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Stuart Foxall on Tying Trailer Hook Loops

Posted on November 18 2015

Tips for Tying Flies with Stinger Hooks.
The right size, every time. Photo: Stuart Foxall.

Trailer hook style flies have become extremely popular for salmon and steelhead for a number of reasons. They allow dull hooks to be changed, reduce the the number of ‘short’ strikes, and allow large profile flies (i.e. intruders, leeches, and so on) to be tied with shorter shanked hooks for better holding power.

However, when tying flies with trailer hooks, it’s important that the loop at which to attach the hook is long enough to prevent short strikes, but not so long as to risk hooking fish too deeply, potentially causing injury to the fish.

Finding this happy medium can be difficult, but our buddy and fly tying guru, Stuart Foxall, recently showed us a simple way to gauge the length of your trailer hook, leaving you with perfect loop every time. Today, we share that tip with you.

Tying Stinger Loops the Right Size – Every Time

  1. At the front of the fly, give a couple of thread wraps to hold the wire loop on top of the shank. Keep these first few wraps loose to allow the wire to be pulled either way along the shank in order to be positioned correctly.
  2. Attach the largest hook you’re liable to use onto the wire.
  3. Pull the wire loop so that the eye of the hook is at the rear-most tying point on the shank (see photo above). This is where the first dubbing ball will be tied and makes sure that the loop is large enough for hooks to be changed, without extending too far back. This is the ‘happy medium’ point.
  4. The loop is now the correct length. Remove the hook to keep from impaling yourself and get tying!

More Fly Tying Tips

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