Pros: Micro-barb; Fairly readily available; Chemically sharpened point
Cons: Getting kinda pricey
While the Tiemco 5263 defines the word "compromise" in terms of proportionality, it has had any number of fly patterns developed, specifically, around those proportions. It is just long enough to work well for streamers and larger bodied 'bugs;' but just short enough as to not suffer from some of the leverage/rigidity issues of so-called 'streamer' hooks. In short, it is probably one of the more utilitarian, "long-shank" hooks available.
I was one of those who relied heavily on Mustad hooks; which, at the time, were considered the 'standard' in fly tying hooks. Then I became somewhat... alright ... 'obsessed' with a particular piece of catch and release water. The trout were educated; holding Ph.D.'s along with full professorships in angler aggravation. While I did meet with a modicum of success, I was having trouble getting the hook set properly on what, at the time (I thought), should have been classic dry fly takes.
Setting the hook faster, slower, more aggressively, not 'setting' (hoping the fish would hook itself), holding my mouth in a variety of different ways, as well as the invocation of various descriptors related to the personalities and parentage of the fish themselves - nothing was working. Then one day I was whining about my troubles at a certain fly shop and the guy told me to try using Tiemco hooks. Well, when I saw the price, I declined. Long story short... It only took a couple/ten dozen more such missed opportunities for me to justify biting the bullet and experimenting. That was closing in on two decades ago and I've never really looked back. Why? I tied a few flies on that first pack of Tiemcos and my hook-up rate tripled.
Tiemco (abbreviated as TMC) is the brand name for specialty fly tying hooks and, now, tools. Made in Japan, Tiemco hooks have chemically sharpened points, come in a variety of styles, and have some of the best steel used in fly tying hooks. (I've been given to understand that Daiichi uses the 'best' steel vis a vis competitors; but, they do not have the variety or same models of hooks as Tiemco. And, Tiemco's steel is very close in terms of quality.) Umpqua Feather Merchants is the exclusive distributor in North America.
The closest equivalents to the TMC 5263 are the older Mustad 9672 and the Daiichi 1720. While it is considerably less expensive and quite suitable for many trout applications (not to mention an afternoon of fishing for small bass four or five months ago...), the problems with the Mustad 9672 are:
It is not chemically sharpened. It is a larger diameter shank/point. The barb does not smash down as readily or neatly as with that of the Daiichi or the "micro-barb" on the Tiemco.
What's 'wrong' with the Daiichi 1720? Nothing in particular, except that it is made of standard-sized wire; whereas the TMC is 2X heavy. (More on that in a moment.) While this means that the 5263 falls between the Daiichi and the Mustad in terms of shank diameter, it also has most of the advantages of both with virtually none of the disadvantages (except the price) of either.
As noted, 'TMC' is the abbreviation used by Tiemco as part of their hook model designation. Note this carefully. A couple of companies/retailers/manufacturers are currently using the Tiemco numeric identification portion of their model designations as identifiers for their own versions of a particular hook style; e.g., TAR 5263 and TFS 5263 to identify their TMC 5263 equivalent. It is easy to misread - isn't it?
A few catalogs, including Cabela's, over-simplify their description of the TMC 5263 by stating: "3X-long version of the 5262. Good all-around streamer hook." The trouble is that this doesn't say a whole lot; especially if you're not familiar with the TMC 5262. (see The TMC 5262: I've Come To My Own Conclusion) So, let's look at the particulars...
The terms 'bronze' and 'forged' are fairly self-explanatory (bronze finish and forged steel), as is the 'down eye.' But, what's with all the '2X' and '3X' designators? Well, since you asked...
In simplistic terms, there are 'light,' 'standard,' and 'heavy' wire hooks. 'Standard' is just that - the average standard or benchmark. Wire that is 'lighter' or 'heavier' in terms of weight/diameter of the shank is designated by a numbered "X" either side of this standard. (Some companies substitute the term 'strong' for heavy, fine, light, etc. Though they are presumed to be roughly equivalent, there is meaning to the differences in 'strong' vs. 'heavy,' but that's a different discussion for a different product.) The 5263 is labeled as "2X Heavy;" meaning it is a larger/heavier wire than standard.
The significance here is that the heavier wire sinks faster than a standard wire hook, even without extra weight; an important factor when tying larger nymphs. The heavier wire also reduces the 'flex' due to the longer length of the hook shank; 'flex' being something you don't necessarily want in streamers. Finally, the heavier wire, in theory, is stronger. While 'heavier' isn't always stronger, it is a consideration in that the 5263 is used primarily in creating larger representations of "food," meaning that a robustness in the hook shank not only means less material needing to be added to create the perception of size, but may provide a higher level of confidence due to the fact that these larger morsels can draw strikes from the larger fish.
The TMC 5263 is noted as "3X Long." This means that the shank of the hook (that portion between the eye and the bend), is three hook eye-lengths longer than standard. With the down-eye configuration, this 'long shank' makes the hook suitable for streamers (by and large, true "streamer" flies are artistic, impressionistic, and oh-so-colorful imitations of minnows). Many streamer patterns call for hooks which are anywhere from 4X - 6X long. One issue with these longer shanks is that, even if they are made extremely stiff or heavy, the angle of pull exerted by the leader/tippet on the eye while setting the hook and playing the fish is too far away from the top of the hook bend (the point of greatest stress or the 'lever' point). In a nutshell, while the hook shanks longer than 3X may allow for a more realistic "impression" of the food source, they can also negatively impact the hook's effectiveness.
When tying nymphs, the extra length also allows for the addition of a "bead head" without having to 'shorten' the normal profile of the nymph without the bead. This is not to say that you must use a longer hook shank when tying with a bead. It's just a nice option when it comes to keeping the proper proportions or your sense of aesthetics.
Being heavier, longer, and 'stronger,' this hook is also useful for larger dry flies or for tying dry flies that you intend presenting to larger fish with attitudes. (In particular, I'm thinking of such "bugs" as adult stoneflies and grasshoppers.) The 'down-eye' configuration means that the hook eye extends downward from the hook shank. This is also an advantage of the longer hook shank; more room for the hook point. Finally, without launching into a long-winded description of the differences, the "Perfect Bend" designates the style of curvature for the hook bend.
A Short List
Let's just say that a comprehensive list of fly patterns which utilize the TMC 5263 (or equivalent) as the preferred hook style would be not only beyond the scope of an Epinions' review, it would be beyond most books. If you were to include the patterns where the 5263 could be effectively substituted for the original hook style listed to create a different 'look' or simulate a different type of 'food source' utilizing the same materials, well... We could be here awhile.
Let's just say a short list of patterns might look something like:
Woolly Buggers (myriad styles/colors), Whitlock's Bead-Head/Rubber-Legged Red Fox Squirrel Nymph, Anderson's Rubber Legs Brown Stone Nymph, Casual Dress, Muskrat Nymph, Prince Nymph, Various Damselfly and Dragonfly Nymphs, Dave's Hopper, Whit Hopper, Various Stonefly Dries, Matuka Streamers, Shad imitations, Muddler Minnows...
A Few Particulars
The biggest drawback to the TMC 5263 is the price. A 25-pack generally runs between $5.45 - $5.85. A 100-pack will set you back about $16.50; with the larger sizes (2 - 6)going for as much as $18.50 - $20.00 depending on your source. (At the time of this writing, Cabela's seems to be the best pricing I can find. They list the 25-packs for $5.45. But, if you purchase 2 or more packs of the same size, you get 90 cents a pack off. That means you can purchase the equivalent of a 100-pack for $18.20. While that may be a reasonable price for the 25-packs and a marginal price for many of the 100-packs, it is a good price for the size 4 & 6 they list as having.)
By way of comparison, the Mustad 9672 can still be purchased in a 50-pack for between $6.95 - $7.95 and in a 100-pack for about $10.50. The 25-pack of Daiichi 1720, size 12's I have sitting here cost me $5.80. I haven't seen the 100-packs of the Daiichi, so I don't know what they cost. However, given that the 25-packs cost, for all intents and purposes, the same as the Tiemco, I suspect similar pricing for the Daiichi 100-packs.
The available sizes for the TMC 5263 have varied. The largest I have sitting here is a size 2 and the smallest (sitting about six inches to the left of the keyboard) is a size 18. In their 2006 Wholesale Product Catalog, Umpqua Feather Merchants lists the hook as being available in sizes 2 - 14. This is also the size range listed in The Fly Shop's 2007 Catalog (see Good staff; good product variety; easy to navigate website). I suspect that the sizes available to the consumer will greatly depend on the dealer - note that Cabela's only lists sizes 4 - 12.
Given the advantages, I can't see myself switching back to the Mustad 9672 as my primary source for this style of hook. (In smaller sizes, the Mustad still serves well for Panfish & Bass.) Given the negligible to non-existent price difference between the TMC 5263 and the Daiichi 1720, not to mention the 'heavier' shank, I don't see myself pursuing the Daiichi as a functional alternative; except, perhaps, in the sizes 12 & 14 for tying hoppers to be used for small trout on small streams (the smaller diameter wire being a bit easier on these smaller fish).
I just wish the TMC 5263's weren't becoming so pricey...