Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 32 - Hook Understanding

I recently grabbed an old copy of Fly Tyer magazine (Spring 2008). I have no idea why it was at the top of the pile of fly magazines, possibly due to the fact that I'm still sorting through stuff from the move?

Anyway, I read an interesting article on hook design ("Hook Sense" by Bill "Bugs" Logan). I have to admit, I never thought too much on my hooks. I mean, if my pattern called for a Mustad 540, I would use a Mustad 540 without ever thinking what made that hook different from a Mustad 540L. I know this probably doesn't make me a great fly tyer because of this, but I muddled by.

Now before I move on, I have to say that I also just recently read "Which Dry Fly Works Best?" in the Autumn 2009 issue of Fly Tyer. (I just realized that both articles were written by Bill "Bugs" Logan, hmmm...) This article focuses on breaking through the traditional modes of thoughts about fly tying proportions.

So now I'm left questioning my past fly tying methods and madness. The hook article shows the same pattern tied on different hook styles. The best looking pattern (to my eye) was tied on a completely different hook style. Also, according to the author, it should allow a better hookup because the hook has a wider gape.

This truly has my mind whirling. It doesn't seem like a huge advance in knowledge for most people, but it gives me just a little bit more to think about when I sit down at the vise. Things like hook eyes and gaps and angle of hook will now haunt me when I pick up a hook. I never really needed this extra burden. Yet, in my search for the Holy Grail of flies, I suppose it is something to be considered.

While may feel overburdened by this new information, I also feel liberated with this new information. When I sit down at the vise and the pattern calls for a Daiichi swimming nymph hook, and I look at my supplies and see only scud hooks, I may no longer feel the need to run to the fly shop for new hooks. I'm sure my wife will question me the next time I say I need to get hooks at the fly shop now, "Are you sure you need that 2x short heavy nymph hook? Why don't you use that egg hook?"

I guess the biggest lesson from these two articles is that I shouldn't feel fettered to the pattern. Fly tying is an art and art should be an expression of yourself. Therefore, maybe I shouldn't follow the rules too faithfully.

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