Tying on Jig Style Hooks

Gettin' jiggy wit it...

Over the past few years I've seen a definite resurgence in the use of jig style hooks for tying flies. Once relegated to the bass or jig fishing world where I had to "sneak" my hooks from the bass hook section in stores, these effective hooks are showing up more and more in the line-ups of most fly hook manufacturers these days.

So what do you gain with these funky looking hooks? Well for starters, they typically are intended to ride hook point up, thus reducing snags on the bottom. There is also possible improvement in hook-up success due to the lever arm created by the bent section of hook. If this holds true, it would also explain why fish are more often hooked in the upper part of the mouth on these style hooks. You'll also notice that a lot of the competition guys are also fishing on these jig style hooks, and they don't mess around when it comes to fish "hookability".

A jig style crawdad pattern

As far as tying considerations, you'll need to think a bit upside-down in your tying as the hook will usually be inverted in the vise and you'll need to deal with the hook point on the top. If this becomes too much of a pain, you can also tie the flies "in the round" (similar to the baetis nymph above), where there really is no top or bottom to the pattern.

Great Stonefly pattern
So where do you get these jig style hooks? There are a variety of suppliers today that you can go to. However, our favorite right now, for the versatility (60 degree bend) and size availability -- especially for smaller nymphs, is Allen Fly Fishing. Their J100BL hooks, sold here, are sharp as can be and the price is great. The Tiemco/Umpqua C400BL hooks from their competition series are also very good hooks and come in a good size variety as well. You'll pay a steeper price though. Both are barbless. Other hook suppliers will have the jig hooks, but usually limit the selection to bigger sizes (Daiichi is my favorite for the #2 and bigger sizes).

Cheech's Snorkel Hopper
Here's a recipe on the Snorkel Hopper to get you started...