Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kleis's Korner Gear Review - Umpqua Competition Hooks

American tyers have been showing an increased interest in tying with European style Czech nymph hooks. The interest comes from the versitility and shapes of the hooks that European's use to tie various caddis and scud imitations. Many of the rivers on that side of the world aren't clean enough to support healthy mayfly populations so caddis and scuds are a main food source for trout. That fact means that European tyers have spent a lot of time designing hooks with the proper lengths and bends to realistically imitate caddis larva in particular.

So while us Americans have been tying Parachute Adams and Black Beauties they have been tying Czech nymphs designed to get down and imitate free swimmers and rock crawlers.  Tyers in the U.S. that want to tie with these hooks take a huge hit to the wallet.  The original cost after production and shipping to the States makes these hooks some of the most expensive you can buy for tying.  Luckily Umpqua has come out with a Competition series of hooks that makes it slightly more affordable to tie actual European style nymphs.  More important than price this means that proper competition Czech nymph style hooks are readily available to American tyers.  Forgive the iphone photos but here are the hooks...

C500BL.  Not pictured is the C550BL which has a longer shank



If you can't tell by looking at them all of these hooks are great for tying flies that get down close to the bottom.  Most evident is the C400BL which is a jig hook that makes amazing looking stonefly and larger mayfly nymph imitations.  Tyers wanting to tie great jig style flies that get down fast try using slotted beads with this hook style.  The C300BL makes scuds and caddis larva, and the C500BL series (which are by far my favorite) make amazing scuds, caddis larva, and caddis pupa.  Obviously you're not limited to tying these insects or stages because what you tie on any hook is only limited by your own imagination.  Take these examples that I have tied with the C500BL in a size 12...

My Czech Charles

 Kleis's Czech Charles wet

Competition Copper John size 12

Competition Egg

The beauty of this hook and why I have grown to love the C500BL and C550BL in particular is that they are insanely sharp.  I have scars just from tying with them to prove it.  The other thing that I love is that the hook point on the C500BL series is turned up similar to a circle hook.  The upturned point gives this hook great holding power when playing fish while still being barbless which makes for a fast and easy release. 

Sometimes taking an old pattern and putting a new spin on it (including a different bend in the hook) will trigger strikes from heavily pressured and highly educated fish.  I one hundred and ten percent recommend tying and fishing with these hooks.  If you haven't tied with them yet get some for your vice and give them a spin.  There are tons of European fly patterns out there that could use an American twist that will shred lips in the States.  A few good books to read up on for tying Czech nymphs are "Secret Flies Of The Czech and Slovak Fly Tyers", and "Czech Nymph", both are available at Anglers Covey Fly Shop.

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