Sunday, March 16, 2008

Geek Season

Closing in on the start of spring fishing, and the inner geek has risen from the slumber of the off-season.

Recently, we were given the opportunity to geek on salmon and steelhead hooks, and we now have a clear, albeit spendy, choice. But first, a little backstory...

The Mustad 925xx series hooks were at one time the pinnacle of western-states steelhead and salmon fishing. We might be going out on a limb here, but we would hazard a guess that more WA, OR, CA, and BC fish have been caught on those old workhorses than on any other "octopus" or up-eye, continuous-bend style hook. Not really any mean feat when you are the only game in town, tho...

About the time we started flyfishing, a few other brands of hooks were being stocked in specialty stores around the PNW. Eagle Claw came out with a better model octopus than the L182, which looked as if it was made out of rebar; VMC 8x99 hooks had a sexy-as-hayull straight point that was murder on fish; Owner introduced the cutting-point; and Gamakatsu came out with the red Octopus hooks that were so snazzy, all the sporting goods stores in SW WA had to lock the 100-paks in the back so the unemployed millworkers wouldn't steal 'em.

Needless to say, when we started tying our own dastardly creations, there was a surfeit of fine hooks available. Some seemed to work out better than others, some were perfect for only one pattern, and some...we won't tell you which, but they start with an M...pretty much suck out loud.

To add to the confusion, about 8 years ago, several hookmakers began turning out specialized "drop-shot" hooks, fine-wire, up eye creations that tournament bass fishermen had been messin' with for years. Some were continuous-bend, some came in 10° up-eye, and others had this weird jack-leg thingy to keep 'em away from the mainline. The bitchin'-est hook of all the drop-shot hooks is the Gamakatsu Finesse Wide-Gap, and its speedy transition to the PNW-BC-AK steelhead and salmon angling world comes as no surprise.


The Geek Tribunal of One has reached a decision, and we here at The Neil Creek Chronicles are happy to announce that we have selected the Gamakatsu Finesse Wide-Gap as our official go-to hook for all stinger-style salmon and steelhead patterns.

The floor is now open for questions and discussion...


John said...


Will you be showin' us what a decorated Gamakatsu Finesse Wide-Gap hook looks like in a future post. Us right coasters are curious.

G_Smolt said...

The pic is below the last paragraph.

Right-coast bucketmouf stripahs beware...they come in 5/0 and 6/0 now.

Anonymous said...


just throwing it out there, but the boys and i straighted finesse wide gaps on three winter steelhead last season before going over to Gamakatsu SP-12's as the hook du jour for stingers.

size 1 on chinook (or a size 1 owner SSW), 2 on the winter steelhead intruders/leeches and summer dries, and 4 on summer-run leeches and bunny sculpins.

all barbs down.

just trying to help you avoid some bad mojo and foul language...

G_Smolt said...

Good info to have, mos' definitely.

I use 2/0 and 1/0 on my steelhead stuff...yeah, I know, it IS a bit big, but I haven't had anything straighten out on me.

I have a Gama catalogue and I can't find the sp-12.

sc15, cs14...used both, the 14 is sweet in #2 for tube apps, the 15 is a skosh heavy for true stingers, it works better as a weighted tube hook.

Enlighten me, Brotha.

Oh, and BTW, tell Dirty T "thanks" for stopping by the Sportsmans Alliance booth and signing the anti-pebble petition at the bellevue flyshow. I was busy at the time and couldn't talk to him, otherwise I would have jumped at the chance for a chat...

John said...


By decorated I meant wit feathas and fur on it. I saw the nude hook porn at the bottom.


G_Smolt said...

My bad, my bad...

All in good time. Lemme get a line wet on my home field this year, then I will get around to showin' some fly-porn.

Since last november, all my fishing trips have involved a travel agent...not necessarily cryin' in my beer about this, but givin' up home field advantage does take a toll, make a fella question his juice.

late april, then I'll show a little love.