Photograph by Steve Barnett

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Useful Hooks

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.



  1. Most interesting. Kamasan also make the excellent B175. A cross-over hook from carp to trout. I use it on Reservoir flies for it's strength, as I expect you do. Wow that Preston size 20 seems massive?
    fishermanrichard at 16:55

  2. The Drennan Super Specialist has been the only small coarse hook I use for barbel, carp, chub and roach for a long time now. It really is unbelievably strong compared to similar sized fly tying hooks, I have landed carp to 16lbs using a size 18 and my Avon rod. It is also worth checking out the "Nash wide gape B" hooks for some curved nymph hooks, they are bloody heavy and mean you need to add less weight to your sinking nymphs (not that you would have any of those though RR!) Dan Price at 10:10

  3. RR, I agree with what you say. After your demo at the grayling soc the other year I bought some PR27 and also some Kamasan B980 which are very similar. Both are excellent for our "work" and are more easily available than a lot of specific tying hooks. They have the extra advantage of being slightly cheaper than tying hooks which I cannot explain why but could hazard a guess!

    Baslowfisher at 13:52

  4. In addition there are 2 makes of hooks with very similar profiles: Hanak H500BL(Unique flies) and Wizard WD661BL (Flytying Boutique under his own brand name - out of stock currently. Pat

  5. thanks for sharing.

  6. Ashima aren't distributed by Profish and haven't been for years, there's nothing on their website ... if you want Ashima the official distributor is here:

    They have a FaceBook page aswell calle Ashima Fishing-Tackle United-Kindom, looks like most of the Carp boys are already on it!

    1. Thank you for that. I'll certainly check them out. Did you see the Profish Tackle Website?

    2. Well I've had a good look and it turns out that Ashima UK is not actually Ashima according to the website Ashima UK is a trading name of Stenick Ltd. They don't seem to have the full range of Ashima hooks but are mainly focused on hooks especially for carp fishing and not much else...

      A shame really because Ashima make some brilliant hooks suitable for fly tying, I still have some from 30 years ago but could do with some more.


  7. Hi Regular Rod,

    I'm Steve from Ashima, Ashima is still the same and still the same superstrong hooks, and we do still supply lots of smaller stuff that you will remember for fly tying and get great feedback because the hooks are really really strong for their size. They're still made in Japan using a specific technique that makes them so good ... the olny thing that has changed is the marketing, not the products ... we're Carp fishermen ;)

    With regards the ProFish site, there's nothing on there and hasn't been since at least 2009.

    Here's our facebook page:

    If you'd like a pack (Regular Rod) of the hooks, have a look on the trade site and let me know ( and I'll send you a pack for free, see what you think of them ;)

    All the very best

    Commercial Director
    Ashima UK