Mustad Quality Hooks
Mustad has more than 100 years of fly hook experience. Many patterns still retained date back half a century. In spite of this long experience, Mustad's processes and technology have been continuously renewed and refined. The study of insects is fundamental in modern fly fishing, and is therefore an all important criteria in fly hook design. Mustad has combined entomology and hook making into a totally new approach to fly hooks. Hooks are designed to meet specific properties of the insect's anatomy without compromising presentation and action in fishing.

Press Release 01/10/09:
For the past several years, premium chemically sharpened needlepoint hooks have grown a great deal in popularity. More and more tiers (and anglers who don't tie but certainly use flies) are wanting these premium hooks for their flies. During this time I have watched the Mustad selection in fly shops shrink. When talking with shop owners and sales people the same thing is said over and over and over. "Customers want the premium needlepoint stuff so that is what we are selling." This meant that with our Classic line up which offered tried and true patterns but didn't have "premium" points were getting shut out at retail. Now that is certainly not to be said that folks were not buying Mustad Classic fly hooks because they certainly were but the trend was heading in the wrong direction.

So a few years back I worked with my colluege in Norway to develop a premium offering of fly hooks called the Signature series. The hooks were the world's first and only proportionate hook range. The series was successful and we gained back some market share. The trend however on the Classic continued and we watched the peg space for these tried and true hooks continue to shrink as demand for premium fly hooks increased. Now you are not going to stay in business long if you sit and watch your product underperform and do nothing about it.

As the Signature Series continued to plug along we talked with some key customers who sold a LOT of fly hooks. We made the call to make the huge leap and convert the remaining popular Classic hooks over to the premium side. This meant the hooks would get micro-barbs and chemically sharpened needlepoints. There would also be some adjustments to the hooks so that they too became proportionally correct. It only stands to reason that if you buy a few packs of 2X strong, 4X long hooks in a selection of sizes you must really want a hook that is 2X strong and 4X long or else you would not have bought them. Well up to this point, that was not possible with the Classics (nor any of our competitions hooks). I cannot tell you how many times I have worked shows, tying flies and hear someone say that brand "X" has a great hook model in say sizes 12, 14 and 18 but man, the 16's are just too light or the gap is too narrow or the shank is too short or long. Well this is because the hook is not proportional. So if we were going to roll all these Classic's over into the Signature range it only made sense to follow that same framework we set when we developed the Signature range. On many of the converted hooks, the changes to wire diameter, length and gap will be unnoticeable but on some others, yes, you will see the hook is a bit different.

As for Mustad gouging consumers in order to make double the profit…well…there are a few things I'd like to say to those that feel that is the case but this is a family website and I want to keep things on the up and up. Some have pointed out that costs to produce products have gone up. Most consumers have no idea just how much the cost of production has gone up over the years. Mustad's desire has been to keep products priced fairly, making them attractive to all but in doing so, price increases over the years have not kept up with the cost of doing business. We have been able to offset some of those gaps with production and logistic improvements but over the past couple of years, the costs have risen sharply. We all know what gas and oil prices did and what kind of price hikes that resulted in all aspects of our lives like groceries and such. Some may say "yeah, but gas and oil prices have dropped dramatically the past few months!" Yes this is true BUT chemical prices and labor prices (including social costs) among many other things have not dropped and in fact continue to rise. We are the world's only hook manufacturer that produced hooks from steel wire formulated especially for hook making. We have our own proprietary steel so we are not simply able to shop the markets and buy at the lowest price. I can assure you that we do everything we can to keep costs down so we can produce a product at a reasonable price.

It was said we have doubled prices. Well I have not had a chance to see any of our customer's retail catalogs but I did a quick search on the internet and here is what I found.

Mustad Classic 94845 size 14 in a 50 count box - $5.95
Mustad's new R50X-94845 size 14 in a 50 count box - $5.99

Mustad Classic 34011 size 1/0 in a 25 count box - $6.10
Mustad's new S74SZ-34011 size 1/0 in a 25 count - $6.35

Mustad Classic 9672 size 8 in 25 count box - $4.20
Mustad's new R74-9672 size 8 in 25 count box - $3.69

As for just what exactly is happening with the fly hooks. Yes, the vast majority of the Classic fly hooks are no longer going to be made. We are instead moving these hooks into the Signature range. I will forward a chart for LadyFisher and Mr. Castwell to post which shows the Classic number and what it's new model number is (if it is getting converted over). You will now have your favorites, but they will have been upgraded with much sharper points, smaller barbs (super easy to make barbless if desired) and better eye closures. I know it's human nature to resist change but I ask that you keep an open mind as you lean the details.

I hope this sheds some light on the situation and I'm sorry this has many so worked up. I can assure you, we greatly value each and every customer we have and we are always working hard to give the best products at the best prices.
~ Jeff Pierce (Dr. Fish)


Each month Mustad will present a fly here, featuring one of our hooks, complete with tying instructions and fishing suggestions. When you buy hooks we hope you will consider Mustad and Partridge first.

Read Al Campbell's review of Mustad Hooks in the Product Reviews

MSA Hopper
By Loren Williams

The MSA Hopper was designed this summer out of necessity. My interest and involvement with FIPS-Mouche regulated competition fly-fishing has required a shift in my angling attention. Staunch regulations have forced me to learn a broad array of new techniques, requiring me to rethink my choice of patterns. This has created a rebirth in my excitement of fly-fishing.

One technique I have been forced to work on is the "dry-dropper" approach. Now, dropping a nymph off of a dry fly is nothing new to us in the States. But when you are restricted from knotting the dropper off of the bend of the hook, or knotting it around the tippet so that it slides to the eye of the dry fly, then some new aspects come into play. Furthermore, when the flies you are dropping can weigh .5 grams or more and might be attached to a dropper 5 or 6 feet in length, typical tactics get tossed.

I needed to create a pattern that could support heavy dropper flies; be seen from a great distance in very rough water, under various lighting conditions, was expected to catch fish; and was durable and easy to tie. The fly also needed to be slender enough that it could be cast with a long dropper and rather fine tippet. The MSA Hopper was born out of this search.

When we think of indicator dries we often jump to the side of foam patterns and "Hopper/dropper" rigs. I did that at first. My problem with foam was that in order to create a pattern that would float well enough I needed to go into the construction business. When I tried limiting the amount of foam to avoid layering and gluing, I sacrificed floatation since much of the buoyancy got lost with thread compression. I also felt limited with fly size. Smallish patterns were not well-suited to foam. Left scratching my head, I began to rethink what attributes make a fly float.

Obviously, the inherent buoyancy of the tying material is a factor, as we see with foam. But the other factor, and one I feel to be more important and dependable, is the surface area of the fly relative to the mass of the hook. This is how hackled patterns float, this is also how no-hackles float. They spread the footprint of the fly across a broad surface area. So, the MSA (Maximum Surface Area) Hopper is a throwback to old-school thinking, but using more contemporary tying ideas and materials. The thing floats like no tomorrow on the many hundreds of stiff hackle barbs and guard hairs that compose its chassis. It's accent features do not take away from floatation and they add greatly to its visibility and fish-catching triggers. It can be tied with ease using proper material selection, and it can be built on a broad size range of hooks to suit variable dropper sizes and water types. Its appearance roughly mimics popular and proven western patterns like the Stimulator and Amy's Ant. Color combinations are endless if the tier so chooses to use this pattern to match a hatch.

Materials for the MSA Hopper:

Materials

    Hook: Mustad Signature C53S #6-#12

    Abdomen: Hare's-mask dubbing

    Rib: Grizzly dyed yellow saddle hackle.

    Wing: Yellow deer hair accented with pearl Krystal Flash.

    Legs: Rubber hackle.

    Thorax: Hare's-mask dubbing thickly palmered with coachman brown saddle hackle.

Tying Instructions for the MSA Hopper:

    Materials

    1. Mount a Mustad C53S in your vise jaws and attach your tying thread. Advance the thread to the rear of the hook just above the barb.

    Materials

    2. Select a greatly undersized premium grizzly dyed yellow saddle hackle. The hackle should be smaller than the hook gap. Strip the barbs from the end of the stem and secure it at the point where your thread is hanging.

    Materials

    3. After securing the saddle, continue to bind the stem to the hook as you advance the thread to a point about 2/3 of the way forward.

    Materials

    4. Apply a tacky dubbing wax to your thread.

    Materials

    5. Touch-dub a nice blend of hare's-mask to your thread. I prefer to blend my own dubbing, and I'm sure to run it through a coffee grinder to "fluff" it up before touch dubbing. You just want to very lightly touch the mass of dubbing to the waxed thread--you want an even blend of guards and underfur.

    Materials

    6. Once the thread has been dubbed, spin it counter-clockwise (for righties) to boost durability and to give it a nice uniform distribution.

    Materials

    7. Dub back to the saddle, then forward again to the 2/3 mark.

    Materials

    8. Now, with very tight and closely spaced wraps, palmer the saddle forward to the 2/3 mark. It is important to use a premium feather with great length so that you can palmer with your fingers to achieve tight wraps. Get as many wraps as you can. I prefer to wrap with the barb curvature forward as this utilizes the natural composition of the feather and makes for a stronger fly whose barbs will not lay back. Secure the hackle with two tight thread wraps and clip the excess.

    Step 8

    9. Secure one strand of pearl Krystal Flash to the top of the hook just ahead of the hackle. Take a few wraps of thread forward.

    Materials

    10. Next, fold back the front section of Krystal Flash to the rear and bind it there with several tight thread wraps. Trim it to length (about 1 1/2 hook lengths). This method prevents the flash from pulling out.

    Materials

    11. Select, cut, and remove a small bundle of yellow deer hair. There is no need to overdose the size of the hair bundle as it does little for buoyancy. And it's purpose is to mimic a wing and to provide visibility to the angler. Grasp the bundle by the tips and run a fur comb (shown is a comb from Wasatch Tools) through the base of the hair to remove underfur and shorts.

    Materials

    12. This is what will come out. Discard.

    Materials

    13. Stack the bundle of hair to even the tips.

    Materials

    14. Measure, with the tips to the rear, for length and clip the excess butt ends. Length should be about 1.5 to 1.75 hook lengths.

    Materials

    15. Secure the bundle immediately in front of the abdomen with several tight thread wraps.

    Materials

    16. Smooth the butt ends with thread and build a nice taper for the abdomen.

    Materials

    17. Mount the rubber hackle on the near side of the hook. I begin at the front and bind to the rear. I also leave the legs long at this point. I bind the legs back to the start of the abdomen.

    Materials

    18. Repeat for the far side.

    Materials

    19. Select an undersized grizzly dyed coachman brown saddle. Strip the barbs from the end and secure at the rear of the thorax section. Size the hackle to be just larger than the abdomen hackle--or just barely larger than the hook gap.

    Materials

    20. Touch dub some hare's-mask and build the thorax underbody.

    Materials

    21. Dubbed thorax.

    Materials

    22. Palmer the coachman saddle up to the front legs with tight and close wraps.

    Materials

    23. Reverse palmer back to the abdomen, again using tight and close wraps.

    Materials

    24. Then palmer back to the front legs. This will build an extremely dense hackled thorax with hundreds of stiff hackle barbs acting as tiny outriggers. The dark color offers a good visual for glared waters as well as a stark contrast that I feel triggers strikes.

    Materials

    25. Secure the hackle behind the front legs with two very tight wraps of thread.

    Materials

    26. Clip the excess hackle.

    Materials

    27. Next, with force, pull back the hackle barbs and rubber legs to expose the hook eye. Build a small head that keeps the barbs out of the way; whip and snip.

    Materials

    28. The final step will be to trim the legs. I cut the rear legs to be just a tad longer than the wing; the front legs are just long enough to provide some stability and action. If they are too long they get in the way of knotting the fly to the dropper tippet. This fly is tied to the tag end of a triple surgeons knot.

    Note: The fly was removed from the vise for effect only as it is easier to see the leg proportions sans vise.

    Materials

    29. A completed MSA Hopper!

    Materials

    30. Top view. Notice the contrast as well as the bright wing. This fly will be visible under various conditions. ~ LW

About Loren Williams: This fly is from Mustad Prostaffer Loren Williams and comes to us via Jeff Pierce (Dr. Fish) at Mustad. Loren was the official tier for Team USA (fly fishing) last year. His website is flyguysoutfitting.com. Loren is a full time commercial fly tier and guide. According to Dr. Fish, "When it comes to Great Lakes Trout and Salmon, he takes the high road and uses traditional fly-fishing techniques, not the chuck and duck flossing that many guides do. He's top notch!" ~ DLB

Previous Monthly Flies!

Scud
Zonked Squirrel Streamer
Hopper
Velcro Crab
Pike Bunny
Glo Bug
CDC Steelhead
CDC Caddis
JP's Minnow
The Alvin Fly
The Chromie
JP's Trout Snack
Big Mack
X-File Pupa
Jeff's EGGstravaganza
Jeff's Coho Candy
The Flamingo

Visit the O. Mustad & Son website for more information on our extensive line of hooks for fly tying!

O. Mustad & Sons (U.S.A.) Inc.
P.O. Box 838
253 Grant Avenue
Auburn, NY 13021
USA
Phone: (315) 253-2793
Fax: (315) 253-0157
Email.


[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice