The Venerable TMC 212Y Dry Fly Hook

Many people ask me what kind of emerger hooks I prefer to use on  my patterns? Specifically for caddis, midges, and mayflies. For many years I used the TMC 2488, 2487, Dai-Riki 125's, Gamakatsu C-15's, Daiichi 1167...and the list goes on. What I have found is that these are all good hooks in general BUT what makes a good all around emerger hook? There are three traits to the hook geometry that make it a great hook. 

~The first great hook trait is the fine wire diameter for properly suspending a fly in the surface film cast after cast. The hook needs to be strong and fine. The hook cannot be to heavy since the gossamer materials used to mimic this life stage need to be somewhat minimal or sparse in appearance.

~The Second trait is the hook profile needs to offer you enough real estate to actually tie a proportional facsimile. If the hook is too long it may only be appropriate for a very narrow genre of insects. If the hook is too short in gape, bite, shank, or bend, the materials used can inhibit the hooking potential. This is a bigger issue than you think and unfortunately not discussed enough among tyers.

~The Third Trait is what I call “hook mojo” in order for you to feel confident and actually use the fly on stream you need to have a good track record with a particular hook. You have to believe in it!

The TMC 212Y has always been very consistent in holding power and control in my experience. It offers the golden mean for proportion when it comes to gape and bite. If there ever was a Vitruvian Emerger Hook the TMC 212Y would fit the build.

                   ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Importance of Observation

“Deer Crossing” Oil Tonal Study, 6x8 wood panel
Mad River Spring 2017, Clint Joseph Bova
Often in the spring I just go for long walks along the river to observe all the changes that take place over the winter. Root wads move, limbs break, entire trees come down creating new prime lies.
Compound lies are created by sand bars and bank erosion that are really subtle indicators that will help you map in your brain where the fish may be before you even set foot in the water. 
“Deer Crossing” Oil on 6x8 wood panel
Mad River Spring 2017, Clint Joseph Bova
I create both visual maps and mental maps. Everyone who knows me knows that I spend a lot of time wandering about (often aimlessly and confused) sketching and writing in my journal. I think I would feel a bit lost if I didn't observe as much as possible. Taking notes in whatever form you feel comfortable with always pays big dividends in the long run.
Nice Spring Brown caught on a CDC midge emerger 
Mad River Spring 2017
Spring fishing can be confusing and often frustrating when dealing with hatches that last only a few minutes or weather patterns that change hourly. Being in the right place at the right time always helps. Simple observation and patience over time is a great means to a successful day.
Happy and productive spring fishing to all!
~Clint Joseph Bova