Comparable Fly Fishing Hooks

Have you ever had a problem trying to find a comparable fly fishing hook? You’ve used a certain manufacturer for awhile, but can’t get that hook now and want a similar model? Or you found a new fly pattern you’d like to tie, but it references a hook you don’t have. That’s one of the reasons Fly Tying Hook Conversion Tables exist.

I’m slowly switching to Daiichi hooks. Why? These hooks are incredibly sharp right out of the package. Secondly, I’d like to use hooks from one manufacturer to eliminate the multiple brands I now have in my hook drawer. 

Hook Variety | www.johnkreft.com

I’ve used Dai Riki hooks for many years because they were cheaper. I used them almost exclusively, except for a few Tiemco hooks I like – the 102Y and 206BL.

The Dai Riki hooks have been OK. I hooked and landed lots of fish using those hooks over the years, but I definitely see a difference in sharpness between the Dai Riki vs. Tiemco and Daiichi hooks. I wonder if I might have missed some fish because a lack of hooking power.

I ran into a big problem with size 14 Dai Riki 300 hooks last year where I found the temper of the hook was terrible. I was able to bend them easily in the vise, which was not good at all. I had a few hundred between my inventory and that of my fly club. I sent them back to Dan Bailey and they happily replaced them with no questions asked. But it wasn’t very convenient because I was tying and filling fly orders for my clients. The replacement hooks were much better, but I still had a problem with a few of them. And occasionally, you’ll find a hook without the eye closed. This problem can be found in several models.

One of the local fly shop dismisses the quality control issue by saying “they are a lot cheaper than other brands, so you can afford to throw out the bad hooks”. Their statement is very true because the Dai Riki hooks can be half the cost. In the early years of using Dai Riki hooks, I didn’t see much of a problem. Now it seems to be different.

But back to the subject of today’s post trying to find comparable fly fishing hooks.

Let me start with a disclaimer. I’m not an expert in the subject. These are just my observations and I’ve talked with friends who experienced the same problems.

You’ve probably run into differences between hook manufacturers and trying to find comparable Daiichi hooks is no different.

I’ve been using Daiichi 1180 for a standard dry fly hook, but am settling on the 1190 which is the barbless version. Why barbless? Well, I crimp the barbs on all the flies I tie anyway, so why spend the time crimping hooks when a barbless version is available?

I like these hooks and have replaced the Dai Riki 300 with them. If you place them side-by-side, both hooks are very close in size. Problem solved!

Another example is the Daiichi 1280 that I use for my Beetle Bailey flies. These hooks have replaced the Dai Riki 280 hooks. They aren’t curved and are lighter wire, but work just fine for my needs of a 2XL hook. These will work as well!

Now on to a replacement hook for the Tiemco 206BL and 102Y models.

I tie lots of flies on the Tiemco 206BL in sizes 16, 18, and 20. Here are two of them.

BWO CDC & Biot

CDC & Biot #20 | www.johnkreft.com

Improved Sparkle Dun – BWO

Improved Sparkle Dun BWO | www.johnkreft.com

These hooks are not available below size 20. Many Fly Tying Hook Conversion Tables (mine included) reference the Daiichi 1140 as a comparable hook. The problem is the largest size Daiichi makes is a size 18. I thought this model might work, so I ordered them in sizes 18, 20, and 22. The up-side is I would have an option for a smaller fly, but the down-side is I needed a size 16 hook.

After receiving the Daiichi 1140, I was quite surprised. The size 18 looked much smaller than the Tiemco hook I was trying to replace!

I tied a fly to see if I liked it. I do…

BWO CDC & Biot | www.johnkreft.com

I found another option available, the Alec Jackson Chironomid Trout Fly Hook made by Daiichi. These hooks are available in sizes 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17. Why odd sizes? I don’t know the rationale, but wanted to give them a try.

Here is a picture of three different hooks under the size listed on each package.

Row 1 – Tiemco 206BL – 16, 18, 20
Row 2 – Alec Jackson Chironomid Trout Fly Hooks (Daiichi hook) – 13, 15, 17
Row 3 – Daiichi 1140 – 18, 20, 22

TMC 206 vs Alec Jackson Chironomid Trout Fly vs Daiichi 1140 | www.johnkreft.com

There is a lot of similarity between the three hooks. The Alec Jackson has a slightly longer shank, but you can see the biggest issue are the size differences between them.

Let’s take a closer look.

This picture compares the Tiemco 206 BL and Daiichi 1140.

Row 1 – Tiemco 206BL – 18 & 20
Row 2 – Daiichi 1140 – Both hooks size 18

TMC 206 vs Daiichi 1140 | www.johnkreft.com

I looked several times at the Tiemco size 18 vs. 20 and I have to say there isn’t much difference at all. This tells me I can use the Daiichi 1140 size 18 for both hooks.

The Daiichi 1140 isn’t available larger than size 18, so I have to find another option, which looks like the Alec Jackson Chironomid Trout Fly Hook (made by Daiichi).

Row 1 – Tiemco 206BL – Both hooks size 16
Row 2 – Alec Jackson Chironomid Trout Fly Hooks (Daiichi hook) – Sizes 13 & 15

The Tiemco size 16 would be equal to about size 14 in the Alec Jackson hook, if there was one. I think I can get by using a size 15 in the Alec Jackson hook.

It would simplify my life if the Daiichi 1140 was made in size 16!!! 

You might ask if I would consider switching to a different hook for these flies. I might tie a few flies using the Daiichi 1640, which is 2X-short shank hook. But then again, it only goes down to size 18. However, with a 2X-short shank, it will likely be equal to a size 20.

Now on to a replacement for the Tiemco 102Y I’ve been using. Many of the RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripples are tied on this hook.

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple - BWO | www.johnkreft.com

Here is a picture of two different hooks under the size listed on each package.

Row 1 – Tiemco 102Y
Row 2 – Alec Jackson Soft Hackle Trout Fly Hooks (Daiichi hook)

Alec Jackson North Country Trout Fly Soft Hackle vs. TMC 102Y | www.johnkreft.com

Big difference in sizes, isn’t there?

Here I’m trying to match comparable sizes.

Row 1 – Tiemco 102Y – 15, 17, 19
Row 2 – Alec Jackson Soft Hackle Trout Fly Hook – 11, 13, 15, 17
TMC 102 vs Alec Jackson Soft Hackle Trout Fly Hook Size Comparison | www.johnkreft.com

It looks to me that  a Tiemco 15 = AJ 11,  Tiemco 17 = AJ 13, Tiemco 19 = AJ 15.

I need to tie a few flies on this hook and see if I like it.

So you can see how trying to find comparable fly fishing hooks isn’t necessarily an easy task.

It’s an ongoing process, but I think I’m making progress.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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6 thoughts on “Comparable Fly Fishing Hooks

  1. Thanks for the information. Hook comparison charts drive me nuts. I know your research will help many of us. Your web site is always very informative. Thanks.

    • Joe

      Thanks for the nice comment. I agree with your comment about hook comparison charts. I don’t think mine is any different than others. Obviously, hooks aren’t standardized across manufacturers. Some I’ve found to be very close, but not all. I’ll go back into mine and add a few words about them being “guidelines”.

      John

  2. Really valuable article. I learned so much with the combined discussion and images.

    Have you seen flyhooks.org. A site dedicated to measuring and photographing as many brands and sizes of flyhooks as possible. Still growing and could use some samples.
    http://flyhooks.org/

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