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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen appears to be of the same species as this one collected in the same spot two months earlier. The identification of both is tentative. This one suffered some physical damage before being photographed, too, so the colors aren't totally natural. I was mostly photographing it to test out some new camera setting idea, which worked really well for a couple of closeups.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Shawnny3 has attached these 9 pictures. The message is below.
Here it is, next to a size-26 hook for comparison.
OK, that first pic was a joke.  Here is the actual hook, with a size-26 hook for comparison.
Here is the hook again, with a dime to give perspective.  I had another shot with a ruler, but it got inadvertently deleted.  It is 2.0 mm long, compared with the 6-mm long size-26.
The little brother, 1.50 mm long.
My 3rd and 4th attempts, after having made a pair of tweezers specifically for this purpose.  The larger hook is 1.75 mm long, and the smaller one is 1.30 mm long.
The smallest of my hooks, next to the text on a dime for scale.
The tweezers I made for shaping tiny hooks.  They are about 2-1/2 inches long including handle.
The jaws, with epoxy strategically placed to help keep the hook from slipping and keep the gold from being scarred.
A top view of the tweezers, shaped with an area to allow me to squeeze them shut with my thumb.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 13, 2010September 13th, 2010, 12:11 pm EDT
Thanks for the idea, Louis. I may look into that. I made some more modifications (subtle, but important) to the tweezers, and I think they may now do the job. I'll post pics a little later tonight.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 13, 2010September 13th, 2010, 1:20 pm EDT
Pics of the tweezers now up.

There's a little channel exactly the width of the free jaw which allows them to close without the jaws twisting out of alignment. The free jaw is tapered toward the tip but flat. The fixed jaw is the one I use for shaping the hook eye and bend and is completely round. I may develop tweezers with more interesting cross-sectional shapes for making more stylized bends, but that's for later. Currently I use the very tip for the eye (even then the eyes turn out too large, and I end up having to crimp them closed a little more to get them to an acceptable size), and for the bend I just work farther up on the jaw.

Before adding the epoxy, the curvature of the two jaws was matched perfectly. I'm not sure if that is still the case, although they seem to close well. When the epoxy was semi-hard, I pressed the jaws together and developed a tiny indentation in the little drop at the tip of the free jaw which I hope will help hold the hook well and also help in the curving process.

The fixed jaw tapers to a very fine tip, but the hooks kept slipping off it. So I used a small hammer and tapped a very small kink in the end, then dabbed a very small bit of epoxy over it to keep it from scarring the gold.

So far I'm pretty pleased with them, but we'll see how they perform after the latest modifications. The hooks will only be as good as the tools used to make them. The tweezers are pretty important for me to get right.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Sep 14, 2010September 14th, 2010, 3:14 pm EDT
Shawn,

glanced at a real ruler today for some reason, and realized just how small a millimeter is. in your pictures the ruler gets magnified too.

wow...that is reeeeeely teeeeeeeny!

it's just as well you're working smaller--gold prices are up again!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 14, 2010September 14th, 2010, 3:39 pm EDT
Yeah, they're pretty small. I keep them in a large zip-lock bag to make sure I know where they are. Amazingly, I haven't lost any yet (although, ironically, I lost the size-26 hook I was comparing them to - wife found it in her hand a few days later - oops - sorry, honey). I'll bring some to the Somerset shows for you to see.

Yeah, I just bought some more gold, and it's almost as much as platinum now. I wish I'd invested in it 8 years ago at $300/oz. Hard to imagine doing much better during that time with another investment. Plus, it looks a lot cooler than a piece of paper.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Dryfly
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Dryfly on Sep 14, 2010September 14th, 2010, 5:02 pm EDT
As aside what do you guys feel is the smallest practical hook,in terms of fishing?

I generally don't fish much under 20, save for trikes.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 15, 2010September 15th, 2010, 9:58 am EDT
I have some size 30 hooks that I've used for teeny-tiny creme midges, and I tie some trikes down to size 28 for end of the season fish that have seen it all and won't look at much of anything besides naturals or flies smaller than the naturals. I've caught some fish on these flies, and with the Tiemco 518 or Varivas Ultra Midge 2300 you have strong fine wire and very wide gape so they hook very well. Most of the fish I've caught on these hooks have been smallish, but it's sometimes fun to have something that works when nothing else will.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Sep 15, 2010September 15th, 2010, 2:34 pm EDT
as most of you know, i am a small fly troutnut. i believe that louis is creeping out of the closet as well! years ago, i tied and fished #32 94840 on 0.75 pound test 8x but no longer do. that is ridiculous! i don't tie or fish below a tmc2488 size 30 anymore!
and i have caught wild trout up to 19 inches on this hook with a simple cdc midge in a famous spring creek (on 10x varivas super tippet - 1.37 lb. test) in under 2 minutes.
go for it shawn.
i have found some really thin nylon in my kids toys to knot to that hook...
gut
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Dryfly
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Dryfly on Sep 15, 2010September 15th, 2010, 3:13 pm EDT
Size 30 2488 is a size 34 shank right?
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Sep 15, 2010September 15th, 2010, 3:16 pm EDT
i think it might be a 33
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 15, 2010September 15th, 2010, 3:40 pm EDT
You guys are the crazy ones. I just make really small hooks; I'm not nuts enough to fish with them. Jonathon was wondering how people make and tie on really small hooks, but you guys must have some real eagle eyes to see those things at the end of a 30-foot cast. Size 22 is the smallest I typically fish, though Louis has me now tying up 26es for reasons that are still unclear to me.

I will rely on you guys with more experience sizing small hooks to tell me what size the ones I'm making are. I know there is a ton of variation from manufacturer to manufacturer and from style to style, but it would be nice to have a ballpark size. My micrometer is good enough for me, but others might like to know how big they are in conventional sizes.

I am making slow progress - a few more failed but encouraging attempts tonight. I made a pretty crappy one that was 1.25 mm long. I won't stop until I've gotten down to 1.00 mm. And I worry I might not stop then. A small yet slippery slope, this.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 16, 2010September 16th, 2010, 7:59 am EDT
Yes, I am a fan of the small fly, Tony. And Shawn, whatever he says, is getting curious. Enrico Puglisi makes some very strong fine tippet that I like for fishing the tiny stuff. 7X is 3.4 lb. test 8X is 2.1 lb. test (http://www.waterstrider.com/fishing-gear.htm). I have some of the Varivas tippet, but have only used it a time or two so far. Some will raise hackles at light tippets, but with the right rod and technique bigger fish can be landed quickly' I haven't landed any 19" on my small stuff, but some in the mid-teens. We'll have to hit the Trikes next season, if you're game. Or midges sooner. I'd enjoy sharing some fly patterns and ideas.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 16, 2010September 16th, 2010, 9:54 am EDT
"." Hey guys! Do you see that dot? Let's call it a no-see-um...Get to it Shawnny! :)

I just read the last dozen or so posts here and I'm laughing my ass off! You guys are a hoot! But you know I love you small fly guys...This is probably the only form of extremism I can tolerate. But a couple of you may need some help and Shawn...You "are" on a slippery slope!

"Good evening everyone." A chorus of hello's are heard back. "My name is Tony, or Louis, or Shawn and I'm a small-fly-aholic. It all started several years ago, during a Pseudocleon anoka hatch...We called them that back then...Before the fall!..."

I think I heard my cell phone ringing...It's from Pennsylvania...Oh shit! It's Tony...He's threatening me with a size 26 Vincent Marinaro hook from Partridge of Redditch...I'm shaking in my waders, man!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 23, 2010September 23rd, 2010, 5:25 am EDT
I just had a colleague at my school come by my room and blow my mind (OK, perhaps not noteworthy per se - but it is the way he blew my mind that is worth sharing). He was dismantling some donated equipment that is used for making custom integrated circuits. Apparently, they use gold wire for the circuitry (easy to understand because of its electrical properties and resistance to oxidation), and the machinery had a small coil of gold wire (probably 24-karat - I'll have to do some research to find out for sure) left on it. I haven't measured it, but this wire is by far the finest I have ever seen, on the order of a human hair (20 microns, perhaps?). Anyway, he gave it to me. I am both excited and afraid of where this might lead.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 23, 2010September 23rd, 2010, 5:37 am EDT
Just measured the wire - 33 microns thick. I'm going to go insane(r?).

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 23, 2010September 23rd, 2010, 5:47 am EDT
Shawn,

Is it at the point that we should be sending someone, say a psychologist, to the house?!

Sawyer's original nymph called for some of the other wire that may have been part of that equipment your friend was taking apart...The copper stuff. There is a black-and-white YouTube out there somewhere without sound showing him tying up one...We all run out to the local fly shop and pay big bucks for fancied up wire and it's really all around us...Maybe not in bright olive or hot pink, but....

Sounds like you are in business there mister!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Sep 26, 2010September 26th, 2010, 2:35 am EDT
Ha! Now that's fun.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 26, 2010September 26th, 2010, 2:39 am EDT
Yes, fun indeed. I just found out that they make this stuff down to 12 microns. Research continues. Hopefully on the other side of all this I find some other, heretofore undiscovered, version of sanity.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com

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