I have been completely barbless for a number of years now. I had gained the confidence in them through fishing rivers. I have tried many of the various brands some have been good others not so much. I made the fatal error of tying up hundreds of flies on Fulling Mill Grab Gape hooks only to find that they are easily straightened out by hard fighting fish. After playing around with various other hooks I had finally settled on the Dohiku brand in W12SL, 645 and 302. I have never had any issues with these hooks.
Troutline kindly sent me some samples of the Demmon Competition STS 920 range as well as some of their other types (more to come on those at a later date). I want to focus on the STS920 first though as most of my fishing is being done on stillwaters at the moment. This is what Troutline have to say about the hooks.
“Demmon Competition STS920 BL Fly Hooks is a new hook developed for strong and big fish. The particularity of this hook is the shank - short, to let the tier to make blobs, lake flies, small streamers or to tie articulated flies and to give the maximum mobility in water.
The small sizes like #12 and #14 are fantastic for spiders and other wet flies with short bodies!
- Eye - Down
- Wire- 2X Strong
- Lenght-1x short
- Shape-standard wet with special round bend
- Finish- Black Nickel
- Point: Long Barbless curved inside
- Bags of 25pcs”
My first impression was if I had taken these hooks from a packet marked Dohiku I would not have known the difference. When comparing them close up you could see that they share many of the same characteristics’ a slightly upturned hook point and a nice gauge to them. This is ideal for bulky patterns such as blobs and muddlers. They feature a slightly down turned eye and the hook points are super sharp.
On really close inspection you can see there are slight differences in the profile of the hooks. They are both solid well manufactured hooks. Having now caught several fish on them I am content that they are fit for purpose. So, why change from the Dohiku? Well the price for a packet of 25 Dohiku hooks is the kingly sum of £4.50 although you can pick them up on offer at £4.25. This means that before you start lashing expensive materials to the hook its 18p right off the bat. I know it sounds like the Scotsman bleeding out of me, but if you tie a lot (and I do) this all adds up. The Demmon hooks retails for £3.18 for 25 or if you buy 10 packets it works out at £2.66 thats a little over 10p a hook. (converted from Euros). The differences in the two brands are so subtle that the only real decider for me is the price which even armed with my extremley poor maths makes the Demmon hooks a no brainer!
I have a reasonable stock of Dohiku that will probably see me through this season but all in all I think my next order will be the Demmon hooks. You can take a look at them on the Troutline website here.