The new Bob Popovics-designed Beast Fleye hooks from Ahrex just dropped. Andre van Wyk from Bucktail Flies (bucktailflies.com) weighs in on why fans of big flies will want to try these. Photos: Matt Kennedy.

Over the last five years, I’ve spent the better part of my time at the vice tying with bucktail, playing with styles and approaches like the Beast, hollow fleye and bulkheads, and learning from the best out there, especially the OG Bob Popovics. So, when word got out that Danish hook gurus Ahrex were working with Bob on hooks specifically designed for tying Beasts, I was understandably stoked.

Why the hype?

Aside from the facts that they are A) beautifully engineered, and B) Mo and the cats from Ahrex worked with Bob and his 30-40 years of tying and fishing to produce them, the big draw with these big hooks is that there hasn’t really been anything like this on the market before. Everything that was this sort of size, shape and length was always a light wire hook, not really capable of standing up to big nasty fish. While I have not yet fished these hooks, they are a dream to tie with and I am super-excited to put them to the test on the water. With Bob’s input and everything he has put into Beasts over the years, they should be an absolute winner.


The options

There are two versions of the Beast Flye: the regular (SA290) and the long (SA292), giving you two different ways to approach tying these flies. They come in three different sizes: 4/0 (hook lengths of 47.10mm in the SA290 and 54.10mm in the SA292), 6/0 (53.60mm in the SA290 and 61.60mm in the SA292), and 8/0 (60.00mm in the SA290 and 69.00mm in the SA292). When you compare Ahrex’s sizing to most other hooks, you could see these more along the lines of 5/0, 8/0 and 10/0.

Real estate

Something you notice is that even on the “short” version, the SA290, there is an extended shank. It’s not something you see often on hooks the size and strength of an 8/0. This gives you more real estate to fit in all of those hollow ties. Or, if you’re stacking bucktail or tying in hackles, you have a lot more shank to play with. This enables you to create a larger pattern. That’s ultimately what makes these Beast hooks as opposed to normal hooks. The Beast fly is a big pattern and if you can fit more ties in or space your ties out to create these big profiles, that’s a win.

Drop it like it’s hot

The Beast hooks have a drop bend and drop point which is great because it prevents fouling on the cast. Being straight all the way to the back of the shank means that you can start tying off the back with hackles; plus if you are tying Beasts, your mono extension pushes right the way back beyond the bend of the hook. While it won’t prevent fouling of hackles or synthetic fibres at the back entirely, it is going to minimise it.


The eye has it

To match the overall size and attitude of these hooks, they put a nice big eye on it. That way you can fish heavy shock tippets, fluoro and mono, which is a major advantage.


Most of us fish barbless these days and while the hooks do come barbed, it’s a small micro-barb that is pretty easy to squash.

Not tied down

While designed for Beasts, this hook is going to be an absolute winner for any kind of large pattern where you’re looking for a big, solid, strong hook with more real estate to be able to tie in multiple points. With really big patterns, these hooks allow you to push the hook point that little bit further back. When you’re fishing for short striking fish, that makes a difference because it pushes the bite point further back giving you more chance of it grabbing on the point.

Similarly, if you are fishing for toothy critters, like elf/bluefish, a lot of the patterns are tied far back leaving the front of the hook bare. With a hook that has this much space, instead of tying a wire leader you could just tie your fly towards the back giving yourself a half-inch of hook up front which works as a pretty solid bite trace.


Ahrex’s corrosion-resistant coating is in my experience far superior to anything else on the market. I have been tying on their hooks almost exclusively for the last two or three years ever since the SA270 Bluewater and the SA280 Minnow hooks came out.

Available from ahrexhooks.com.

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