Space limitations prevent me from describing hooks in any detail. (That information is readily available in other fishing books and in catalogs.) Instead, this short section concentrates on hooks to avoid. Before reading any further, have a look at the next diagram, which shows a well-manufactured hook.

No matter how careful the manufacturers are, a few faulty hooks may find their way into your hook packet. The defects may or may not be immediately obvious. To help you spot them, the most common faults (and some of the less common ones) are outlined in the following paragraphs. If you are a beginner, make sure that any hooks you reject really are faulty. For example: some hook eyes are intended to be straight, some hook bends are deliberately offset, and some hooks are meant to be barbless.

Before you start tying with a new batch of hooks, test three or four by clamping them in the vise and "twanging" them with your thumbnail. The noise and "feel" should tell you if you have been unlucky enough to buy a batch that are either too brittle or too soft. If the hooks are genuinely faulty, or if you made a mistake when ordering, most manufacturers and retailers will be pleased to replace them, or to advise on other types of hooks that may be more suited to your kind of flyfishing.

Hook Eyes Reject a hook:

  • If there is a gap between the end of the hook eye and the shank that is wide enough for medium-gauge tying thread to pass through.
  • If the shank tapers excessively toward the hook eye.
  • If the hook is otherwise badly formed.
  • The faults listed here hardly ever apply to double or treble hooks.)

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