Over the last few years jig hooks have been increasing in popularity mostly due to the success European anglers have been having with jig style patterns, not to mention the great profile they give to most nymphs.
I have been using jigs almost exclusively for the last 3 years with the odd exception when I want to use 2mm beads or under. They give you an excellent fishing profile as they fish head/bead first with the hook upside down, this helps hook up rates with fish and allows the fly to bounce more freely on the bottom in shallower runs. These hooks do actually save you a lot of fishing time as you don’t need to swap between flies as much to get the correct fishing level without hooking the bottom.
Over the last couple of weekends I have been trying out the Tiemco 403BL J hooks. A medium wire, barbless jig hook.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the plastic box was the finish, a perfect black nickel colour with a great nymphy profile. The point is very fine and sharp and gives brilliant hook up rates, one thing I have learnt about ‘fine point’ hooks is that once they even look at a tree or rock they simply break or blunt, but these seem to have superior strength, even at the finest point. The smallest size, 16, can be bent in the vice under a fair amount of pressure but the 12 takes some breaking! The only way I got the 12’s to actually snap was with a pliers.
Flies tied on these hooks look good, the bend starts just opposite the point and gives a good size gape, you can actually get away with using larger beads as the gape provides enough room for good hookups. One thing I like about these hooks is that the shank isn’t that long, it sort of forces you into tying your flies shorter and gives a better overall result.
The angle of the eye is set at 60 degrees, this gives a fairly acute fishing angle and allows the fly to look like its burrowing/swimming to the river bed even with a smaller tungsten bead. Something which I think a lot of live nymphs tend to do when caught in the current is try to head back to the bottom…
Once the fish has taken the fly the hook stays in very well, even when trying to remove it, it holds deep and fish losses isn’t high. The lower bend is not so exagerate and has a small step which forces the bend to straighten out sooner rather than follow the exact path of a standard hook. Check the picture.
As these are fairly new ill be looking out for a few minor points over the next few months, I tend to put hooks through a lengthy examination although they seem fine only after a few uses!
- Snap both at the bend/drop of the eye or at the back bend
- Rust under the dressing or where the hook is placed in the box
- Eyes are flattened or not closed out of the box