So, we’re talking about materials natural and synthetic. There are so many synthetic materials on the market today but there’s no way any one person can keep track of it. So, I usually go through and pick out what I like, what looks good to me, buy one sample pack, take home, play with it, experiment. Does it—does it wing, how am I going to use it? And then when you’ve asked that and then we go forward.
Now, we get in the hook selection. What hook am I going to tie? We’ve got a little aide over here that we had made up earlier in the day. It shows the nomenclature of a hook. And this is really important to the fly tier and most fly tiers don’t have a clue when we’re talking about some of these terms like the gap with the throat, with the spear. I know what the bend is and the shank and the eye, they’re pretty obvious and the barb. But without proper gap, it’s really hard to hook the fish. Without keeping off the throat, you’re not going to get them on there, hold them more, it’s going to pop right off. So, these little things are really important to you. Is it a long shank hook or short shank hook? Is it a stainless steel hook or is it a carbon steel hook? And there’s a big difference between the two. Stainless steel hook is softer. It won't rust which is a biggy in my book because flies today are expensive.
I charged roughly $2.50 wholesale for a fly. That fly is going to retail for $5.00 for you to go buy in a shop. So, if you’ve got 20 of them, that’s a bunch of money, let me tell you and 20 is not an obsessive number of flies to have, it’s probably a lot more than that. But you don’t want a bucket of rust in there either. So, I’ll use all stainless steel hooks, they’re too soft, they’ll bend, they’ll break. Now, let me tell you, you take a 12-pound piece of monofilament tied on that hook shank and then wrap it around your hands and try to put the hook in a vise and try to straighten it out. Just be sure you wear gloves because you’re going to cut your hand if you don’t. You're only using one to three pounds of drag on your fly reel like that. If you had 40 or 50 pounds, that’s a different story but you don’t have much drag. So, you’re not going to straighten this, don’t be afraid of stainless steel hooks, they work very well. If I’m going to fight a big fish like a really big part and low over a 100 pounds, I might want to go to a carbon steel hook.
And while we’re talking about hooks, there is a right way and a wrong way to sharpen the hook. And that’s very important in your fly. Most people will sharpen hook right here on the top of the bar forward, stroking it two or three times on each side. And if you use too many strokes on your barb, you’re going to take the tamper out by the heat and it’s going to get soft and bend or break. That's the incorrect way of doing it. The right way is to sharpen down here on the bottom of the bar. And the reason for that is that when you sharpen here on the top, what you’re doing is put a knife edge right on top of that barb and that’s where all the stresses inside this hook bend and on the top of that barb. And what you do is cut a hole and—is really nice sharp edge that you put up there. And the first lace, it will be slacking when my hook falls out. And if you sharpen on the bottom, there’s no real stress down here to kind of hold on the fishes mouth. So, that’s the proper way to sharpen it here, cross it this way and on the other side and then one or two down strokes on the tip of the fly and you’ve got a hypodermically sharp hook everytime. It only takes one or two strips on each side of the tip. You don’t have to really build a great length to do that. So, that's all the factors that I use in selecting hook. Do I want a long shank hook for a longer profile or better profile fly? And we’re going to go obviously to a long shank or a short shank for a shorter profile or smaller profile. The amount of the gap will also give you a profile of the fly on the sideways, look at it. It helps to give you whether it’s going to be a real wide fly or not.