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RedGreen

Adjust your fly tracking by changing hook offset

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Recently I've been looking for places to get hooks to tie flies on that aren't crazy expensive and in local shops so I don't have to buy everything online, and so I decided to give octopus hooks a try. 

 

After straightening they make fine big fly hooks, above a 5/0 I would go with gamakatsu over eagle claw as they're a better quality hook. The smaller sizes don't matter quite as much. 

 

Anyways, the point of this thread. 

 

I have found through testing that you can "tune" a fly's tracking by bending its hook so it's bend/point is offset towards one side or another. If you have a fly that spins so it's right side (fly facing you) rolls up, bend the hook with a pair of pliers so it's offset to the left side. Test and tune, eventually it will ride just right. 

 

I mentioned the octopus hooks in this as they usually come pre-offset and this process is usually critical to get them to swim exactly right. If you do this correctly, the fly will track true even if you pull it as fast as you can through the water. 

 

Some flies tied on octopus hooks. Bottom three on 7/0 eagle claws, top one is a tandem 8/0 and 10/0 gamakatsu, fly is an honest 12" long. The 7/0 is good to about an 8-9" fly, unless it's extremely bulky. 

 

5b89fa41207e2_IMG_20180831_22231263101.jpg.b0c0b491a8ce3f3689f68fef74c2b737.jpg

Edited by RedGreen

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Great looking flies Redgreen. I like you're thinking on this. One question: will bending the hooks weaken them? I broke a jig the other day--one of the nice ones I think it was an owner on a maybe 5 lb bass and I think it happen because I bent out the jig and bent it back to keep fishing it. It broke at the bend. 

 

Breaking is one issue. But weakening leading to bending open is another. Your thoughts?

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It depends on the hook. 

 

I have done this mainly with octopus hooks, the eagle claw and gamakatsu ones. They are very resilient. 

 

I know from my experience working with metals from knifemaking that at a certain hardness point in steels the point in which they deform plasticly (bending) is very close to their breaking point and just a bit less than that and they mostly spring right back (only elastic deformation). That's around a Rockwell C hardness of 60. At around 20, the hardness of annealed steel, there is no real elasticity and the metal bends instead of flexes. Fish hooks tend to be somewhere in the middle, albeit impossible to say without testing them with a hardness tester. 

 

It mostly depends on how far you bend them. To do this tracking fix, you need at most 15° of angle applied though bending an offset, which will not be enough to compromise the hook. Most often it is much less than that. 

Edited by RedGreen

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Great explanation RedGre. Of course different hooks, different steels, different thicknesses. With the Gamis, have you found them easy to sharpen? I had trouble but I think I was using too coarse a file. Am now using diamond file which takes a lot less off hook, saving steel for more sharpenings and longer life. 

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17 hours ago, Otshawytsha said:

Great explanation RedGre. Of course different hooks, different steels, different thicknesses. With the Gamis, have you found them easy to sharpen? I had trouble but I think I was using too coarse a file. Am now using diamond file which takes a lot less off hook, saving steel for more sharpenings and longer life. 

With a handful of exceptions, Gamakatsu hooks are high carbon steel. You'll wear a groove in your file before it has any effect on the hook. High carbon will rust, and break, but they do hold an edge much better than stainless, and I've lost some very memorable fish to bent stainless hooks. I eventually gave up on them for everything but bonefish flies. You guys are targeting different fish, in different habitat, if you've never had a problem with stainless than it's unlikely that you ever will.

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18 hours ago, Otshawytsha said:

Great explanation RedGre. Of course different hooks, different steels, different thicknesses. With the Gamis, have you found them easy to sharpen? I had trouble but I think I was using too coarse a file. Am now using diamond file which takes a lot less off hook, saving steel for more sharpenings and longer life. 

I have not attempted to sharpen the gamis, but from how they felt in my hands when I removed their default offset, a mill bastard file would do nothing to them. You need abrasives for those. The eagle claw ones I have not tried myself but should be sharpenable with a file, as they are cheaper and softer than the gamakatsus. 

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On 8/31/2018 at 10:32 PM, RedGreen said:

Recently I've been looking for places to get hooks to tie flies on that aren't crazy expensive and in local shops so I don't have to buy everything online, and so I decided to give octopus hooks a try. 

 

After straightening they make fine big fly hooks, above a 5/0 I would go with gamakatsu over eagle claw as they're a better quality hook. The smaller sizes don't matter quite as much. 

 

Anyways, the point of this thread. 

 

I have found through testing that you can "tune" a fly's tracking by bending its hook so it's bend/point is offset towards one side or another. If you have a fly that spins so it's right side (fly facing you) rolls up, bend the hook with a pair of pliers so it's offset to the left side. Test and tune, eventually it will ride just right. 

 

I mentioned the octopus hooks in this as they usually come pre-offset and this process is usually critical to get them to swim exactly right. If you do this correctly, the fly will track true even if you pull it as fast as you can through the water. 

 

Some flies tied on octopus hooks. Bottom three on 7/0 eagle claws, top one is a tandem 8/0 and 10/0 gamakatsu, fly is an honest 12" long. The 7/0 is good to about an 8-9" fly, unless it's extremely bulky. 

 

5b89fa41207e2_IMG_20180831_22231263101.jpg.b0c0b491a8ce3f3689f68fef74c2b737.jpg

RedGreen,

 

Do you tie Intruders or similar flies "in the round"?  I have found with Intruder style hooks, particularly up-eyed versions, that they spin no matter how I try to mitigate the effect, such as using hackle as outriggers, or tying more material above than below the shank.  I typically rig my Intruders old-school, by running the tippet through the eye and then through a mono loop on the back of the shank and then through junction tubing.

 

Mark

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Put me squarely in the camp that would not ever bend a hook in any manner intentionally. I cannot imagine a scenario where that would not weaken the hook. 

Yes, I know tiers have been doing it for decades with bendbacks, etc. And yes, I know it's been discussed to death among the plug builders who clip their trebles to affix them to plugs. 

 

Use material distribution and balance to keel flies, not bending hooks or lead. 

Just my $ .02.

Alan

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On 9/14/2018 at 6:01 AM, Gilbey said:

Put me squarely in the camp that would not ever bend a hook in any manner intentionally. I cannot imagine a scenario where that would not weaken the hook. 

Yes, I know tiers have been doing it for decades with bendbacks, etc. And yes, I know it's been discussed to death among the plug builders who clip their trebles to affix them to plugs. 

 

Use material distribution and balance to keel flies, not bending hooks or lead. 

Just my $ .02.

Alan

Alan,

 

Have you ever tested hooks and metals yourself to find their breaking point? Not trying to be an *** just opening up for discussion. I do a lot of metalworking and can tell when the metal is getting fatigued to the point of weakening. I've bent tons of hooks and never once had an issue. The best ones for bending are the softest ones as they are the most ductile and will suffer the least damage. It's the ones that are tempered very hard that are best left alone, as their elastic strength is very close to their ultimate strength, so push it just a hair too far and it will straight up break. Not enough, and it won't plasticly deform and just go right back to it's original shape.

 

The eagle claw octopus hooks can take it. Most high ends gami's or japanese hooks I would not try. The B10s is one that comes to mind.

 

Regardless, it's a quick fix that can get your fly working when seemingly nothing else will. I tie my flies to proper proportions and am always sure to not overdress them and keep the majority of the bulk above the hook shank. They still sometimes wigg out a little and don't swim quite right. A tiny touch of bend helps keep them swimming perfect when nothing else seems to work.

 

Not an optimal fix but it is A fix, which was the whole point of this thread.

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All good points Red, no offense taken. It works for you so that's what matters :th: . I have not done any testing on hooks. I am speaking only from on the water experience. I'm no expert, just a fisherman. 

 

My question is this;  Let's say you are fishing, and you are fortunate enough to have found some very good fishing. There are big fish eating flies within casting range. You hook, fight and land a very good fish. While extracting the hook you bend the gap open considerably. Do you bend it back and keep fishing? Or do you tie on a new fly? 

I tie a new fly on every day of the week. The hook is compromised IMHO. 

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3 mins ago, Gilbey said:

All good points Red, no offense taken. It works for you so that's what matters :th: . I have not done any testing on hooks. I am speaking only from on the water experience. I'm no expert, just a fisherman. 

 

My question is this;  Let's say you are fishing, and you are fortunate enough to have found some very good fishing. There are big fish eating flies within casting range. You hook, fight and land a very good fish. While extracting the hook you bend the gap open considerably. Do you bend it back and keep fishing? Or do you tie on a new fly? 

I tie a new fly on every day of the week. The hook is compromised IMHO. 

 

Gilbey I've done that with Eagle 254s. It works fine. Although I feel the hook has less elastic strength and will bend back open much easier second time around. Had this happen while surfcasting and dragging fish up beach with the waves--sometimes the wave recedes and you're still pulling and the hook bends out. 

 

Don't worry Redgreen wasn't trying to offend. He was making a good point about the different kinds of metals. Some of them you don't want to bend back or mess with as they can be direly weakened. Ductile strength shot. 

 

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For the record, I have not taken any offense whatsoever. Likewise I didn't intend to offend anyone. We are having a respectful discussion. All good! :)

 

At the end of the day, we are all going to do what we think is best. In no way am I saying anyone is wrong here. 

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Gilbey, I would absolutely tie on a new fly as I have no idea of knowing just how far that hook flexed while during the fight. If it were a fairly soft cheap hook you could maybe get away with bending it back but I wouldn't risk it. That's why I try to always carry two of each fly I carry. If one fails and that's the only one they're hitting then I have a backup. 

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