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Old 07-19-2010, 05:40 PM
Laslow Laslow is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 40
hooks for Tarpon

Just wondering what some of the tyers choice is for Tarpon hooks, I;ve heard good and bad thngs about some of the brands.

I've been tying some patterns on the TMC SP 900 but I;ve heard that the hook point tends to get bent. My friend tied some on daicchi circle hooks and had a fish snap it in half 3/0. I guess I will tie more on the owner aki 3/0 hooks. Fishing for Tarpon in Los Roques in Sept so I want to make sure I'm ready.

Any info would be great
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:50 AM
lemaymiami's Avatar
lemaymiami lemaymiami is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: South Florida
Posts: 653
Tarpon hooks

Since I've been tying commercially for a lot of years I've used many different brands and styles of hooks. These days there are a lots of high quality hooks available. Before I mention a few brands/styles you might want to think a bit about the size of the fish you're working and how heavy your rod/tippet is going to be....

For smaller fish (under 20lbs) I find no need for premium hooks and generally tie with Mustad 34007's in sizes from 1/0 down to as small as #4 on occasion... Most often I'm using a #2 or a #1 hook. I prep the Mustads by sharpening, then almost flattening the barb on each hook. At that point they're ready to go. I've taken fish as large as 50lbs and a bit larger with these hooks mated to lighter rods (usually a 7 up to a 9wt). Many times with smaller fish we're only using straight 20lb fluoro leader with no shock tippet at all...

For medium sized fish (30 up to about 80lbs) I'm using premium hooks, generally Owner Aki in 1/0 up to 3/0, Tiemco 600sp, Gamakatsu, Varivas, and others.... (the old Mustad 3407, 3407SS, and the #7766 are also favorites - though a bit old fashioned for most...). I set these up on 8 to 10wt rods, with the 10wt my first choice when I know the fish are going to be above 40lbs

(many times you just have to go with what's in your hand when working backcountry fish in dark waters, you'll never have time to change to a heavier rod when you first see the fish within 30 to 40 feet of your skiff...).

For medium sized fish I want extra strong hooks to go with 20lb tippets, and bite tippets in the 40 to 60lb range. You can easily bend out or break lighter hooks with this kind of a leader so ordinary hooks aren't on the menu for my anglers....

For the bigger fish (all the way up to as big as they get...) I'm still using the same hooks that I do for the mediums, wanting to use a 4/0 but many times forced to use smaller with spooky fish (rods are at least an 11wt for the bigger fish, usually a 12..). The only thing that changes is the shock tippet. My standard is 80lb fluoro, I'd like to use heavier but can rarely get away with it. Much more often we're forced to use a lighter shock tippet than I want just to get the fish to bite in clear water. Down in the Keys that's a very normal proposition for heavily pressured fish. A light shock tippet (at times as light as 40lb) and a very long leader may be needed to get any bites at all down there.... but that's another story...

The only time I consistently use larger hooks is when dredging in deeper, darker waters for fish holding like salmon in 'Glades rivers that drain into the Gulf coast. In those circumstances I go with a 4/0 Owner Aki, or Tiemco 600sp as a minimum hook size... The flies start in the six inches long size and may go all the way up to about 8" overall. No worries at all about leader or tippet sizes when dredging. I still try to stick with a 20lb breaking strength for my leaders though... If you go heavier it can easily be your fly line that breaks before your leader (ask me how I know) since fly line is only 30lb in strength..

Hope this helps, by the way I've never found any need whatsoever for circle hooks when tying flies. I love circles with bait but that's it.
Capt. Bob LeMay
"Tight Lines"
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:22 PM
Laslow Laslow is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 40

Hi Bob, thanks for all the great information. This has been a learning process. I started fly fishing the salt this year and its a great time.. I'm finding that everything depends on where you are fishing. Flies in Belize might not work in Cuba. I've spoke with some who are using long bunny tarpon flies up to 5" and other using flies no longer than 2". My friend just got back from Belize and
the guide told him all his flies were to big. He tied some 2" flies and the tarpon loved them. I'm going to be broke going on all these trips to figure things out, but as you know its very addictive.

Thanks again for all the information...

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Old 08-05-2010, 02:45 PM
Lineas Tenso's Avatar
Lineas Tenso Lineas Tenso is offline
Lineas Tenso
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 52
Tarpon Hooks...

I fought three tarpon (50 - 60 -80lbs.) last month in Florida using a Gamakatsu SC 15 1/0 hook. This light wire hook will hold any tarpon you're likely to encounter on your trip. It's small diameter and VERY sharp point penetrates deep and holds on.

Buena suerte,

Lineas Tenso
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