Choosing the correct fly hook can be the difference between the catch of a lifetime or just another story of the one that got away.
During the course of 2020, Reel Fly Fishing contacted various manufacturers of the world’s best hooks and went about giving them a good test on our local waters and more importantly for our local indigenous species.
Finding the perfect hook was extremely challenging and led to many frustrating moments while pushing brands to their limit.
The biggest problem that we encountered was hooks are generally manufactured predominantly with Trout in mind (fresh water ranges). That is not necessarily a bad thing, but comparing a 3-4kg Small Mouth Yellow Fish with the Vaal/Orange Rivers current on its side makes for a very different picture when you compare the two species (as an example).
Our local South African fish species are all extremely hardy, tough fish as they need to deal with harsh conditions that change rapidly throughout the different seasons. Water flow, current and location all play a very important role in how these species fight and react once hooked, so having an extremely strong and sharp hook is of utmost importance.
Long story short and after a number of different tests were conducted, we finally settled on our chosen manufacturer, that being KONA. They are a familiar, trusted and very well-known hook manufacturer that produce some of the finest and strongest hooks on the market today and at a relatively affordable price point.
The Thought Process
Keeping our naming scheme simple and straightforward makes it easy to not only remember your favourite style of hook but choosing the correct hook is now much easier.
You may be asking yourself what makes a good hook so strong? The simple answer is high quality steel and forging.
Forging is the process where the sides of the hook are flattened, this makes the hook much stronger and resistant to bending and deforming while under strain. Forging alone is a great way to increase a hooks strength, however if the material that you are working with is inferior then forging only tells part of a story. Utilizing Japanese high carbon steel results in a naturally superior hook right out of the gate, now add in forging and the result is a strong robust hook that can take all the punishment that our local species can throw at them.
Different types of points and barbs have vastly different amounts of hold and initial penetration/grab, this is another key area we focused heavily on when making our final decision. Yellow Fish and similar species have an extremely fast take due to their natural way of feeding, this means we need a hook that is able to grab at the very slightest pressure. Sharpening through both physical and chemical processes have allowed our hooks to grab your nail (good test to use to check if your hook is sharp) right out of the box, no need for additional sharpening.
Having an upturned point with a very slight bulge/deluge dramatically increases hold on a fish when using a barbless hook, you will find this shape of barb on all our hooks except for the Stinger range. The upturned point also decreases the snag rate and in so doing preservers the tips sharpness for much longer when compared to a flat tip/point.
The Reel Fly Fishing Jig (J3) is a robust hook that lends itself well to an assortment of Euro/Spanish/Czech nymph patterns. The slightly standard length and gap/gape makes the J3 a great all rounder and go to jig hook.
Barbless hooks dramatically reduce the damage to the mouths of all fish species, so where possible we went the barbless route (exceptions being the Big Daddy and Stinger hooks – but these can be flattened individually by hand)
Type | Jig
Sizes | #12 | Coming Soon – #14 – #16 – #18
Model Code | J3
Quantity Per Box | 30 hooks
Length | Standard
Strength | Standard+
Gap | Standard
Colour | Black Nickle
Eye Style | Closed 60 degree
Barbless Upturned Point
Forged High Carbon Japanese Steel
Chemically Sharpened Ultra Sharp Upturned Point