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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.

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.

Jschoen
Jschoen's profile picture
Amherst, MA

Posts: 1
Jschoen on Aug 15, 2013August 15th, 2013, 6:20 am EDT
I've done some web research, can't seem to find a translation from hook size to millimeters or inches. I realize that there are a variety of hook models and manufacturers that lead to variability in hook size nomenclature.
When I think of hook sizes, my standard is the Mustad dry fly hook.
With that in mind, can anyone suggest how each hook size translates to mm? Inches is also useful.

Thanks.
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Aug 15, 2013August 15th, 2013, 9:07 am EDT
Hi Jschoen-

The shank length of my Mustaad standard dry fly barbless hooks (94845) is as follows:

#10 - ~10 mm.
#12 - ~8.5 mm.
#14 - ~7 mm.
#16 - ~6.5 mm.
#18 - ~6 mm.

Hope this helps.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Aug 17, 2013August 17th, 2013, 5:10 pm EDT
Hi Jschoen -

Welcome to the forum!

...can anyone suggest how each hook size translates to mm?

It can't be done as there is no industry standard to go by. There are dozens of styles from a bunch of different manufacturers now in common use and they are all a little different.

Back in the day, Mustad 94840's dominated the market to such an extent that using their designations was a good way to converse about the size of flies to use or the critters we tried to imitate. When an angler report mentioned a "14 PMD" on the water others knew what fly size to use. Those days are gone with the wind. As one example, below are the lengths of the popular Tiemco 100:

#12 - 10 mm
#14 - 8 mm
#16 - 7 mm
#18 - 6 mm

Using Mustad's sizing provided by Taxon as the bench mark for comparing the two, the TMC # 12's are really size 10's and the 16's are 14's. The TMC 14's are a size unto themselves - size 12.25? They only converge in shank length at size #18. Going down from there, the Tiemco's reverse the trend and begin to get smaller in length, though at all sizes there gaps are much bigger.

"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Aug 21, 2013August 21st, 2013, 11:37 am EDT
And I remember when all of that changing of the sizing took place. Japanese hook makers just added shank length to Mustad's hook size, and it won over a lot of tiers feeling they now had more room to apply material. Nifty bit of marketing.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Aug 21, 2013August 21st, 2013, 11:49 am EDT
You're so right, Jere. Then they touted "wide gap" designs for marketing purposes. First longer shanks then wider gaps. Hmmm... Can somebody explain the purpose of a long shanked wide gap 14 other than to cause confusion? Sounds like another way to describe a regular size 12 to me..:)LOL
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Aug 21, 2013August 21st, 2013, 12:01 pm EDT
BTW - What converted me was the wire quality, points, and barbs. Frankly, I like the consistent 1 mm spread between hook sizes. Below size 12 where a single mm can make a big difference, I wished they manufactured the odd sizes. What was interesting about the old Mustads was that on both sides of #16 the differences where a half mm. This covered the bulk of selectivity causing mayfly hatches with closer matches.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Aug 21, 2013August 21st, 2013, 2:47 pm EDT
...I like the consistent 1 mm spread between hook sizes. Below size 12 where a single mm can make a big difference...

With the tremendous variety in Tiemco hook styles, an exact size match to any fly, in any stage with any posture is just about a sure bet.

...I wished they manufactured the odd sizes...

Tiemco does.

...What was interesting about the old Mustads was that on both sides of #16 the differences where a half mm. This covered the bulk of selectivity causing mayfly hatches with closer matches...

Agree.
One of the problems anglers and fly tyers have, is the local jargon. A hatch chart listing "size 14 Hendrickson" can vary up to 3mm depending upon the hook manufacturer.
If I can't get a more accurate source, I'll tie a few emergers and duns in Tiemcos size 13, 14 and 15, then adjust once I'm there.
Rusty spinners? I already carry them in sizes 10-21...
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
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Aug 21, 2013August 21st, 2013, 6:04 pm EDT
Tiemco does.

Yes, but not in the same model. I was referring to the 100's. It would be cool if they made them in sizes 11 to 19 in addition to the even sizes. One can also mix and match with various models of other hook manufacturers as well. Daiichi makes some I do this with. I really don't know how many different models I use to tie various types and stages of mayfly, but there are a lot. Some would call us obsessed, Tony. :)

I remember a time when I imitated everything between 6 and 12 mm with two hooks, the Mustad 94840 and 3906B. We sure have more options now!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Aug 23, 2013August 23rd, 2013, 7:40 am EDT
Great thread guys! You have re-visited an issue that bothers all us tiers...We all have probably tackled it in different ways...I have actually measured the working portion of the hooks and wrote the mm on the outside of the hook box. I then either use Justin Leonard's old book on Michigan Mayflies, or notes I've taken in the field over the years on the actual bugs length. I carry a small millimeter ruler I stole from my wife's sewing kit years ago...You didn't hear that here.

No one said it was going to be easy...

The guy that got me in to tying would always tell me to tie them in the size you think they are and then go one smaller...When I first started tying my bugs looked like they needed to go on a diet.

Mayfly abdomens, for the most part, are barely thicker than the hook shank. Old Nemes actually mic'ed some...Yes we can be a bit over-the-top from time to time. But we are having fun, right?! ;)
"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

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