The Fly Tying Hook Size Problem and What We've Done to Address it.
Fly hook sizes are all over the place.
As the fly tying hook market has expanded greatly over the last few decades, the consistency of sizing between and even within brands has become ever more problematic. It is hard to buy any size of hook these days with a realistic expectation of what the length of that labeled size will actually be. To address this issue, over the winter we measured the total hook length of every hook that we had in stock in the shop. Now when you go to purchase fly tying hooks in the shop, the measured total hook length for each available size is listed in the product description to the nearest tenth of a millimeter. This will allow you to compare the sizing of hooks you are familiar with to any models you are looking at purchasing.
Let me provide an example of why we did this project. Currently, two of my favorite nymph hooks for durability and hooking and holding trout are the Dohiku 303 and Fulling Mill Jig Force Short. I have been using the Dohiku 303 for a few years and so I am used to how it is sized, which is small relative to many hooks. The size 18 Dohiku 303 is 7.3 mm long. If I ordered the Fulling Mill Jig Force Short size 18 expecting to get a similar sized hook, I would be disappointed. The size 18 Fulling Mill is 10.3 mm long which is 41% longer than the same size Dohiku 303. To get a similar size to the Dohiku 303 size 18, you would need to order the Fulling Mill Jig Force Short in a size 22 (7.9 mm) or a size 24 (7.0 mm). How would you know this without an actual reported hook length? Well, I don't know either which is why we decided to provide the hook lengths for each hook in our store.
If you would like a quick breakdown on the stats for each hook size, you can check out the table below.
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