“Tying Small” With The Tiemco 531

The world of dry fly hooks can be a mind numbing experience when considering all the choices worldwide. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to the specific pattern and hook. The geometry of the dry fly hook and uniform scale relative to the pattern is what I always think about. If your testing patterns constantly like I do it can keep you up at night. I have gotten in some mind numbing conversations with guides (typically Canadian) and weekend warriors alike. Over the years I have found a common ground with my tying tastes and given fishing circumstances. I typically “tie small” which means that the patterns tend to be somewhat sparse, compact, and often deceptively small. The Tiemco 531 is the hook I use to tie deceptively small. The 531 is the most effective hook I have ever used, and I have used it for years. I would say seventy percent of my dry flies are dressed on a TMC 531.

The 531 is a fine black wire hook with a slight barb. It is a short shank hook with a wide gape and the bite/throat is deep. The bend is very uniform compared to a standard dry fly hook such as the TMC 101. The eye is smaller than its same sized counter part and bears a less drastic angle. The 531's front length tapers gently into a extremely sharp point as seen below. The first time I tied with one of these hooks it was love at first sight. The first time I fished with it I was a complete convert and am till this day. The only pitfall with this hook is it is somewhat fine and I have bent these while fighting large fish but have never straightened one completely so care must be taken fighting the girthy Browns and Rainbows.
I have always felt that the TMC 531 is a better hook for my patterns than the TMC 101. Hypothetically if there was only one hook I was allowed to use it would be the 531 hands down.
Tying small takes some practice meaning that the short shank is not an obstacle, it is simply a mindful consideration when getting proportions worked out especially on Mayfly duns. All of my adult Caddis patterns are tied on the TMC 531 and dry emergers on the TMC 212Y. Both of these hooks are somewhat difficult to get here in the USA but are easily found in the UK and CZ. Noticeably these hooks float very well with its given dressing. Hook ups are very positive in my experience not to mention the very slight barb allows you to remove it by flicking it with your index finger.
I hoard these hooks primarily because they are hard to find! If they were readily available here in the US I would be able to sleep better at night and I would be less inclined to strip old flies down and salvage the hook. I suppose time will only tell but I am not holding my breath.
~Clint Joseph Bova