Now you are quite likely to be tying flies in the long dark evenings, you might like to see a small selection of hooks that are fast becoming the most useful to your faithful blogger for the most frequently used dry flies...
None of them are sold as fly tying hooks. In England we are blessed with a thriving community of so-called "coarse anglers". In the UK "Coarse" is the name given to any fish without an adipose fin. Serious coarse anglers are very demanding and would never tolerate hooks that were not efficient and strong.
These hooks are both efficient, strong and yet fine enough in the wire to let dry flies dressed on them float well. The straight eye is perfect for setting the hook efficiently to gain the best hold. They are barbless, so fish can be released far more quickly and with less harm done than is possible with barbed hooks. The first three hooks on the left are reversed and this too adds to their hooking powers.
Most importantly, they are all forged hooks with the wire at the bend slightly flattened, so they do not straighten out, even in the smallest sizes.
The Ashima hooks are imported into the UK by Profish and I suggest you contact the nice man at Profish to buy them in fly tying quantities.
Kamasan and Drennan hooks are both from the same company, Drennan. You will find these in most coarse fishing tackle shops and on eBay.
The Preston hooks are also found in most good coarse fishing shops and on eBay.
Ashima are available in bulk as well as in tens. The others come only in those infuriating little packets and do work out quite expensive when compared with hooks available in bulk, but they are so superior to most hooks sold for fly tying that the extra cost is worth it, especially if you fish where the quarry can sometimes be a bit bigger and stronger than usual...
The rule next to the hooks in the picture shows up what a wide variation there is in the manufacturers' interpretations of sizes. The Ashima and Kamasan hooks in the picture are both described as "Size 16". The Preston is said to be "Size 18". This is why it is important to choose hooks by your own sight to match the size of the flies you hope to mimic when you dress your artificials.