Our guides are in the process of turning out a whole bunch of flies for the upcoming season. We use a lot of stinger style fly patterns at our lodges – Flies tied to incorporate a trailing hook positioned at the back of the fly. They offer a number of advantages over flies tied on a standard shank hook, including:
- Allowing a large profile fly to be tied with a smaller, more fish friendly hook.
- Allow the use of shorter shank ‘stinger’ hooks which results in less leverage on the hook while fighting fish.
- Allow hooks to be changed without damaging the fly.
When tying stinger-style flies for salmon, steelhead, or even larger streamers for trout, there a few materials (mostly wire) available for creating the loop at which to attach your stinger hook. These wires are available in a whole bunch of really cool colors and create some really nice looking flies.
However, if you turn out as many flies in a season as we do, such materials can also be really expensive! That’s why a lot of the time we prefer using plain ol’ 30 lb. Berkely Fireine braid for our stinger loops. Not only is it cheaper than most materials marketed specifically for stinger loops, but we think it works really well for the following reasons.
- It’s stiff. 30 lb. FireLine is substantially stiffer than most other conventional braid material. Similar to wire, it’s actually stiff enough to suspend a size 2 stinger hook when attached to a normal size loop, rather than droop down below the materials of the fly (see photo above).
- It’s not TOO stiff. While it’s stiff enough to suspend a stinger hook, one thing we really like about FireLine is that it is more flexible than wire. That means that it’s able to move around while fighting a fish – in theory creating less leverage on the hook during the fight.
- It’s textured. FireLine has a unique texture that seems to grip well without slippage when tied onto a shank. It’s also somewhat flat in cross section which means that it creates very little bulk when tied in, even when doubled over.
- It’s easy to change hooks. Unlike wire or heavy mono, due to FireLine’s thin diameter, changing hooks in and out is a breeze and doesn’t create a nasty kink in the loop.
FireLine is available in a few different colors and retails for $17.95 for a 125 yard spool – That’s a lot of flies worth. If you’re planning on spinning up a lot of stinger style flies, we suggest giving it a try! For more information, get the details on Berkley’s website, here.