Big fish. Big water. Bigger grabs. You know you’re gonna go through more than a few hooks when fishing deep for salmon and steelhead.
Here’s why we like to buy in bulk for rigging tube and stinger-style flies.:
- Cost savings. While the average cost-per-hook price is relatively the same for hooks purchased in 25 or 100 unit lots (about $.34/hook for a size 1 nickel Octopus Gamakatsu), how much gas are you burning driving to the tackle shop every time your 8- or 25-pack starts to run thin? If you fish a lot like we do, little things like that add up.
- Convenience. Likewise, a 100-pack can sometimes last you all season, from your homewaters to Alaska and BC, then back. And if you’re traveling that much to fish, you’ll appreciate not having more hooks show up on the ‘Must. Get. Now.’ section of any packing list. You’ve probably got enough stuff to deal with, right?
- Bulk packaging is better. A size 1 Gamakatsu’s little 100-pack is about 1” x 2” and fits neatly in the front pocket of your waders or jacket. It’s also surprisingly durable and unlike a plastic envelope, it seals well so you don’t end up with a bazillion hooks in the bottom of your pocket, waiting to greet your unsuspecting fingertips.
- It lessens indecision. How many times has a hook come back with the point just slightly rolled but still technically sharp? When fishing’s good, it’s pretty easy to just huck it back out there thinking “Oh, it’s probably fine and, besides, I’ve only got a few good hooks left.” That’s about the time a monster grab turns into an airball and you’re left reminding yourself to change hooks next time. Having a bulk pack makes that decision a no-brainer.
- You’ll get to know your terminal tackle’s limits better. This one might sound obsessive. And it is – for good reason. Fishing the same running lines, leaders and hooks over and over and over really gets you in tune with how much pressure you can put on a fish and—this is key—how much pressure you can put on a hook buried in a rootball, wood or rock.
For the latter, when all hope’s been abandoned and it comes time to break the fly off, tighten the line and gently pull instead of popping the rod. By slightly increasing pressure, you’ll know how much the leader can take after a few tries (hopefully, it’s less than your running line). This will help you figure out how to straighten the hook without breaking off. If you’re fishing tubes or stinger-style flies, just strip the fly back, replace the hook from your bulk stock and bam – you’re back in the game. No flybox access necessary!
Bulk hooks can be a little harder to find – if your local fly shop doesn’t carry them, you can get them on Amazon right here.