Posts Tagged ‘Hook Test’

The Dohiku Dry Fly Hook Test

October 22, 2010

The thinking angler. Testing Dohiku Dry Fly Hooks.

In a recent post I was suggesting that too many anglers focus all of their attention on the fly and not a lot else. Much as I have believed that for a long time a very interesting discussion with Mike recently brought the idea into further focus.

You see Mike and I had obtained some Dohiku dry fly hooks and were experimenting with them, they are neat looking competition hooks with long points and a dull black japanned finish. They also sport something that seems to have become a standard in many competition hooks, a distinctly turned up point.

This sort of bothered me because I am something of a fanatic when it comes to hooks, sharpening hooks etc and many years ago I threw out all of my up eyed dry fly hooks because I thought that they direction of pull wasn’t correct. In that case probably because in days of old anglers used the “Turle Knot” which effectively gave a straight pull when striking but with more modern knots the strike effectively pulls the hook at the wrong angle. Dozens of dropped or missed fish convinced me and the stock that I had went into the bin. Pity, dry flies tied on up eyed hooks look really neat, it is just that they don’t do a good job of hooking fish which sort of defeats the object.

Back to the Dohikus, I tried them on the stream and started to think that I was missing fish that I shouldn’t be, then a few times I struck to feel a distinct pull as though the timing was dead right only to have the fish swim away seconds later. Eventually having missed or dropped a good many trout I took out the forceps and bent the very point of the hook straight, effectively removing the turned up point and providing a very long straight point to the fly instead. I didn’t miss another fish.

Mike and I were sitting at home chatting about fly fishing, competition fishing and much more, a sort of fly anglers jam session. I suppose were we rock musicians instead of anglers we would have been trying out various combinations of chords or something. Generally chewing the fat and testing verbal hypotheses.

So the subject of these hooks came up and Mike mentioned that he was losing faith in them and wondered if they were really that effective. I then recounted my similar concerns and we started to work on ways that we might test them. It so happened that I had several identical flies tied up on the Dohiku dry fly hooks so we took out two and tied one each at the end of a loop of 7x tippet. One fly received the forceps treatment the other was left untouched. Then putting the nylon through our fingers, one piece between the little and ring finger and one between the middle and index finger we pulled the loop upwards. This effectively applied exactly the same force, same speed etc to both flies as they slipped through the fingers of the closed hand.

Would you believe it the unmodified hook simply popped right through without hooking up whilst the straightened one hooked up? We repeated the process and exactly the same thing happened. Trying to be scientific about it we muddled the flies up so that we didn’t know which was which, the same thing happened. I tried it , the unmodified hook simply popped through whilst the modified one hooked. Mike tried it, the same result. All in all we estimated that the unmodified hook failed to catch around 9 out of every ten times. The modified one never missed.

So it would seem that there is something wrong with the design, but why make a hook that doesn’t work?

I suspect that with the focus on Czech nymphing in competitive fishing the curved in points of many of the hooks works well, the fish are effectively hooking themselves as they turn away with the nymph but on a dry fly the same forces are not in play and one is striking as opposed to allowing the fish to hook themselves.

Which ever way it works not only to my mind does the design fail to work  properly on a dry fly hook I think that I can prove it to you.

Below is a graphic illustration of our experiment, maybe you would like to test it out for yourselves. One thing that I do know, whilst I actually very much like the modified hooks, I like the colour and the shape and have a lot of faith in them when modified, I shan’t be using any that are in the original format. Neither Mike nor myself have any faith in them at all and if you do the test below, you probably won’t have either.

 

Try this test and see for yourself

 

Links related to Dohiku Dry Fly Hooks.

Single Barbed Blog

itieflies Blog

UK Flydressing Double Duck

I haven’t been able to find any  posts or comments suggesting a problem with hook ups but if you do please let us know, it would be interesting to compare our thoughts.

This post is brougth to you by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris in the interests of better and more thoughtful angling.

 

Brought to you by Inkwazi Flyfishing Cape Town's best fly fishing guiding service.

 

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Sharp Hooks are Happy Hooks.

August 13, 2010

KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

It often strikes me that there is so much information about fly fishing available and so much debate about the various merits of different methods, tackle options and which fly to use that we lose touch with the basics. I have to keep things basic, I’m not smart enough to make them complex but even if you are a rocket scientist the same holds true.

For me the most basic improvement that anyone can make to their tackle set up is to be using sharp hooks. After all that is pretty much the business end of things and driving for hours in your multi million dollar 4X4, casting with your shiny new ultra modern, super light  graphite rod and mending your hand crafted degressive flourocarbon leader isn’t going to be worth a jot if the darn hook falls out or fails to penetrate when you eventually get a strike.

You see hooks and their sharpness become all the more critical when you are fishing ultralight gear and for most people fishing a Cape Stream that is going to mean rods from triple “ought” to #3 weight and tippets down to maybe 8X. With that gear you can’t exactly wrench a doorstop of a hook into the mouth of a fish and failings in your terminal tackle show up like the proverbial dog’s wedding tackle.

Barbed Hooks are by definition blunt.
We all use barbless hooks if only because those are specified in the rules on the catch and release waters that we fish, however there are plenty of other compelling reasons for converting, even if the rules don’t expect that you should.

Firstly barbless hooks are undoubtedly better for the fish, and even if you intend keeping some of your catch you are still going to hook the “young-uns”  and fish that you don’t want to keep so it is only reasonable that you use barbless patterns.

The more compelling reason is that you will catch more fish because barbed hooks are always effectively blunt. Barbless hooks are far, far more effective at hooking fish and keeping them hooked, particularly noticeable when you are fishing light. The barb on a hook probably at least doubles the frontal area that needs to penetrate on the strike and that quadruples the force required to drive it home properly. Requiring a force to drive it home that will rapidly exceed the pressure exerted with a two weight rod and 8X tippet. Barbs are in effect wedges that PREVENT the hook going home so removal of the barb or using barbless hooks is the first step to improving your hook up and catch rate, no matter where you fish. The second step and it is important to remember that even new hooks aren’t really sharp, is to sharpen them.

If you don't carry a hook sharpener, and use it you aren't being serious about your fishing.

Most (although not all) barbless hooks are manufactured in the same manner as the barbed ones with the simple skipping of the step where the barb is cut into the metal. That means that the hook is generally far thicker than it needs to be at the point and you can remove a goodly amount of hook before affecting its strength in any significant way.

Further the strength of the point isn’t that important, what you want is the hook to penetrate all the way to the bend, when penetrated to its full extent the hook is remarkable strong. If it only goes part the way in then the forces of fighting a fish can and will open up the hook.

We have all heard the stories of “it was a huge fish, straightened the hook“, you cannot straighten a hook that has penetrated all the way to the bend, it is a virtual scientific impossibility unless you are using tippet more properly designed for hand lining giant tuna. Hooks that don’t penetrate properly are the problem and the number one reason that they don’t do so is the barb, followed by the fact that they are not sharp.

So when I tie on a fly, that is EVERYTIME I tie on a fly I sharpen it, no matter that it is new, no matter that it is chemically sharpened or whatever, ever hook gets the same treatment. I like to triangulate the point if possible and thin down the point such that full penetration requires minimal force. My favourite tool for this is an EZE Lap Model “S” ™ diamond dust hook sharpener.  The tool  has a parallel rounded file of diamond dust with flat side and a rounded side in which there is a groove.

To sharpen the hook I first file the sides of the point at approximately 45 degrees using the flat side of the file and then give a few strokes with the grooved portion of the file backwards over the point.

If you would like to experiment or test the effects you can try the following.

An experiment that you can do for yourself, particularly useful if you are something of a doubting Thomas. Probably all of my clients have at one time or another been forced to have a try with the following test, it is proof that sharpened barbless hooks penetrate better and catch more fish as a result at least when using light gear which is pretty much the norm around these parts.

Take a barbed fly from your box and pull it through a piece of thin card or stiff foam, the card from a cigarette box is about the right stuff to use.

You will feel the resistance and probably get a distinct “pop” sound when the barb finally pulls through the card.


Remove the barb from the hook or fly and test it again, you will almost certainly feel a considerable difference in the force required.


Then sharpen the hook carefully and repeat the test once more, the difference between the untreated barbed hook and the carefully debarbed and sharpened version should be enough to convince you for ever. If it doesn’t the number of fish that you hook and land once you have changed your habits probably will.

Oh and if you liked the graphics and the information keep your eyes on Smashwords because they are from a new E book that will be published soon on various tips tricks and techniques that you can use to improve your fly fishing. There are already a couple of free downloads on there that you may like to take a look at but there is more in the pipeline. You can see the books published by myself simply by clicking the link Smashwords

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece, it all helps to keep the motivation going and thanks for reading. Paracaddis aka Tim Rolston.