The Hook-Point Magnifier was designed and is sold as an anglers pocket magnifier. I regularly use a couple of small loupes, one designed for checking print, the other for photographs. Both are useful for scrutinising if you want to see the details on flies or check the points or eyes of hooks. The thing is, flies are not flat surfaces, insects are not flat surfaces, so while those magnifiers are OK they are far from ideal; probably best used at a table or tying bench.
So, an anglers magnifier? Lets have a decent lens, and below the lens put a hook clamp with some means of turning the fly. For bugs, Id like a shallow dish where I can have a nymph wriggling around in a drop of water, it would be great if I could move the dish or fly up and down and so I can move focus. In a nutshell thats what I get from a Hook-Point and more.
The Hook-Point is built around a crisp x6 lens excellent image quality. Below the lens, a focussing stage is fitted with a hook-clamp and a shallow dish. The stage has a wee rack and pinion arrangement which lets the arm move so I can bring a hook held in the clamp or the contents of the dish into focus.
So, I have my fly clamped and in focus, as with all magnifiers the next problem is light which is solved by fitting a bright LED to the lens housing. The angle of illumination and the hard un-diffused light from the LED enhances the sense of crispness and focus. The only time Ive seen flies or bugs like this was through a macro lens or in close-up photographs. The simple clamp positions the fly so it turns roughly with the shank or the point of the hook on the axis of rotation and the depth of focus is adequate for viewing tighter, narrower flies without adjusting focus. For more three-dimension flies, a hackled dry for example, I can adjust focus through the fly but cant see the whole fly in focus at the same time, thats in the nature of viewing close-up through any lens where the depth of field is relative to the distance between the lens and subject.
The Hook-Point accepts any hook but the angle of view is relatively narrow so much of a large hook or a long fly cant be seen, so this is best with smaller flies. Id like to be able to slide the clamp to and fro under the lens for flies bigger than about a #10 but I can just drop those bigger flies into the dish and focus on that. Given that the Hook-Point plays on the link between artificial fly and natural insect and this is designed for use at the water the range of sizes this can handle is fine. However the hook clamp is not subtle, tails on smaller flies are pushed out of place. (Has me wondering some sort of adapter could be fitted so I could use the far more delicate and precise jaws of the small circuit-testing clips I use for displaying flies.)
Other uses and features? Im looking at the point of my hook in exacting detail, how about a tool that lets me sharpen a dull point? I can see the hook-eye sooo very clearly, how about a pin to clear the eye? Look inside the lens cover and you get answers to both questions a wee V-shaped tool, a ceramic hook-hone and a needle (photo, left). For looking at flies while they are still on my leader the designer has fitted a couple of line clips on the dish. The instruction leaflet explains how knots can be tied using the rotary hook clamp fiddly, but it can be done and Ill bet Ive never been so careful about tying a knot.
This is well made from high quality plastics, UK sourced and assembled. Everything moves smoothly, and seems sturdy. Good choice of material because this may well get wet or muddy remove the LED unit and wash in clean water.
Clearly the Hook-Point was designed as a robust tool for at the water-side. However, put this on a fly-tying bench and it takes on another role and, frankly, has the potential to take a fly tyer up a level simply because they have such a clear view of their handiwork; every wrap of thread, every turn of hackle or rib! Ive used a Hook-Point when judging competition flies and the view is ruthless.
This is a super little tool which, I hope, will find a home on fly-tying benches and in many anglers waistcoats.
Hookpoint brings a whole new dimension to fly fishing.
It allows the user to see (at x6 natural size), and act on important details whose existence was previously not known about - because they couldn't be seen with the naked eye
The hook point
The point of the hook is obviously vital in securing attachment of the angler to the fish. If it is not at the correct angle, bent-over, or blunt, it will not penetrate the mouth of the fish, especially if it is a bony mouth, such as that of the trout. As a result, it won't gain anchor, and the taking fish will slip the hook. do you get so many takes that this doesn't bother you ?
Hookpoint's rotatable clamp has been designed carefully to maximise the grip, but also the access to the point. This enables the point of the hook to be viewed through nearly 360°.
Simply insert the hook into the clamp by pushing the sprung-loaded clamp knob and releasing, to ease the hook into the double-vee block of the clamp mouth.
When honing the point with the dedicated, grooved ceramic honing rod, it is possible to produce a needle point, rather than a chisel point. This aids penetration and therefore purchase. This process is best done with the hook point at the axis of rotation of the clamp.
The hook eye
It is a good idea to inspect closely both the point and eye of the hook before dressing a fly. It is not unusual to find that the eye has either not been closed properly, or cut badly. Both of these faults could save your knot slipping out of the eye, or the line being cut or weakened.
By viewing the eye of the hook through hookpoint's crystal-clear, 6-times magnification lens, it will be obvious if the eye is blocked with varnish. And it will be a cinch to pick it clear, using the dedicated pin tool, stored under hookpoint's lid. This will save the frustration of failing to thread the line through a blocked eye, and valuable fishing time
Inspection of the hook eye is best carried out with the shank of the hook at the axis of rotation of the clamp. This will allow the problem-free clipping-off of flies, without trimming the fly dressing
thread the hook and tie a half-blood knot
insert hook with shank at rotation axis, thread line rotate required number of turns, usually 4 tuck the tag through the first loop, lubricate, and draw-up. Remove the hook before drawing tight
Obviously, this can all be done easily whilst viewing through the X6 lens, and with the bright LED on if needed. Like any task performed whilst viewing through a magnifying lens, it usually takes a little practice. It can help to judge distances when threading the line through the eye of the hook or a loop, to ensure that your hands are touching, even 2 finger tips.
check and pick knots
the detachable base cup is equipped with soft plastic clips to hold the line across the top, in focus. This allows close inspection of accidentally-occurring knots, such as 'wind knots' or those, such as droppers, that you will rely on when you hook-up. Simple over-hand knots can reduce the strength of monofil by 50%, so better to spend a little time removing these, by picking or replacing, than regret losing the fish of a lifetime
inspect spoon-, or kick-samples
The base cup can be used to hold samples from the stomach of captured fish to discover what they have been feeding on. In addition, 'kick samples' are collected from the bed of a river by positioning a fine-meshed net against the river bed whilst standing upstream and scuffing the river bed. This dislodges the animal life that live amongst the plants, stones and gravel. By learning about and identifying the invertebrate fish food that lives there, suitable flies can be selected to imitate them. This river life has become an important 'barometer' of the health status of a river. Anglers who look out for these aquatic invertebrates can be an 'early-warning system' in detecting pollutions and therefore protecting the angling environment.
Height when closed, 65mm / 2.6"
Maximum Length, 85mm / 3.3"
Maximum Width (base cup), 42mm / 1.7"
Maximum Width (without base cup) 40mm / 1.6"
Weight, 49g / 1.75 oz
Weight without base cup, 42g / 1.48 oz
the base cup would be detached for most situations
The key component
This gives 6 times magnification and is made of optical glass. The brief to the optical engineer was to give good depth of field, and minimal distortion at the edge of the field (this is 30mm diameter, when viewing the base cup). The aspherical design hits the spot, with beautifully-bright images.
These Images of flies were taken through the eyepiece of Hookpoint:
Olive Type Underthorax Dun
Pheasant Tail Nymph,
Focusing of objects in the clamp or base cup is achieved by rotating the focusing wheels, which raises or lowers the clamp post.
The clamp has a unique 'hook and bird's mouth' design. The 'business end' of the clamp comprises 2 parts: the double vee block, into which the bend of the hook fits, and the stainless steel wire hook which pulls the bend into the vee blocks. Hooks are gripped by the clamp by pushing-in the clamp knob, which is sprung-loaded. The hook is engaged, the knob released, whilst steering the hook into the vee blocks. It is well known that hook sizes differ amongst manufacturers, but the clamp can usually engage hook sizes 8 - 18.
The clamp rotates when the clamp knob is rotated. It can be seen that the hook can be gripped with either the point or the shank at the centre of rotation (see benefits). This enables the point or shank of the hook to be kept in focus more easily, as it is rotated for all-round inspection.
The clamp is easily removed by pushing it through the hole in the clamp post. This allows the unobstructed viewing of the base cup.
The Base Cup
The base cup is easily detached or attached by a simple ¼-turn twist
It performs several functions, including:
- as a stand for hookpoint
- a receptacle for loose items or small invertebrate animals
- it is easy to put objects in the base by twisting it to one side, or detaching it completely
hydrosyche - on its back ! the feathery gills are clearly visible.
This photograph was taken through hookpoint
Large Dark Olive nymph
Large Dark Olive nymph, photo taken through hookpoint.
Note the olive translucency is revealed due to hookpoint's bright LED
This beast, a mayfly nymph, was photographed in April, an ugly duckling poised to push through final development and emerge a beautiful swan. Its large eyes are clearly
for use in low-light conditions. This was one netted from amongst dense willow roots
The unique, annular measuring grid can be used to assess the length of objects, however, they are aligned. Simply draw, or imagine, a line parallel
to the length through the centre of the grid. Then draw lines from each end, and read-off the distance. In this case, the body length is about 6mm, and the total length nearly 9mm
- a support for knotted line or rigs
- line can be stretched across the diameter of the base and engaged in the groove.
- It can then be retained under the soft plastic line clips on the sides of the base a platform for flat objects
- flat objects or cards can be rested on the top of the base for viewing
The Lens Cap
This protects the top of the lens and stores the honing and picking tool. It is hinged and snaps shut when hookpoint is not being used.
The Attachment Loop
This is available for the convenient attachment of hookpoint to a zinger
Hookpoint can then be slipped into a pocket ready for use when required
The LED Light Unit
This comprises a super-bright, white LED, powered by 2 coin cell batteries, controlled by a micro slide switch. The whole mechanism is contained in a plastic casing, which can be removed for battery change (life expectancy of more than 10 hours) or servicing.
The Honing / Picking Tool
Hookpoint comes complete with a dual-function, easy-grip honing/picking tool conveniently stowed under the lens cap. It includes a slim, dedicated ceramic honing rod. This rod has been designed with a segmental groove so that it is easy to engage with the point of the hook. By drawing over the point, it is possible to create needle-sharpness.
The brass picking pin is handy for clearing the varnish from hook eyes, or picking 'wind' knots from fly line and droppers. These knots are often usually simple over-hand knots, and easily opened-up with the pin. Providing the line has not been damaged, this can save a lot of fishing time from re-constructiing dropper rigs, for example.