Matuzo sickle hooks for sockeye flies
Guy what do you think of a size 4 Matuzo octopus sickle hook for sockeye yarn flies. To me it makes no sense to use a long shank hook. what are your thoughts?
short shank = less unbuttoned fish
You're right on. Those long shanked, "coho fly" hooks are not effecient at all at keeping fish hooked. Long shank provides way too much leverage and movement and the hook tears out. Plus the wire on those hooks is way thicker than needed. I used to use Gamakatsu octopus hooks but the upturned eye doesn't provide a straight pull unless you snell or bumper tie it on, which is what I imagine you do for your yarn flies. Those hooks worked great for yarn flies.
However, I didn't like having to tie a bumper knot on the river. Now I use a short shanked, ring eye glo-bug style hook in size 4. I can't remember the make and model of this hook but the point is offset a little. It has much smaller, though still fairly heavy, diameter wire so it penetrates really easily. All I really do when I can tell there's a fish is lift the rod and it's hooked. I lose way fewer fish with the short shanked hooks than I did back in the day when I was gullible enough to believe you had to use the traditional 'russian river' fly. I tie it on with a simple trilene knot. To make it a fly, I spend an hour in the winter and tie up 30 or so, using just a little piece of yarn or a few strands of crystal flash (my favorite). I do catch some of the fish on the inside of the mouth, more so with the crystal flash version than the yarn; I assume some of the fish actually bite it rather than just getting lined.
For example, Monday night and Tuesday morning, I landed 12 fish. It took about two hours for the first limit and an hour and a half for the second. I was not in the very best water as it was too crowded for that. I foul hooked two, both of which I intentionally broke off. Two of the twelve were hooked inside the mouth, one in the tonge and one in the upper mandible. The others were outside in in the corner of the jaw. To each his own, but I never jerk unless I feel a fish and the line actually stops drifting downstream. If you're afflicted with Kenaitis Twitchitis (giving it a yank at the end of each drift), you are going to foul hook a lot of fish. It's a waste of time to fight snagged fish, and you lose gear as well, resulting in even more down time. And it isn't necessary to catch a quick limit.
The Matzuo's angular bend should result in even better performance (less fish coming unbuttoned) than the Gamakatzus, but I've noticed with the larger matzuos I've used for kings the quality control isn't as good as Gamakatsu's. You may have to sharpen some or many of them prior to fishing. If you try them I think you'll love 'em and will never go back to those long-shanked, quick release hooks.