Step 2 - The gut-eye.

Attach the 8/0 thread at the front, if you don't cut off the end you can use it to make wraps close next to each other. Make a series of wraps backwards and then turn back towards the front to have a good foundation of tread for tying the gut-eye on.

Photo/illustration: Vendula Smutkova ©2015

More pictures from this article

User comments
From: Dave - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted March 23rd 2015

Ronn Lucas in Oregon, I believe, sells his handmade hooks for art but don't try to buy any flies. They're never for sale. I heard he bought a hook business. I've seen some of his art hooks as large as 8 inches long.

From: Karen · humblefly1·at·  Link
Submitted November 3rd 2014

I am trying to purchase blind eye 8/0 hooks. Do you have any suggestions? These are for art not fishing.

Thank you.

From: Ed - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted January 12th 2013

Where can I bye the silk worm gut for blind eye hooks

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted January 21st 2012


The flattened hooks aren't necessarily fly hooks, although we do see older flattened fly hooks now and then. These hooks are usually referred to as spade end hooks, and the idea is that you tie your line around the hook shank ands let the knot slide forwards to the flat part, which stops it from sliding off.

As you can imagine this is not really practical on flies, where the material will fill up the shank. On some really small hooks - like size 28-30-32 - where an eye is almost impossible or at least very hard to forge, you sometimes see spade ends, and here you will again tie the tippet on before you tie the fly, so that it will be permanently attached. But such hooks are rare - both the sizes and the spade forging.

Mustad has a page with some examples of different hook eyes - for all kinds of hooks - mostly bait hooks. The only type not mentioned is the blind eye hook, which has no eye, like the one used for the flies in this article.

You can see a blind eye and a spade end hook compared on this illustration. The top one will be fitted with a gut eye as described in the article the bottom one is tied onto the line with a knot as shown.


From: Mike Bullard · mikebullard·at·  Link
Submitted January 20th 2012

Thank you for writing me back on this. I not only find tying relaxing but it is also just plain fun to try to tie a fly that most closely emulates the actual insect etc. that I am trying to copy. I have learned so much from your web site and I am grateful that you and others share your skill and knowledge with us all. I have seen a type of hook that has a flattened nub at the eye end of the hook is this the kind of hook that should be used for this type of application? I have also seen another kind of hook that has a flange that bends back towards the gap of the hook but is left open. I think this may also be a hook style that can be used for this application too. It is hard to see on the photos what the eye end of the hook looks like so I thought I would ask you about these for clarification. Again, thank you for your awesome site.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted January 11th 2012


The gut eye is used to copy the old style of salmon flies. Older hooks had no eyes (they were hard to forge) and a loose eye had to be tied onto the hook before the fly could be used. Another technique was snelling where a piece of tippet material was tied in under the body of the fly and permanently attached to it.


From: Mike Bullard · mikebullard·at·  Link
Submitted January 11th 2012

Hi Guys, I am no way near the level of artistry you have clearly accomplished and that can be seen in this article, but I hope to be one day. I do not understand why use the gut eye or what it is for, assuming it serves some important purpose. I am assuming it is an anchor point for the tippet. If so, could a standard hook be used that already has an eye on it? Also, can you recommend any books that would be useful towards teaching me how to tie flies like these. They are stunning and really quite beautiful.

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