Bob is an award-winning novelist & outdoors writer. He has also penned a fishing handbook and a hunting handbook. He is currently working on a bowhunting book.
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June 18, 2018
Weighing in on Hook Sizes & Fly-tying Material for Success
by Bob BanfelderBeginning with last month's report on May 1st, in which I presented a guideline for hook sizes and weights referencing both wet- and dry-fly thread-body ant patterns, a couple of folks contacted me and commented that the listing proved very useful. Since we were tying a dry-fly hopper yesterday, I figured I'd offer a general guideline concerning those deadly flies as well as depicting popular size hooks and patterns for two of my favorite terrestrials anent the fly rod for saltwater and freshwater angling: ants and hoppers.
Let's consider four (4) slightly heavier hooks than the Mustad-Octopus Beak hook with which we tied ant patterns earlier in March and April. In sizes 2/0, 1/0, #2, and #4, the Mustad Wide-Gap hook will fill the bill quite nicely for both wet- and dry-fly hopper patterns. In general, the bigger, heavier 2/0 and 1/0 sizes are at home in salt water. The smaller, lighter #2 and #4 sizes are perfect for this large freshwater pattern. I have used all four sizes in both the brine and sweet water, and with absolute success. Here is a general guide for the Mustad Wide-Gap hook and materials for both wet- and dry-fly winged ants plus hopper patterns utilizing a pair of legs; weighted accuracy is within +/- 2.0 grains.
Note: In addition to Mustad-Octopus Beak hooks, corresponding sizes in Gamakatsu Octopus hooks weigh within +/- 0.2 grains of one another. That's certainly not enough of a difference to alter the formula. Weighing hooks beforehand as well as finished flies will save you a great deal of time when tying wet- and dry-fly imitations in foam. Without a guideline, the fly you tie and believe will float like a cork may suddenly sink in the water column after several casts. Layering two strips of foam will not only ensure that your fly will continuously remain afloat, and without the aid of messy chemicals, the fly is easily identifiable in your arsenal. The single strip of foam immediately indicates that it is a wet fly; the two discernable strips show that it is a dry fly. Good to go.
Guidelines for Hoppers ~ Mustad Wide-Gap Hooks:
2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 13.2 grains.
2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 16.6 grains.
1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.8 grains.
1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 15.4 grains.
#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 9.8 grains.
#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.4 grains.
#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 7.8 grains.
#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 10.2 grains.
You will note from the above table that the dry-fly foam patterns are a tad heavier than their wet-fly counterparts because of the added layer of foam. However, it is what gives the dry-fly its buoyancy and balance. Carefully weighing in on hook and material choices, these guidelines will aid the fly tier in constructing imitations that deliver unparalleled performance in the water column. Should you elect to employ other fine hooks such as Eagle Claw, Owner, VMC, et cetera, formulating your own chart is a breeze. A precision digital scale such as the Superior Balance Arrow-2000 covered on April 2nd is the ticket. If you're a bowhunter seeking matchless efficiency referencing broadhead accuracy, well, you've just killed two birds with one stone.
Top row, left to right: Mustad Wide Gap Hooks ~ 2/0, 1/0, #2, #4
Bottom row, left: Mustad Octopus Beak Hooks ~ 1/0, #1, #2
Bottom row, right: Mustad-Viking Hooks ~ #6, # 8, #10, #12, #14 — mainly for freshwater applications.
Suggestions: For strictly saltwater applications, I would purchase the above hooks in stainless steel in lieu of a nickel finish. A nickel finish is fine for occasional use between saltwater/freshwater applications. A bronzed finish is fine for freshwater applications.
Good to go.
Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America
Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors
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The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy
Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.
The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.
The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.
The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy
The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.
The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.
Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.
The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.
Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.
Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.
The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]
The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]
The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.