Elmer Jantz of Sterling Heights, Michigan, asks a question that frustrates many saltwater fly fishermen:

I've been using long-shank hooks, and while I'm able to get the point into the fish with good frequency, I lose many of the fish, often when they jump. Why?

Q. I've been using long-shank hooks, and while I'm able to get the point into the fish with good frequency, I lose many of the fish, often when they jump. Why?

The problem is most likely the use of long shank hooks. The longer the hook shank, usually the greater the loss of hooked fish. The problem is created because the fish can use the longer hook to get greater leverage and tear the hook free. Think about it this way. You are trying to remove an extra short shank hook from a fish. Then you have another hook of the same size, but with a longer shank. It will be so much easier with the long shank - since you can apply more leverage.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around this. If you really need a longer fly, don't dress the fly on a single hook. Instead, attach one standard-shank-length hook directly behind the other, with plastic-coated braided wire or monofilament. Then, build the fly of your chosen length. Since the wire or mono will flex, you will lose far fewer fish.

-Lefty