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Hook Folly

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I was tying some flies the other day. I had used up some of the colors in a few patterns and needed to resupply those. In a few cases I had used up all of the flies in that particular size. Whatever the reason I was tying flies I felt that I needed to be ready to fish the next time I went out.

I have used up all the hooks that come off of flies that have not worked for me. I tie up from 6 to 8 of a pattern that I think might work and then take some to my boxes to fish at lunch and I put some in my vest. I then try them several times, and if they do not work then I take them out of both places, clean the materials off and throw the hooks in a covered cup I have. Then when I want to tie flies I look at the hooks in there and choose a hook that looks the right size. That is why many of the patterns I tie I have on several sizes of hooks. Also the patterns that get torn up too much to be repaired go the same place. In any case I was out of these.

I keep hooks in four plastic containers that come from the dollar store. They are the large woven sided plastic things that come two for a dollar. They are roughly 6" by 10" in size. The pink ones are for dry fly hooks and blue ones are wet fly hook containers. The front ones are the small size hooks and the back ones the large size hooks. The front ones have from size 14 to 24 sized hooks in them and the back ones from size 12 to 2/0. I try to then keep the hooks in order by size in each container. Great in theory and not so great in practice. This is my way of roughly dividing hooks up to find them easier.

I do this because I have a lot of hooks on hand. I have run onto three or four deals where hooks were from $2.00 to $4.00 per hundred. I got several hundred of the sizes that I use each time. This makes it very easy and cheap to give flies away. I also got a bunch of Aberdeen hooks at a sporting goods store that was closing when we were traveling one time. I got a bunch of size 8, 10 and 12 which work great for many of the panfish patterns that I tie to use myself.

I decided that as I was going to tie some flies that I might as well straighten the boxes out again. Get the sizes in order, hooks back in the container they belong and maybe combine boxes if I have a couple of the same size and hook number open. I know that I am the only person that has ever opened a box of hooks and then found that I already had some of them already opened in another box. True, with a box in each container this time around. Not bad for me.

The thing that really hit me was when I began to look at some of the containers. I usually tie flies in batches of 6, 8 or twelve. I count the hooks out and then put the hook box back in the container, most of the time tossed in that direction. In looking at these boxes as I organized each of the containers, I found several boxes, in each, that had from 3 to 5 hooks in them. I took these out and tossed them in my cup to be used. I thought this was better than leaving them in the container. It also made the containers easier to organize with fewer hook boxes in them.

What this did was give me 14 hook boxes that were empty. I always carry of few of these when I am out fishing. This way if I give flies away they can be kept in a hook box and not loose. I also keep a card in the box with my e-mail address on it. This way I can answer any questions about the flies the folks may have in the future.

The biggest thing that this did was to show me that I may need to get a few sizes of hooks. When you see a box, you assume there are hooks in it and this proved to be true, even if the numbers were not large. Now I know that I have a few gaps that will need to be filled some time. It also reminded me to watch the number of hooks I leave in a box.

I did get the flies tied that I wanted to. I used mostly the hooks out of the cup. I think I will try to be more careful and not leave just a few hooks in the box from now on.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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