of hooks for fly tying, these designs would do well I think, but I doubt that type of demand exists. Back in the late 80's, early 90's, Mustad made a stainless "Bendback" hook for awhile, model number 34005. It was just a bent 34007. They didn't make them for very long, just not enough demand to justify making them I guess. I frankly didn't care for them. The bend in the front section of the shank was at too much of an angle, and that caused the point to be at a poor angle for penetration. I have a display card around here somewhere that Mustad sent me that showed the various sizes. Most folks who tied Bendbacks, bent the 34007 or 34011 to make them, and the bend only had to be very slight.
  15. Owner had a hook similar to that OMTD, that they called a "Longneck" hook. They stopped making them, and I bought a bunch of them as the shops were closing them out. Most I was able to buy were in size 2 & 1. Best "Bendback" hook I've ever used. If you happen upon them, grab them because they are an excellent hook for flies. I'll have to check out those OMTD hooks! The Owner hooks have a little rubber cone on them, down the shank that was intended to help keep plastics on them. Remove the cones for tying flies on them. I really wish they would make them again and offer them in bulk packs, but without the rubber cone or barbs on the shank. This is the hook and a fly that I've tied with them.