This week’s Throw Back Thursday post is a box of Mustad-Sproat hooks.

Old Mustad Hooks |

If you read the post entitled Tyer’s Wax a couple of weeks ago, you might remember I wrote about Gretchen Beatty’s father “Dub” Evans who taught her to tie flies on a treadle sewing machine converted into a fly tying vise.

While I was at their Boise home, Al and Gretchen brought out several fly tying items I was able to capture. This box of hooks was one of them.

Notice the monofilament attached to the hooks? The whole box of hooks Mustad-Sproat 3399A hooks had them attached. Gretchen relayed this was the method her father used to prepare his hooks. He sold just the hooks as well as a “bouquet” of 13 flies tied on the hooks.

Bouquet of Flies |

Here is a close-up of a fly.

Single Snelled Fly |

This last picture shows an old fly wallet with the bouquet of flies sticking out.

Old Flies and Fly Wallet |

I wonder if the snelled hooks were a hold-over from the day of gut. I can imagine the short length of gut tied onto the fly and fly wallets held these at the ready. The loop was used to attach to another loop or perhaps a clinch knot was tied on. But I don’t really know. It’s only a guess on my part, because today flies are tied directly onto the tapered leader. I think in the old days, fly fishers used a long, straight piece of monofilament. 

Another past-practice that has faded away in our fly fishing history.

Enjoy…go fish!


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  1. Hi John,
    Gretchen’s father was quite a guy and could really put that treadle sewing machine vise through its paces. It was something to watch with the vise turning the hook, the materials winding themselves, and the snell “flopping in the breeze.” We have a video somewhere in our library of him tying a quill-wing Royal Coachman. When you’re here in a few weeks, remind us to pull it out and play it for you. Take care & …
    Tight Lines – Al Beatty

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