Header image
Enter a name
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.

Lateral view of a Psychodidae True Fly Larva from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This wild-looking little thing completely puzzled me. At first I was thinking beetle or month larva, until I got a look at the pictures on the computer screen. I made a couple of incorrect guesses before entomologist Greg Courtney pointed me in the right direction with Psychodidae. He suggested a possible genus of Thornburghiella, but could not rule out some other members of the tribe Pericomini.
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 5, 2010September 5th, 2010, 5:59 pm EDT
Per the request made in this thread: http://www.troutnut.com/topic/2421

I decided to make my tiniest hook ever. It was a bit of a heavy-handed first attempt, but I was just pleased that I didn't lose it while working on it (I came very close, several times). It's 18K gold, about 10 cents worth.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Sep 5, 2010September 5th, 2010, 9:50 pm EDT
Shawn,

Wow, that's amazing. The sucker is so big I'm having trouble actually seeing it. Where exactly should I be looking relative to its big brother?
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 9:46 am EDT
Yes, Roger, it is quite small. Only the very wise can see it. Trico fishermen should have no trouble.

-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 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 11:00 am EDT
Shawnny,
your choice of a sproat bend interests me, since most small hooks are more round. does the material make a difference, or is the formation of the barb the governing factor?

or did you just like the look, aesthetics being what they are in your line of work?
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on Sep 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 11:25 am EDT
Only the very wise can see it. Trico fishermen should have no trouble.


I'm not sure which is the bigger problem for me, Shawn, but it's good to know that it's not just my aging eyesight. I'm glad Casey can see it so clearly (though I'm pretty sure she could also see the emperor's new clothes). :)
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 1:33 pm EDT
Thanks for indulging me in a bit of jest, guys. Sorry, Casey - you were looking too hard, although at this size I wasn't too concerned about bend style. The actual pics are now up.

For those of you who didn't read the preface to this thread in the other thread, the amazing Willard Wigan was the inspiration for this. It occurred to me that he could have a bit of fun with people when showing them his artwork to see if they would, as Gonzo said, see the emperor's clothes. I decided to give it a go.

On this one, look hard enough and you can see the barb.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Sep 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 1:51 pm EDT
i'll take a box of fifty at $.10 materials per hook + $.10 labor per hook and the usual 50% mark-up to total around $15
imagine the tiny dries i can come up with.
hey shawnny - do you know where i can find some 18x tipett?
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
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Sep 6, 2010September 6th, 2010, 4:34 pm EDT
Wow, it's something small enough to actually make with the amount of gold I've panned in Alaska!

Very cool little project. Next step: catch a trout on it!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 7, 2010September 7th, 2010, 4:55 am EDT
I'll refrain from speculation on that one, Paul. For Spence's sake, I don't think we should go any farther down the "fruit fly" road. He doesn't have room in his overcrowded vest for another box of flies. :)


Fella's! They can't take up that much space :)...

I'm not sure about the actual weight thing, but isn't gold a bit heavy? So that would make Shawnny's hook a nymph hook wouldn't it?

For a short period in my life I worked with surveying equipment and actually repaired crosshairs on old levels with real spider web...Now if I can only figure out what knot would work here with this stuff we might finally find some tippet small enough to satisfy Tony and accommodate his and Shawns obsession with these small flies!

You don't have to worry about old Spence and another fly box...If the fly is smaller than an 18 I'm just guessing where it might be out there somewhere on the water...Since I can no longer actually see them!

Go big or stay home! That's my new motto.

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
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Sep 7, 2010September 7th, 2010, 5:03 am EDT
oh, of course! barbless...silly me. i had it upside down.

my vise is a bit large--time for the tweezers-and-rubber-band approach, perhaps.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 7, 2010September 7th, 2010, 7:14 am EDT
OK, the first one looked like such crap that I had to try another. This one is only 1.5 mm long, and has a much better eye and bend (I went for a straight rather than turned-down eye for better hooking), but the point isn't so great. I think I can go smaller and nicer, but I've got to make and modify some tools to do it. This smaller and smaller thing is its own obsession, I'm finding.

-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 7, 2010September 7th, 2010, 3:06 pm EDT
shawnny, your first one looked more like a knapek hook which is a European hook used for Czech nymphs. it has a wicked long barbless point. i found them difficult to tie without drawing blood because they're rather large and the point sticks 'way out. Take a look at Somerset in November.

that second hook is simply ridiculous. i'm dying to see Gonzo tie it up with spider web and hummingbird leg feathers...

when you're bored with hooks, perhaps daughter's Barbie needs a wedding ring? with a stone or two?
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 8, 2010September 8th, 2010, 2:52 pm EDT
Thanks, everyone. I do quite enjoy the challenge of these small hooks, and I feel like it could be something I might do for presentation pieces in the future (my wife, I have to say, thinks that's a totally idiotic idea - "who would want a hook they can't even see?" - to which I reply, "who wouldn't?"). I'm currently working on a project that I thought would be all-consuming, but now I've got this little bug that's competing for attention. Who knows? Maybe in Somerset this year I'll be demoing how to make micro hooks. For that I might have to go smaller than a mm, get into the true micron range. And they have to look a whole lot nicer. We'll see. Thanks for the inspiration, guys, even if it was given in jest.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Sep 8, 2010September 8th, 2010, 3:09 pm EDT
I thought I was doing good tying up some size 20 nymphs. I guess I have yet to snatch the pebble from your hand.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 8, 2010September 8th, 2010, 3:44 pm EDT
You people are insane...I can only surmise that you have had compound microscope objectives implanted in your eyeballs...or do you just work through an actual zoom dissecting microscope????? If so, please tell me the make and model - I have some benthic macroinvertebrate ID work coming up in a few weeks, including LOTS of midges...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 9, 2010September 9th, 2010, 5:39 am EDT
Many jewelers today use microscopes to work under. I don't do that (yet) - I prefer to see things with the naked eye. Occasionally I'll use a loupe when I'm having trouble seeing the detail I need to.

In spite of my ability to work with gold without magnification, I am utterly useless at identifying insects. I would love to know how to do it better, but I have no desire to put in the hard work it would take to get to that point. So in that regard I will probably forever remain an ignoramus.

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

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Sep 9, 2010September 9th, 2010, 6:07 am EDT
In spite of my ability to work with gold without magnification, I am utterly useless at identifying insects. I would love to know how to do it better, but I have no desire to put in the hard work it would take to get to that point. So in that regard I will probably forever remain an ignoramus


Shawnny,

You know we love you...If you are in fact an "ignoramus" (doubtful!), you are our ignoramus... We are just afraid that if you go any smaller you are going to push Tony (Gutcutter) over the edge...He's already putting in orders for your micro hooks and you think he was kidding...:)!

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
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 9, 2010September 9th, 2010, 2:06 pm EDT
Shawn, I ended up going to Michigan State for a Master of Science in the subject - and I'll be damned if it has helped me find much work! (Upcoming work not withstanding - perhaps the EPA has finally "seen the light" and folks like me are going to get some employment now...) So, I wouldn't spend the time if I were you either...Not that I have any personal regrets, just that I wish such skills were more in demand by our modern world.

BTW, those teeny tiny hooks would be just about perfect for the dinky little chubs I catch on Paint Creek (instead of trout).

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Sep 12, 2010September 12th, 2010, 6:16 am EDT
So I made some tweezers out of a small safety pin, specifically for making small hooks. They work OK, but I may need to modify them some more to get the performance where I need it. Making tools this fine is difficult because the tool itself easily twists and bends when trying to work the piece. I have to stabilize my tweezers' jaws more and try to design a tip that doesn't allow the piece to slip out when held in the tweezers. Yet I also need a smooth enough finish on the tweezers that they don't scar the gold, making slippage a bigger risk. I may end up coating them with epoxy or shrink-wrapped plastic, but those might bulk up the tool too much. It's tricky.

In spite of the new tool's inadequacies, I made a few more attempts at small hooks this morning (5th and 6th photos above), also trying to incorporate more shaping and polishing of the gold to give a more finished look to them. The first one was a little larger than I wanted it to be and gave me some problems shaping the bend. The second one started out great and ended in disaster (scrapped - not shown). The third one turned out best. It was smallest (1.30 mm long) and had a nice shape and decent polish.

I still have to hone my methods and tools before I'd be comfortable calling these presentation hooks, but I'm getting closer to where I'd like them to be.

Sorry about the pics. I thought they were good, but once I saw them in full size I realized that they weren't in sharp focus. The best a novice could do with a macro lens and no tripod.

-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 12, 2010September 12th, 2010, 3:35 pm EDT
So I made some tweezers out of a small safety pin, specifically for making small hooks. They work OK, but I may need to modify them some more to get the performance where I need it.


Can you grind down a bobby pin for this? I've made tweezers from bobby pins for getting tiny flies out of my box, attaching them to the box with an elastic band and some gel spun fishing line. The bobby pin may provide a more square gripping surface and may not twist.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Topic
Replies
Last Reply
3
Jun 8, 2007
by Martinlf
7
Jan 18, 2020
by TNEAL
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy