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New England Streamers
First published before January 1st 2001 - More than 14 years ago
Streamer Hook Review
Raske's New England Streamers
By Bob SkehanThe hook is the foundation on which a good streamer is built. When streamer anglers meet, quite often it's the subject of heated debate! I've listed a variety of the streamer hooks available on the market today (and some no longer available) in the table below. Clicking the links in the table will take you to my thoughts on each brand/model of hook. Obviously, your opinions and experiences with them may differ NOTE: Visitors'opinions on these hooks have been added unedited, so if you have a problem with what they're saying, take it up with them....not me! Please NOTE: The "X" length rating I've listed in the table for each hook is what I've been able to determine by research, discussions with other anglers, or by a plain old "judgement call".
Partridge CS-15This hook is the one of the longest streamer hooks on the market today that I know of at 10X long.(NOTE: I've since seen the Castle Arms BG3 at 11 to 12X) Comparing it to other hooks, it's made of extremely stout wire (3X stout?). It's a handmade hook that has a limerick bend and turned-down, tapered loop-eye. My thoughts regarding this hook are that though the length is wonderful, the finish on the hook leaves much to be desired for a hook in this price range. I also would prefer the wire to be a bit less stout. The rear 2/3 of the shank is ground flat on the sides, graduating from almost the width of the wire near the hook bend, to nothing at the 2/3 mark, where the wire begins to taper to the eye. With the wide flat areas near the bend of the hook, when tying a wire or tinsel tag on a pattern, the flat spot is still clearly visible, if not emphasized through the tag material. This is not desireable for presentation streamers or shadowboxes. I'll tie up a bunch of trolling patterns on these and give them a field test though. Chris DelPlato's Observations on the CS-15: Not one of my favorites. The overly heavy wire reminds me more of a grappling hook than a streamer hook. . I don't recall seeing any Carrie Stevens flies with a hook resembling anything like this. I believe later in her tying days, she had used something with a limerick bend similar to a 3665A, but not this 'meaty'. The flats near the hook bend may facilitate the vise hold, but are not aesthetically pleasing and the finish leaves a lot to be desired. Save your money.
Mustad 94720This hook is a mass-produced, 8X long streamer hook from Mustad. It sports a round bend, and turned-down, ball eye. It has a bronze-colored, somewhat satin finish. The rear 1/4 to 1/3 of the hook wire is ground slightly flat on the sides. The least-expensive hook alternative on the market for long-shanked streamer hooks, I tie the majority of my featherwing and some bucktail streamer patterns on these hooks in sizes 2,4,6,and 8. They are very flexible, and with some sharpening before use, have good hooking/playing ability. No pretty enough for the wall or shadowbox, these are one of my workhorse hooks. Bob Petti's Observations on the Mustad 94720: "I'm starting to like this hook more and more. At first the round bend sort of turned me off (such a plain feature on an otherwise fine hook), but I've gotten over it. Featherwing streamers seem to fit on these hooks like none other, from the smallest size 8 to the largest size 2. A nice hook for a decent price. Although they could benefit from a swipe or two with a hook hone, they are good quality for the price. I'll be stocking up." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the Mustad 94720: Another 'workmanlike' hook from Mustad. This hook apparently filled the gap (no pun intended) for streamer tyers when long shanked hook choices were scarce. It is an inexpensive hook that would benefit from a more stout wire, as it is a bit flimsy in the vise, making it tougher to tie on than other hooks. The shank can be bent easily while playing a larger fish and it could also use a sharper point. Certainly a usable hook, though if you're considering using the size 2, the Martinek 8xl is a better choice.
Mike Martinek Rangeley StreamerNew to the fly tying market, this hook is handmade in England under the Gaelic Supreme brand. The hooks have a sproat bend, and tapered ring eye. The 6X long hook is made on a light wire, while the 8X long is a 2X Stout wire. The bronzed finish on the hook is gorgeous, with a high gloss. Though on the higher-end of the price scale, these new hooks would be my choice for tying presentation streamers, or for other forms of display. They are extremely sharp, and I'll let you know about their fishability next spring! The only problem I have with these hooks is that the hook point appears a bit short to me on the 6X long model. After a conversation with Mike about my observation, he explained that the 6X long hook is an exact replica of the hook which one of his Carrie Stevens Original patterns was tied on. Personally, I prefer the 8X long, 2X stout model. It's much more pleasing in form to my eye. Bob Petti's Observations on the Martinek Hooks: "I can only echo Raske's opinion of these hooks. I like them very much. If I could be allowed one minor complaint, it would be the shape of the hook bend. I found it a bit exaggerated. Maybe it's just my preference for a limerick shape shading my judgement, but it seemed to me there was a lot of wire used up in the bend area. I like how the shank tapers as it approaches the eye, and I was relieved that it wasn't a looped eye. A nice hook, if a little pricey." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the Martinek Hooks: At this point in time, these are THE hooks for tying Rangeley style streamers. A classic design, modeled after the old Allcock hooks used by Carrie Stevens, they are beautifully finished and a pleasure to tie on. The points are sharp and the stout wire holds up well when fighting/landing larger fish. A premium hook (i.e. not cheap). Now all we need are some smaller sizes (and perhaps a slight price decrease!)
Daiichi 2370 "Dick Talleur"This hook has a highly-polished, brassy finish, near-limerick bend, and a straight, tapered loop eye. It's marketed as a "7X" long shank hook, but I would classify it as a "6X+". Not quite at the 7X length, in my opinion. I'm not a fan of straight eye hooks for New England streamers, preferring a turned-down eye. This will prevent me from buying many of these hooks, unless they decide to provide a turned-down eye model. Like most Daiichi hooks, it's very sharp though. Bob Petti's Observations on the Daiichi 2370: "Although made with Daiichi's typical attention to details (very sharp point, flawless finish, finely tapered return wire), I don't like this hook much. The "brassy" color is too bright for my tastes, and I don't like the straight looped eye at all. If it was a darker bronze, with a downturned (non looped) eye, it would be a great streamer hook. As it exists now, it's a nicely made hook without a home." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the Daiichi 2370: Very sharp, extremely well manufactured, high-carbon 7x hook. Bright bronzed finish. The tag end of this looped eye is the antithesis of the Mustad 9575. Beautifully tapered and easily hidden when making a body. The only problem I have with this hook is the straight looped eye. (Dick tells me his design called for a 30 degree down eye, but Daiichi chose to leave it straight. Too bad.)
Mustad 9575The second most popular hook in my inventory, the Mustad 9575 is a limerick bend, 6X long shank, turned-down loop eye hook. It has the same satiny bronze finish as the other Mustad Hooks. Mustad describes this hook's shank length as being "1/2 inch longer than standard". Though I'm not exactly sure what "standard" means, I'm assuming it's equal to the hook gap, so it's not a true "6X". I use this hook mainly to tie my bucktail and marabou casting patterns on, but also use it for some featherwing patterns. The loop eye provides an ideal platform for tying in bucktail. The biggest drawback to this hook is that the loop eye is not made from a tapered wire, which is difficult to hide neatly on finished flies. I remedy this problem with the hook by tapering the return wire myself with a Dremel Tool before tying on them. Bob Petti's Observations on the Mustad 9575: "The one beef I have with these hooks is the "1/2 inch longer than standard designation. This causes the hook's proportions to change when moving from one size to another. A #12 9575 is a completely different hook than a #2. I like the larger sizes of these best, #2's through #6's." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the Mustad 9575: Same as the 3665A, except looped eye. I do not buy these hooks because of the lack of taper on the loop tag. Perhaps it is easier to deal with on larger sizes, but I found it to be unacceptable on the 8's & 10's I've had. It's a nearly impossible to make a smooth body on a streamer with such a sharp step at the end of the return loop. I have harassed the Mustad factory rep accordingly at several shows (obviously to no avail).
Allcock 2811The "antique" streamer hook on this page, the Allcock 2811 is a 6X long shank hook made of 2X stout wire, with a sproat bend, and tapered, turned-down, loop eye, and a glossy bronzed finish. It is one of the brands of hooks used by most of the streamer tyers of historical significance. The example shown last in the table is a size 10 with a 4X long shank. I was also given a few other samples in these smaller sizes along with photocopies of the labels on the boxes in which they came. It seems that the 2811 model number was given to quite a wide variety of hooks from Allcock and they differentiated between them by giving descriptions on the box, i.e. "T.D.E. looped eye, Forged Limerick Ex. Stout Hooks", or "T.D.E 2X stout, very long, Best Hollow Point Sproat". Interesting that this method for describing hooks has all but been abandoned with the "X" shank length designation. As is evident in this review, the "X" designation of hook shank length isn't all that accurate, and therefore isn't of too much value. I for one, would like to see more hooks labelled like these old boxes were. Not readily available today, as they've been out of production since the late 50's. Many are still kicking around out there though, and can be found in estate sales, and sometimes at yard sales. I obtained my samples from friends who either bought them when they were available, or inherited them from relatives. Wish these were still in production.
Mustad 79580A 4X long hook with a sproat bend, and turned-down, ball eye. I don't have many of these, but have used this hook mainly for Muddler Minnows and bucktails.
Daiichi 2271This hook is a limerick-bend, 4X long shank hook with an enameled black finish common to Atlantic Salmon hooks. It has a tapered, turned-down loop eye. A nice-looking hook, I received a Magog Smelt tied by Bob Petti in the 98 Smelt Swap on this hook. It worked very well for that pattern, though I don't like using limerick bend hooks, as they don't clip into my Perrine fly box very well, which is how I carry my featherwing streamers. The hook is very sharp, and I'll probably add some of these to my inventory this winter. I believe they are available with a bronzed finish as well, but I may be mistaken. I'm sure someone out there will correct me if that's the case :-)
TMC 300This hook is a round bend, 6X long shank hook with a bronze finish and turned-down, tapered ring eye. I think I've also read they are available with a black enamel finish as well. I really like this hook, as it's razor-sharp, and the round bend clips nicely into my Perrine streamer box. A bit pricey perhaps, but is in my estimation the top choice for featherwing patterns requiring a 6X long hook. Bob Petti's Observations on the TMC 300: "I personally don't like this hook for featherwinged streamers. I found it difficult to tie a properly proportioned fly for some reason. The few featherwings I've tied on these always come out looking like I tied a too small of a fly on a too large of a hook. Odd. It's a great fishing hook, but I think it's better suited to bucktails and marabou winged flies where the larger gap isn't as much an issue. I'd also prefer a sproat or limerick bend shape, but that's an aesthetic issue." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the TMC 300: A very fine, mid-priced, 6xl hook. It has very good fishing qualities, with the large gap and sharp point. I would echo Bob Petti's thoughts with regard to fly proportions on this hook. It seems more at home with a pattern that either conceals part of the hook bend, or one with a full,high wing profile.
Mustad 3665AThe Mustad 3665A is a limerick bend, 6X long shank, turned-down tapered ring eye hook. It has the same satiny bronze finish as the other Mustad Hooks. Mustad describes this hook's shank length as being "1/2 inch longer than standard", just as the Mustad 9575. It's basically identical to the 9575, but with a different eye configuration, from what I can determine. Bob Petti's Observations on the Mustad 3665A: "The one beef I have with these hooks is the "1/2 inch longer than standard designation. This causes the hook's proportions to change when moving from one size to another. A #12 3665A is a completely different hook than a #2. I like the larger sizes of these best, #2's through #6's." Chris DelPlato's Observations on the Mustad 3665A: Good, inexpensive, "utilitarian" hook for patterns that require a 6x. I'm partial to the limerick bend.
Tiemco 9394This hook is a nickel-plated, 4X long shank hook with a straight ring eye. It's made of 3X stout wire and has what I'd say is close to a sproat bend. It's marketed as a saltwater hook. An interesting hook that I hadn't seen before being given a sample of it, I'd have to refer back to my earlier comments about not liking straight-eye hooks. In addition to being straight-eyed, the eye is HUGE! Almost couldn't close my scanner on it. :-) It is made of 3X stout wire though, so that's part of it. The finish is very nice, the hook point sharp, but it's not one likely to find a home in my tying kit unless I decide to spend more time flyfishing the salt for stripers. It would be a very nice hook for Lefty's Deceiver. Bob Petti's Observations on the Tiemco 9394: "Although this lacks some of the aesthetics of other streamer hooks, I do like this one for warmwater flies. It's a strong hook and incredibly sharp out of the box. One complaint I have is that occasionally the hook eye is out of alignment with the bend. Otherwise, it's a good hook for bass streamers. For some reason, the straight eye on these hooks doesn't bother me. Maybe because I don't use them for "classic" streamers."
Partridge CS-17 Ken BakerThis hook is a limerick bend, 6X long shank hook with a turned down, tapered loop eye. It has a glossy black-enameled finish. I took a stab at this as to whether it was a true 6X long shanked hook. It is a bit longer than one would expect of a 4X long shank, however. The package describes them as "extra long limerick streamer" hooks. Similar in design to the Daichi 2271, it's made of a finer wire. The samples I have seen seem to have some finish flaws, as if dust was stuck in the enamel and baked in during finishing. Not a bad hook, though in my estimation. Chris DelPlato's Observations on the CS-17: "Nice look for presentation flies (the black), pretty heavy wire, looks a tad short for a 6xl but maybe its me, barbs are fairly long & thin, fairly wide gap for a limerick bend, nice taper to the loop eye (better than the Mustad 9575, but not as nice as the Daiichi Talleur hook) Somewhat disappointed in the imperfections in the black finish (dirt, fuzz in the paint?) on many of the hooks in the pack. IMO finish should be defect free at that price. Overall, though, a pretty nice looking hook 'for show', don't know that I'll fish with many of them. "
Partridge CS-5 Keith FulsherThis hook is a round bend, 4X long shank hook with a straight ring eye. It has a "gun-barrel blued" finish. As stated before, I don't like straight-eye hooks, though the blued finish is quite interesting! I'll pass on commenting further and let Chris give his thoughts. Chris DelPlato's Observations on the CS-15: "Neat blue finish, not sure if that has any historical significance. Finish seems to have less defects than the painted Baker hooks, although a few did have some rust spots. Has ring - eye which Fulsher prefers. Round bend, and somewhat heavy wire. Also has longish thin barbs."
Castle Arms BH3 - Allcock StreamerAnother newly-released hook, it is handmade in England for Castle Arms. The hooks have a sproat bend, and tapered ring eye. I have examined two sizes of these hooks, size 2 and 4. The size 2 has a 3" long shank, which I would equate to an 11X or 12X long shank. The size 2 is an 8X long shank, but the whole sizing thing is a mystery to me. The finish on the hooks is identical to the Mike Martinek hooks. Where to begin....I won't say much about the size 4 but to refer you to the Mike Martinek size 1, 8X hook shown in the chart above if you want to see what one looks like. It's nearly identical, except the hook point is perhaps a tad longer, and the angle of the turned-down eye is a few degrees less. How a size 4 Castle Arms BG3 and a size 1 Mike Martinek can be virtually be identical perplexes me, but it's obvious that Castle Arms must be using some new scale to describe hook size. Comparing the BG3 size 4 to other hooks on the market, I'd have to describe it as a size 1, 8X long hook. Another oddity to my way of thinking....is that the size 2 BG3's I have obtained when laid together with the size 4 of the same brand have identical hook gaps and bends....the only difference being the much longer shank. Perplexing. The only standard on streamer hooks, gap size, is now not standard. I do like the size 2 long shanked hooks, though and will pick up a few for my collection.