Friday, October 8, 2010

Hooks for pike flies, ultimate solution still not found?

There are plenty of excellent hooks out there but which one would be the best compromise/solution?

A few thoughts about this:

There are lots and lots of excellent, saltwater resistant hooks that can handle big fish with no problem at all. However, fly fishing for pike has its own challenges:

  • Fly patterns are usually very large and have a bulky appearance, therefore the mouth of the hook should be wide.
  •  Most of my fishing is done in the brackish water of the west coast so at least some degree of saltwater resistance is a must.
  • Pike is a toothy fish and most of its mouth has a very hard surface. Therefore hook should be as sharp as possible and the wire shouldn't be too thick as this will make the hook penetration much worse. Also the shape of the hook is important as some hooks intended for warm water species don't seem to get a hold of pike's mouth.
  • Fishing is often done in rocky areas so the tip of the hook shouldn't be too sensitive for contacts.
  • Affordable hooks are never a bad thing.
Here's some of the hooks I've used and some thoughts about their features (bad picture):

  1. Top: Sakuma Manta 540 #5/0. Extremely sharp, very wide gape and medium thick wire. I like this hook a lot. I've managed to get far better bite/land ratio with this hook than with anything else. Hook is also black nickel coated so it does not corrode. The tip of the hook is a bit sensitive for rock contacts. This hook is also available in bigger sizes and with stronger wire and the pricing is very decent. I will test the heavier versions also in the future.
  2. Middle: TMC 911S #4/0. Many prefer this as the ultimate pike hook for deceiver-style patterns. 100% saltwater proof. A nice hook over all but it also has its flaws. The wire is very thick and heavy and the hook is not very sharp. Also the gape is not wide enough and the shape of the hook tip is not optimal for pike fishing, I assume. I have lost a lot of fish from this hook.
  3. Bottom: Kamasan B940 #6/0. Very sharp hook with a decent sized gape.  Hooking ratio is very good with this hook, so is the pricing. Only problem is that this hook corrodes rather quickly.
My next thing to do on this issue would probably be the testing of those stronger wire Sakumas as well as starting to experiment with tube flies. 

So this was purely theoretical blabber, perhaps something less theoretical next time...


  1. Nice read....Hooks are contentious issue with pike fly fisherman.I prefer a short shanked hook purely because I tie all my materials in a 10mm area and so there is a lot of wasted space with long shanked hooks plus using a short shanked hook you cut down on the weight issue.

    I only ever use long shanked hooks for poppers!

    I either tie onto Gamakatsu SL12 big saltwater hooks...very sharp, but 90% of my flies are tied onto a Tiemco 600sp.It has a short shank and a slightly up turned hook point which stays sharp through out the use of the fly.They take a very long time to rust and have been known to reuse the same hook with different materials for 2 seasons.

    This I put down to taking care of the flies after a session.I always wash the flies I've used under the tap and then dry on a towel.Then comb the materials through once they are dry. The salt from the sea is extracted and the materials will last 10 times longer.

    Stay away from circle hooks...they do a hell of a lot of damage

    Great topic by the way.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Simon!

    I think I need to test those true saltwater hooks myself, too bad they're quite difficult to find from local tackle shops. I need to do some ebaying once again...