"...my hats off to the folks at Mustad for having the ability and willingness to make a change." GFF partner Bob Petti has had a look at the new Mustad Signature series and parts wth a Global Class mark for the new, improved and very consistently produced hooks - with a naming convention, which is a blessing to fly tyers.
Mustad Signature Series Hooks
The new Signature Series hooks from Mustad, packaged in plastic interlocking boxes.
GFF Rating: 6
What? A real naming convention?
Gosh, it must have been a half a dozen years ago that some folks on FF@ started yammering back and forth about how to create a standard naming convention for fly tying hooks. The name should be more descriptive than the seemingly arbitrary name given to hooks at the time. We blathered on for days, at seemed, but at the close of the discussion we still had the same old hook numbers to memorize or look up.
Well, guess what. Someone, finally, has stepped off in a new direction.
Mustad's new "Signature Series" hooks have intelligent and meaningful names. The name takes into accound the bend shape, the shank length, the gap, the wire thickness, and any special considerations such as those hooks that are saltwater safe.
Take for example the new hook, the R50. The "R" means it has a round bend, the "5" means it is made with standard weight wire, and the "0" means it has a standard shank length. By extension, an R90 is the same hook but made with 4x stout wire. The R72 is 2x strong and 2x long. The R30 is 2x light. You get the idea.
It's hard to believe this never happened in the 20th Century, but it never did. Maybe it's a new millennium thing, who knows, but my hats off to the folks at Mustad for having the ability and willingness to make a change.
The new Signature Series hooks are not just a nifty name, however.
These are exceptionally well made hooks. I examined every sample I had and found them to be consistent in their high quality. Take for example the R74, the 2x strong 4x long streamer hook. The wire has a nice dark bronze finish that is flawless, and the eye is a perfectly closed down-turned eye. The points are perfectly sharp and true. Gone are the days where a significant percentage of the hooks in a box will have open eyes, flaws in the finish, broken and dull points, or whatever other imperfection may be your pet peeve. These hooks are as good as any other hook on the market today.
These new Mustad hooks demonstrate the high quality that fly tyers have come to expect from their hookmakers and range from the tiniest trout hooks to large salterwater models.
All Signature Series hooks come packaged in plastic boxes that interconnect so you can build your own "hook box" by connecting the boxes together. The labels are easy to read and the round bottom boxes make hook removal a snap. It seems as if every detail was paid due attention.
Among the hook models available are all the old standbys, plus some new models that I was pleased to see. The 4x strong wet fly hook was a welcomed surprise, as I will be able to make good use of that this Fall during the salmon and steelhead run. There is also a variety of saltwater hooks, including a few models of "circle" hook which have a specific bend and point shape meant to securely hook and hold a fish. I've never used this style of hook, but I plan on making use of them during some upcoming bass fishing trips. Maybe in the future Mustad will augment their Signature Series with some longer shanked streamer hooks along the lines of the 3665A, or a few styles of salmon hooks like a Partridge Bartleet or M. I'd also like to see some heavy wire sproat or limerick bend wet fly hooks. So many hooks, so little time.
Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks. Mustad is one of the oldest hook makers in the business and here they go and forge a new path for us all. Good for them. Maybe the other companies will take heed and the days of arbitray model numbers will fade in our memories like the last millennium, while the quality and consistency of the product itself continues to improve.