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Hooks for Small Eelies

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I'm wondering what hooks you prefer when tying small flatwing eelies. What brand, model number and sizes do you think work best for 1-1/2" up to about a 4" eelie? With these flies having such a narrow profile, does a smaller lighter hook seem to give it a better action? I currently have the Mustad S71S SS down to a size #8 and the Mustad C68S SS down to a size #6 that I could use for these eelies. I am aware that many of you are not too fond of Mustad hooks. Are there lighter, stronger, rust resistant hooks that may be a better choice for these small flies? For schoolie stripers on the Cape, what size hook do you think would work best on a 1-1/2" eelie? How about a 2", 2-1/2", 3", 3-1/2", 4"?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

 

Tim

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check out the eagle claw 254, it comes in a few finishes such as sea guard(I prefer the sea guard), or stainless steel. It is a good cheap hook, and has a large eye. I really like the owner hooks, both the AKI and the gorilla light(super short shank), however it is at a higher price point. I also havent had many problems with the Mustad signature series, c68sz in particular, sort of a middle of the road on the pricing spectrum.

 

As for sizing, scale it down to suit your situation and or desired sinkrate.

FWIW- I don't fish 1 1/2" eelies, smallest I would tie would be around 2.5"-3", and I would probably tie that on a size 1 as a starting point. I do a fair amount of fishing during small bait swarms(cinder and clam worms, shrimp, juvi silversides, etc...) and I think there are better choices for flies that small. bunny makes a fine small fly material, as does bucktail. Play around with weighting, bead head, dumbell eyes, lead under wraps, or no weight.

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I tie and fish a lot of sand eels, both bucktail and flatwing, in the lengths you mention. I use all kinds of different hooks.

 

This is the Big Eelie done up in Bruins colors. It's 4.5" long, but it could easily be made in the upper end of your size range. Here's the thing: because of the size of the stripers I sometimes run into and my penchant for putting a lot of pressure on the fish, I was bending out 1/0 hooks. So now I tie this pattern only on 3/0 Eagle Claw 253 hooks, regardless of the length of the fly (never tied it below 3"). Haven't had a single bending problem since.

 

[img=

 

Here's a bunch of little guys that are more in the size range you mention. The top ones are bucktails, but you could use the same hook I used here: TMC 7999. I tie these on a 6 and 8 and 10. I believe the hooks are rated for a 50# fish, so bending has not been an issue for me.

 

http://www.flyaddict.com/gallery/data/519/medium/Sparsesandeels.JPG]

 

The bottom fly is an Eelie, tied on a Mustad 3407, I think a 1 or 2. I don't use that hook anymore in the 1-2-4 range, but rather the Gamakatsu SC15. It's a tarpon hook with a nice short shank and a sticky sharp point.

 

FWIW, I rinse all my flies out after a bath in the salt.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Steve Culton

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Ian, Thanks for your recommendations on the Owner AKI and Gorilla Light hooks. Next visit to a tackle shop, I'll check them out. The Eagle Claw 254's in stainless steel I have already in 1/0 and larger. A couple of years ago, someone here recommended them for replacing the rear treble hooks on plugs because they have large eyes. I've used them for that, but I can't recall using them yet for fly tying. I've mostly be using various models of the Mustad Signature series. They are often not too sharp out of the box, but debarbing and sharpening if necessary is SOP for me. I'll keep the EC 254 in Sea Guard in mind too. Ian, you mention using bunny for small flies, is there a specific pattern that you like to imitate small springtime sand eels?

 

Steve, I've noticed over the past couple of years that many of the pictures of smaller flies that you have posted have been tied on the TMC 7999 hooks. Those look like they would work well for a strong hook in the 6-10 sizes. I have to confess that I don't know what the advantages are of using the upturned eye hooks. I have seen in some knot tying books that the leader is passed through the eye and tied around the hook shank. The eelies don't seem to have room for this. Do you use a non- slip mono loop to tie these flies onto your leader? The Gamakatsu SC15's usually seem to be very well rated here and I'll probably start adding some to the inventory.

 

In May, two years ago I think that I might have caught my fish of a lifetime (at least I doubt I can repeat this in my lifetime!). I foul hooked a sand eel while fly fishing. It was 2-3/8" long and the diameter of a wooden match stick!...I think that this is the match-the-hatch size eelie I need to tie for May on the south side of the Cape. When tying a flatwing that small, would you still use a bucktail platform?

 

Thanks for the help.

 

Tim

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In May, two years ago I think that I might have caught my fish of a lifetime (at least I doubt I can repeat this in my lifetime!). I foul hooked a sand eel while fly fishing. It was 2-3/8" long and the diameter of a wooden match stick!...I think that this is the match-the-hatch size eelie I need to tie for May on the south side of the Cape. When tying a flatwing that small, would you still use a bucktail platform?

 

Personally, no, I would not use a BT platform. In fact, I would make the argument that a great deal is lost when scaling down a flatwing, tied in the traditional sense, to 2.5" and would opt for a different approach to an eelie mimic. Perhaps one that incorporates thin hackles. However, I think that might be off topic somewhat.

 

If you are looking for another hook in addition to the ones previous authors have mentioned, consider the Daiichi X510, size 4. This hook has a wide gap bend, 3x short shank and 3x heavy wire. Not going to loose the OTHER fish of the lifetime! Along with Steve, I also tie a lot on the Tiemco 7999, mostly because of my love for tying steelhead and salmon flies, from which this hook is very popular. And although I have intentionally tied flies targeting Striped Bass with them, I have my doubts on their holding power should a large fish happen along.

 

Kevin

 

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Do you use a non- slip mono loop to tie these flies onto your leader?

 

When tying a flatwing that small, would you still use a bucktail platform?

 

 

Hi Tim,

 

Every fly I fish with for stripers is tied to the leader with an improved clinch knot. I don't know if it's better or worse than any other knot; it's just what I use. On the TMC 7999, I tie it to the leader like any other hook. The stripers don't seem to care. Like MSax, I like that hook because of its heritage, but also because it is good for an elongated body.

 

When the sand eel bait is that small, I usually use a fly like the bucktails pictured or the Eelie. You can get some details on how I tie those flies here:

http://www.stripersonline.com/t/737022/small-simple-and-very-effective-sand-eels

 

Ken used three saddles (I use saddle tips) in his original Eelie; I use just two. I also use bucktail, but I take the finer hairs from the tip of the bucktail. Again, to MSax's point, I don't think you need the bucktail. You certainly don't need it to serve the same purpose as the platform on a 5 or 7" fly. It's just how I tie the fly.

 

The Golden Knight is also tied with those very fine hairs from the tip of a bucktail.

 

I have another book for you to get: Stripers and Streamers by Ray Bondorew. WIthin its pages are a third wonderful arrow for your matchstick-sized sand eel quiver: Ray's Marabou Sand Eel. It's a daisy of a fly.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Steve Culton

 

 

 

 

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Kevin, Thanks for the Daiichi X510 size #4 recommendation. I wasn't at all familiar with that hook so I checked it out on the Internet. Is it good for saltwater use? I always rinse off my gear with fresh water after I use it but even so I still get some rust on some lures I use like yo-zuri crystal minnows. I've never noticed any rust on flies with the Mustad Signature Series of stainless steel hooks. I really like hooks that are not inclined to rust easily. Are salmon/steelhead hooks usually good for use in saltwater?

 

Steve, I followed your link to The Golden Knight and Eelie Variant. When I got there I realized that I had saved it into my fly patterns file shortly after you initially posted it. Thanks for reminding me about it. I was inspired by it and tied up a couple of The Golden Knights ( sans JC eyes ) this afternoon. I have to say that I really like the look that blending the bucktail gives to a fly. I've done it occasionally over the last couple of years, but I really should incorporate it into my tying more. It really is aesthetically pleasing.

 

I noticed that in your original description of the Eelie Variant that you used 3 flatwings. In the above post you mention that you now use just 2 feathers. Is there a special reason that lead you to settle on 2?

 

I have enjoyed reading " Stripers and Streamers" and pick it up and refer back to it often. I had it open on the desk to guide me when I tied my first Ray's fly a couple of years ago. Since it is small in size and contains a lot of good information, I sometimes take it to read if I'm going to be sitting in a waiting room for a while. Thanks for thinking about it and recommending it in your post.

 

Tim

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Hi Tim,

 

I think I just went with two hackle tips on the Eelie because I thought two were enough.

 

Sometimes it's pretty unscientific. :-)

 

Steve

 

 

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