The Bassholes - It takes one to know one.

Dressed Hook In 5 Minutes Or Less
on Sunday 13 April 2008
by Jim Campbell (Ouachita)

Jim Campbell teaches us how to properly dress a hook.

Dressed Hook In 5 Minutes Or Less

Do you like paying $2 for a dressed hook? I won’t. It doesn’t take an expert fly tier to make one in just a few minutes, without thread, glue, or special tying tools. A fly tying vise is mighty handy though. I like tying jigs and dressing hooks using the conventional methods and materials so bought a fly kit.

I picked out some basic materials for this project, a dyed squirrel tail, a box cutter, some heat shrinkable tubing, a lighter (heat source) or alcohol lamp, and a hook (that needs sharpening!). Heat shrinkable tubing can be bought by the piece or in kits including a heat gun. The tubes come in a large assortment of sizes and colors. I was out of red, my favorite color for a jig collar, using black for this article. Here’s a good link showing off some of the possibilities.

Clamp the hook in the vise, or simply hold it when ready for it. I can’t over emphasize the handiness of that vise. A pair of locking needle-nose pliers will do fine.

Scalp the tail cutting from butt end toward tail tip, taking a patch of hair with enough hide, not too much. You’ll figure out what is “too much”. That keeps the hairs together. I take 2-3 pieces depending on size of hook. Bucktail, maribou, tensil, rubber strips or any other dressing material will work at this point.

Clip a short piece of heat shrinkable tubing off the stick. Place both cut sides of the scalped hair together to form a round base, then insert into the tubing. The tube diameter should be just large enough for a barely loose fit of the scalps.

Divide the two or three tufts of hair and spread over the hook shank while orienting the tufts to part through each hook section. I usually prefer two, using three on much larger trebles. I pinch the other end of the tube to keep the scalps inside while pushing the tube on the shank.

Put a drop of water on the base of the hairs then heat the tubing until it shrinks firmly around the hook shank. A soldering gun will shrink the tubing. If you plan to do lots of these consider getting a small commercial electronics blow dryer to get away from using open flames. While the tubing is hot and still soft you can slide it into a better position if desired. Once hardened in a few seconds it will not move, but can be cut off the hook.

Groom the hair for a good spread around the hook points, then trim shorter if desired.

Attach to an otherwise plain looking lure I figure most of us are very familiar with. .

I dress a hook like that in about 2-3 minutes maximum time, and I figure the cost is about 5 cents each, at most. Spread your imagination out and you are likely to come up with things no bass has seen before.

You read it first here at

Jim Campbell (Ouachita)