In the world of fly-fishing and fly-tying, there are literally millions of products available, but only a few quality hooks that are really designed for one thing, and one thing only; tying Big Flies. The Partridge of Redditch Universal Predator X 8/0 is such a hook. Specifically designed for Predator fishing, this wide gape, micro-barbed, heavyweight and Xtra-Strong predator hook is perfectly suitable for all freshwater, estuary and saltwater applications. In fact, it’s the Ultimate Big Fly hook!

When it comes to fly-fishing in general, there are always two things that go hand in hand. The size of the fly, and the weight of the line. These two combined to determine what kind of rod you’ll need to go fishing. Heavy flies require heavy lines, and no wonder, because it’s the perfect solution for Big fish! Keeping that in mind, it always surprises me how people would tie large flies on small hooks. In terms of matching your material to catch the desired Pike or Muskie, when it comes to fly-tying, it’s suddenly a whole different story, and many downsize for no particular reason. Be it the welfare of the fish, personal preference or something else, I’ve met a lot of people over the years that were using hooks too small for the flies and fish desired. But why?

”The CS86X 8/0 up close. As you can see, plenty of room to play around”

Sure you can tie on a smaller hook, but let’s be real, it’s all about keeping your key elements right. Pictured down below, is a fly of around 6 inches in length. This is an averagely sized fly and all materials are tied in very basic, but it does the job. Up front, is a Fish Skull Fish Mask in the second largest size available. Behind its head, widely tied in bucktail to give this fly a nice and big profile in the water. You can choose to use a 6/0 hook, or perhaps even smaller, yet I like to tie on a bigger one. The reason for that is simple. When fly-tying, like I said, you always need to bear in mind, that you keep your basic elements right. What you see pictured down below, is a perfect example of that. Everything is balanced here. The hook point comes out in 1/3 of the fly. Because a bigger hook is used, the hook point comes free out of the fly, and as you can see, there is plenty of room for a hook-up. Also, the position from the hook point opposite to the head of the fly is great. Always remember that when you able to freely stick a finger in the hook gauge to the side, a fish is able to hook itself in the best way possible. It’s kinda like fishing with artificial baits that carry trebles on them. Always make sure the hook points stick outside the bait. For fly-fishing, I’d like to keep that same exact principle in mind. And to be honest, it has never let me down!

Over the years my fly-fishing has evolved massively. Back in the days, smaller flies were used to catch Pike, and it still amazes me what sizes I would be fishing back then. Compared to the modern flies we use these days, those flies meant nothing. Sure they caught fish, but that’s not what we go for to the water. As mentioned in previous articles, I fish for The biggest fish that roam freshwaters, and for that, I need large baits. In this case, large flies. Ever since day one the Universal Predator X came out, I’m literally hooked. This hook has got it all.

Plenty of room on the shank to tie a large fly, a wide hook gauge, razor-sharp hook point, and made of very strong but lightweight material. The only thing I’d like to see in the future is an additional offset hook bend. These typical ”claw” hooks tend to hook a little bit quicker, but apart from that, this hook is perfect for all my styles of fly-fishing. As you can see from the cover picture, I also use this hook in my larger style 10” Buford Kicktails. A very big and bulky fly, but the way it has been designed with the CS86X 8/0 upfront, makes it a killer combination. Again, this fly was specifically designed with all the key elements inside. Over the years, I’ve done quite a bit of research about what position the hook should be at. Rear, middle or front, what sizes worked best, but all in all I kept ending up with the 8/0. It proved to be the ultimate Big Fly hook for all my larger Muskie & Pike flies, and always delivered. I always tend to go to using one single hook on my flies, and they’re always up front. Many fish grab headfirst, and that’s exactly where you want this big hook to be.

”The CS86X 8/0 fully dressed. 10” Buford Kicktail. The hook, perfectly positioned”

All in all, always make sure you keep your basics right and work from there. Are you targeting bigger fish, then use a bigger hook. Simple as it is. It might look large, but let’s not forget that some of the fish we are after do have enormous mouth’s that can fit in some very large prey. Why use something small, if you can get a better hook set with a bigger hook? In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, but if you are reading this and haven’t tried it out, please do so, I’m sure it wont disappoint!