As my use of Daiichi fly tying hooks has increased over the last two or three years, I continue to be surprised the company hasn't made greater inroads with the market. Not to be confused with the less expensive and much lower quality, made in Korea, Dai-Riki brand hooks, Daiichi hooks are made in Japan and distributed by Angler Sport Group here in the States. While not universally accepted as ‘fact,' it is generally conceded, and I certainly feel, that Daiichi uses a better grade of steel and processing than most of the competition.
While not a huge fan of the straight-eye configuration in standard dry fly hooks, I recognize the advantage they present in certain circumstances. Like most flyfishers, I'll take any advantage I can get. To that end, when the fish are large, have room to run, tend to be ‘sippers,' but can be finicky as to their diet, the Daiichi 1110 has become my first choice when small dries are called for.
Why... What Is It?
The 1110 is Daiichi's direct answer to the Tiemco (TMC) 101, but with at least one, "big" advantage. As with the TMC, the 1110 is a wide-gape, standard dry fly hook made of 1X-Fine wire, with a "mini-barb" and a bronze finish. The fact that the TMC 101 is available in sizes 10 - 26 and the Daiichi 1110 is only available in sizes 12 - 26 makes no difference regarding my personal use; for, as I suggested, I tend to use this hook in the smaller sizes - i.e., size 18 on down.
The reasons are simple, as with the TMC 101, the wide-gape gives you about a ½ size advantage in materials clearance and hook bite; e.g., a size 18 is actually between a size 16 and a size 18 - a size "17" if you will. This can make a noticeable and very effective difference over a standard gape/gap hook. On top of this, the Model Perfect bend of the 1110 further enhances the extra bite of the wider gape and the chemically sharpened point.
Do not let the "1X-Fine" wire concern you. Even though this means that the 1110 is made from slightly lighter than standard wire, it is good quality steel and I have yet to have one of these straighten-out on a fish; including a number of landlocked, steelhead-strain trout over 5 lbs. (a couple on the north side of 8lbs.) in a private lake on size 18's and 20's. The owners thought I might appreciate their little pond and granted me access. They were right. I appreciated it, although I'm not sure the fish did...
Which brings us to the "big" advantage the Daiichi 1110 has over the TMC 101. Both hooks have a straight-eye configuration, meaning that the eye extends straight from the shank rather than turning down as with many conventional hook designs. This adds even more to the wider gape in terms of materials clearance and hook bite; not to mention providing, what many believe to be, a "better" angle on the hook set - i.e., the direction of pull. (I'm not sure how much I buy into the practical vs. the theoretical advantages; but, it certainly doesn't have any disadvantages.) Where the 1110 works better for me, especially in the smaller sizes, is that the eye is "oversized."
On their website, Angler Sport Group ascribes this design as follows: "This hook was designed by Jim Lepage and the Orvis Co. and patented as the "Big Eye" hook, in 1990." In other words, it is more robust and allows for the use of larger tippets. Being able to use 'upsized' fluorocarbon tippets (see review links below) rather than having to use the smaller (and weaker) tippet diameters that ‘normally fit' through the eye on a size 18 and smaller hook can mean the difference between hooking and playing larger/stronger fish or hooking, playing, and landing such fish. It's also allowed/prompted me to go back to slightly heavier tippets as my 'standard' on all the fishing I do with smaller flies; something which allows me to play any fish harder and land ‘em quicker - which is better for the fish.
What Can Be Tied On It?
Short answer... There's not enough room to list all the flies which can be tied on this hook.
Slightly longer answer... Any dry fly or nymph which is tied or can be tied on a standard dry fly hook such as the TMC 100 or the Mustad 94840 (see review links below) can be tied on this hook. Bear in mind, however, that it is common for even experienced tyers to occasionally crowd the hook eye a little too close when switching to straight-eye hooks. Make sure to leave yourself enough room to properly tie a head. While the ‘oversized' eye does provide an additional benefit in this context, it is still easy to ‘forget' if you consciously or unconsciously depend on that downturned eye as a bit of a ‘backstop' for your heads.
A short list... Alright, if you insist. A very short list of flies that would find a suitable home on this hook might include:
the Humpy, Comparadun/Sparkle Dun, Elk Hair Caddis, Bivisible, most parachute patterns (including the Gulper's Special), LaFontaine's Deep and Emegent Sparkle Pupa, and the Pheasant Tail Nymph (all of which, see links below)
Insofar as pricing, Daiichi hooks are pretty comparable to Tiemco. As a yardstick, Angler Sport Group lists current pricing for the 1110 as $5 and $16.50 for the 25- and 100-packs respectively in sizes 12 - 18. In sizes 20 - 26, the price for the 25-pack is $5.25 and the 100-pack is $18.50. Unlike Tiemco, Daiichi also offers these in a 1,000-pack (which is really ten, 100-packs in a single box). There is no MSRP for these (the website says "call for pricing"); but, based on personal experience, I can tell you that shopping around can pay dividends as the actual ‘street price' can be quite a range.
If I had to choose just one style/brand of standard dry fly hooks, would the Daiichi 1110 be "IT?"
If I had to choose just one style/brand of standard dry fly hooks for sizes 18 and smaller, would this be the one?
Well, I didn't have to choose. But, given what I'm currently using for most of my small dry flies, I'll be "straight" with you and admit that I just might be "taking advantage."
Other Fly Tying Hooks Reviewed
Daiichi 1120; Daiichi 1270; Daiichi 1710; Dai-Riki 135; Dai-Riki 270; Mustad 94840; Mustad 9671; Mustad 9672; TMC 100; TMC 200R; TMC 2457; TMC 3761; TMC 5262; TMC 5263
Reviews of Fly Patterns Cited Above
A.K.'s Parachute Quill Dry Fly; Bivisible; Comparadun; Elk Hair Caddis; Gulper's Special; The Humpy Dry Fly; LaFontaine's Emergent Sparkle Pupa and Deep Sparkle Pupa; Parachute Adams; Parachute Dry Flies; Pheasant Tail Nymph; Schroeder's Parachute Hare's Ear Dry Fly
Other Reviews Cited Above
Rio Fluoroflex Plus Tippet; Umpqua SuperFluoro Tippet
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