The Daiichi Hook #1870

Flies With a Story


Flies With a Story #65


Daiichi Hook #1870 and Five Fly Samples

 Photo by Peter Frailey


1870 Was a Very Good Year (For Fishhooks)


The Flytier: Dennis Collier of Longmont, CO

Dennis fell in love with fly fishing as a young boy, while sitting on a stream bank watching his father fly fish. His introduction to fly tying also came at an early age, when Santa delivered the well-remembered "Basic Fly Tying Kit" one Christmas.  That was over 40 years ago.  Today, Dennis guides and instructs in Colorado and enjoys sharing his many innovative fly patterns.

Be sure to see Dennis's other story:
SnoBalls in Summer

When Peter Frailey, owner of this Web site, sent me a sample of his streamer called the Woodchuck Special, I was immediately impressed with the beauty of the fly and possibilities for further design tinkering.  After all, as a fly tier I’m also a firm believer “if it ain’t broke, fix it”. 

It was also around this time that I was introduced to the new Daiichi #1870 Swimming Larvae hook.  I was enamored with the graceful profile of this hook, but soon felt it had far greater potential than merely being attached to a San Juan Worm as suggested by it’s namesake.  

My first endeavor utilizing the #1870 was on an Angora goat leech pattern, which has proven very successful on many Colorado/Wyoming lakes.   When tied with a small lead wire counterweight at the hook bend, the #1870 rides point-up and provides a very realistic “undulating” action during the strip retrieve.

That was the beginning and end of my “mad scientist” creations with the #1870 until I made a commitment to join a group of friends headed to southwestern Alberta in 2005.  One object of our pursuit will be the numerous cutthroat trout, which inhabit the regional streams and rivers.  As I pondered what these cutthroat might like to chew on, Peter’s Woodchuck Special (if you get a chance, read Rob Knisely's excellent story about this fly) came to mind as a potentially good “attractor pattern” and I recalled that Peter had also sent me a patch of New England woodchuck fur. With that, it was back to the drawing board - or tying vise in this case.  As a result, in the photographs here, you'll see a couple of my samples sporting woodchuck wings.

Having dabbled in tying classic salmon flies in the past, it struck me that the #1870 had a vague similarity to some salmon iron designs I’d seen.   Visually drawing a vertical line between the hook point and end of the level hook shank, it became evident the hook offered an interesting drop bend, short shank and turned up eye - which I personally found quite attractive.  Since then, I’ve adapted the hook to such patterns as the Needle Hopper, Stimulators, my signature Wet-Wire series, the Matuka and others.   And, that’s just the beginning, as many pattern ideas are swimming around in my head just waiting to be tied.

If you’re a fan of the “dry-dropper” approach to fishing - in which the dropper tippet is attached to the bend of the dry fly - the unique design of this hook is custom-made for such applications. The heavier wire of the #1870 also offers additional strength for those occasions when you snag “Ol Walter” on the dropper fly – a situation that can seriously strain the bend on lighter wire hooks.  

Many times, we fly tying/fly fishing types become stuck in deep ruts.  Resorting to what’s been done before, time and time again, pulling the same flies out of our boxes, trip after trip.  Sound familiar?     I’d encourage you to think outside the box and explore the creative possibilities this wonderful hook design has to offer.  Swimming larvae might make good fish food but they can be tied on hooks with far less intrinsic beauty.  As for me, I see giant #1870 Pteronarcies Californica dry flies dancing across the riffles of the Madison River, and big browns rising to the occasion.  1870 is a very good year for fishhooks!

 --Dennis Collier


#1870 Woodchuck Streamer

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook: Daiichi 1870, size 8
Thread: Yellow Wapsi UTC 70
Tail: Orange schlapen
Body: Silver flat Mylar tinsel
Rib: Silver Wapsi UTC wire, fine
Beard: Orange schlapen
Overwing: Woodchuck underfur and guardhair mixed


#1870 Needle Hopper

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook:  Daiichi 1870, size 10
Thread: Yellow Danville 3/0 monocord
Extended Abdomen: Yellow 3mm open-cell foam
Wing: Mottled brown Web Wing
Head: Dyed yellow deer hair tied bullet style.
Legs: Yellow centipede legs
Indicator: Florescent white deer belly hair.

Comments: The first  three segments of the abdomen are tied on a needle, removed and attached to the hook just above the point.


#1870 Rubber-legged Stimulator

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook: Diiachi 1870, size 10
Thread: Dark brown Uni-thread 8/0
Blond elk hair
Hackle #1: Furnace brown, palmered over abdomen
Abdomen: Peacock Ice Dub
Rib: Gold Wapsi UTC wire (fine)
Wing: Blond elk hair
Legs: Cream round rubber
Thorax: Orange Ice Dub
Hackle #2: Grizzly dyed yellow, palmered over thorax


#1870 Wet-Wire Softhackle

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook:  Daiichi 1870, size 12
Thread: Dark brown Uni-thread 8/0
Tail: Hackle fibers
Abdomen: Wapsi UTC copper wire, size BR
Thorax: Grey rabbit
Collar: Natural Whiting Brahama soft hackle

Comments: This pattern lends itself to a wide variety of color combinations applicable to matching the naturals, or as an attractor


#1870 Woodchuck Wet

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Hook: Daiichi 1870, size 14
Thread: Dark brown Uni-thread 8/0
Tail: Red schlapen
Body: Gold flat Mylar tinsel
Rib: Gold Wapsi UTC wire, fine
Throat: Red schlapen
Wing: Woodchuck with underfur and guardhairs mixed

Comments: Fox squirrel body can be substituted for the wing on smaller flies.


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