During the late stages of last season, I had the opportunity to try out the new Fulling Mill size 18 jig hook. In the past I have been a big fan of the FM Jig Force hooks, I have found them to be sharp, hold fish well and most importantly, not as prone to corrosion as some other brands! I have found other brand jig hooks can sometimes rust in the box after only a few trips. My only criticism about this barbless hook range was that the smallest size was a 16 and like most jig hooks, in reality, it’s closer to a size 14 when compared to standard hooks.
My initial impressions of the hooks were very positive. I like the fact that they were not too heavy in the wire, something which I feel is vital when fishing UK rivers, generally, our fish are in the 20 – 30cm range. I have suffered lots of lost fish on heavier wire hooks and the size 18’s are a perfect balance of fine wire and strength. The shape is also good, they are not too wide in the gape and the point is in-turned enough to hold fish without compromising hooking properties (both of which I have found to be an issue with some other jig patterns).
Fulling Mill Jig Force Hooks
50 Degree eye, 2 X Heavy, Claw Point.
Pack of 50. Price: £6.95.
The size 18 Jig hook is best suited to slotted tungsten beads in the 2.5 – 3mm range and the shape of the hook ensures that the fly drifts with the point upwards to reduce snagging on the river bed and also ensure that most fish are hooked in the scissors and upper lip, which are usually the best hook holds to maximise the number of fish landed.
Initially I tied up a selection of nymphs including Mary copper heads, red tags and hares ear specials to put to the test on my local river, where a size 18 jig hook would be perfect. Results have been excellent and despite the fish being pressured and often taking very gently, I was delighted with the ratio of both trout and grayling of all sizes I landed.
Being a size smaller than I had used previously, they also produced more takes at times as the fish can shying away from larger jig patterns. The smaller size and finer wire of these hooks make them ideal as a point fly in shallower (or slower water) but also as a dropper when more weight is needed to maintain contact with the river bed.
Now that these jig hooks are available in a size 18, I hope this opens the door to even smaller sizes… this hook is essentially a size 16 so I hope that Fulling Mill will take my feedback on board and look into producing a size 20. That will be ideal for micro nymphs when targeting difficult fish on a French leader or duo set-up. They will also be perfect for 2mm slotted beads.
I would certainly recommend the new size 18 jig hooks to any river angler, they may not be best suited to very large and powerful fish but in the vast majority of river fishing situations, they can be used with total confidence for wild trout, grayling, and even coarse fish.