Wide-Eyed Hooks™ for squint-eyed anglers. If you've gotten to the point where it is a bit difficult to thread a hook on your tippet, you used to have three possible solutions. (No, squinting and stabbing blindly is not a solution).
Everyone's first solution, before they are really willing to admit they have a problem, is to hold the fly further away. It is easier to focus, but the object of your focus is now so far away that the job of threading the hook doesn't get any simpler. The second solution is the Flip Focal or other magnifying lenses that clip to your hat brim. They work OK and are quite popular among the people who need them (and no one who doesn't really need them will use them). A third solution for some folks is to tie flies on eyeless hooks and create a large loop to serve as the eye.
If you've ever thought the most obvious solution was to just make the darn eye bigger, boy do I have the hooks for you. I call 'em Wide-Eyed Hooks™ and they absolutely put Orvis' Big Eye Hooks to shame.
The manufacturer (Owner, who sells the hook under the C'ultiva brand) doesn't call them Wide-Eyed Hooks, and doesn't sell them for fly tying, but when have I let something like that stop me?
The hooks are barbless, have a very nice shape for tying a sakasa kebari, and they have a huge eye. Seriously, it is so big it ought to have a pupil in it.
Threading these hooks on your 5X tippet would be a snap, even late at night or in half a gale. They come in various sizes, but I only carry the smallest, which is a size 12 (yep, the same size 12 you're used to, not a Japanese size). The photo shows the size 12 Wide-Eyed Hook™ along with Daiichi 1120 hooks in size 14 (top) and size 12 (bottom).
If you can't get your tippet through that eye, it's time to call it a day!
The side view looks a bit like a scud hook or a European nymphing hook, but wait till you see if from above or below! That eye is wide!
Because they eye is so wide, and the shank is pretty short, I'd tie the hackle right behind the eye as it is done with the Western flies we all grew up with. The eye is wide enough that will still give you sakasa kebari proportions.
The hooks come in packages of 13 (no one's superstitious at Owner) and sell for $4.50 per pack. That's a bit more per hook than the Owner Mainstream or Kuwabara hooks, but these are unique (and they save you from buying the bead cord silk).
Not only do the Wide-Eyed Hooks™ make a very nicely proportioned sakasa kebari, they have become my favorite hook for the Overhand Worm.
The shape of the bend, and specifically that little kink at the very back of the hook bend, keeps the overhand knot in the chenille away from the hook point and keeps the bend open so I seem to get better hook sets.
I have never liked fishing with a barbless "J" hook. I found that a lot of the fish I hooked managed to wriggle off the hook. It may be that I am catching larger fish with the Overhand Worm, but I have not had that problem when fishing with the Overhand Worm on these hooks. The hook holds until the fish is in the net and only then often comes out by itself.Wide-Eyed Hooks™ - $4.50
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