Mustad has announced some changes and a new line of hooks for 2009. Signature Fly Hooks will be available beginning January 1, 2009. The existing Signature Hook line will be expanded, while some previously available Signature Hooks will be discontinued. More on that in a moment.
So, what's the real deal you ask? Here it is: Mustad Signature patterns are classic hooks redesigned with precise proportions in shank length, wire diameter, gape and bend. The bottom line is that Mustad is going to be offering a new line of vastly improved hooks that have exact proportions. All hooks have the advanced, chemically sharpened Signature point with an easy piercing micro-barb. The saltwater hooks are redesigned in "Z- Steel" to be more corrosion resistant. Also, the new tempering process will make the hooks about 30% stronger than the classic hooks.
Mustad has converted classic model hooks to the improved Signature line. This will happen with dry fly hooks, nymph hooks and some streamers and salt water hooks. For example, the old salt water standbys, 34007 and 34011 will be done away with and merge into Signature as S71SZ-34007 and S74SZ-34011. Essentially the Classic hook identification number will be added to the end of the Signature line prefix. The prefix is a series of letters and numbers that describe wire diameter, shank length, bend, eye and finish. Promotional materials will be out to show the coding, so watch for that at fly shops and shows this winter.
What are they doing away with? Classic models 9575, 33900 and 94859. Current Signature hooks that will be discontinued are: C51S BLN, CK52 S, CK74S SS, R48, R52S and R72. Almost all of the old-model classic hooks will no longer be made and whatever is out there now is all that will be available. Stock up if you are a fan of these hooks. When they are gone they are gone.
I received the 2009 product catalogue and literature about these changes the other day. I have yet to see, tye with or fish these new hooks, but I image Mustad has greatly improved their tying hooks. I'll let you know when I have a chance to preview the Signature Series.