My wife collects shoes. I collect hooks. It’s anyone’s guess who has spent the most, but probably me! I don’t know what it is, but when I’m browsing around a flyfishing shop or online and can’t find anything I really need, I always end up walking out with a packet or two of hooks. For as long as I have been fly tying it has been the case and to say my collection is extensive is a gross understatement. I have had and tried probably most brands in all their shapes and sizes since the 1980s. In all that time I have been through stages of having favourites amongst what’s been available, the likes of, Kamasan, Tiemco, Mustard, Partridge and even hooks packaged under the old Senqu label. They served the purpose and I still have some tucked away in boxes that never get opened these days, far more than I’m ever going to need even after giving a pile away. The development of hooks in styles, sharpness, grades of wire, shank lengths and gapes has been the factor that has changed my choice, not the least of which is the brass hooks with barbs that elephants couldn’t escape from, being replaced with black and gun-metal grey, barbless hooks. My favourites at the moment are Varivas, Dohiku, Grip for certain flies and TMC 212Y series.
But, being on the look out recently for new materials I came across Allen hooks on The African Fly Angler’s website (http://www.theafricanflyangler.co.za/). A post on my Facebook page asking who had used these revealed positive feedback from local flytyers. It wasn’t long and my first few packets arrived in the post. Well, I can now say that I have another favourite and as a matter of interest, Morne Bayman also stocks a good selection of other brands of hooks and some really nice fly tying materials and tools.
His prices are competitive and his on-line service is efficient, his website easy to navigate and is user friendly. I can highly recommend that you give the Allen hooks a try and The African Fly Angler for your fly tying needs, you won’t be disappointed. On second thoughts my wife tells me that her shoes have cost a lot more than my hooks! – as long as she is of that view, I’m not complaining.
Para RAB tied on a #16 D102 BL Allen Hook – the perfect gape for a wide fly.