Hooked in 2012
Fly fishers and tyers know the important role hooks
play in their craft. We want hook models and sizes to be suited to the fish we pursue, of fine quality, and to be readily
available at reasonable prices. Our hooks should stay hard and sharp, have well-formed tapered eyes and resist bending under
Popular hook manufacturers O. Mustad & Sons and Partridge of Redditch have produced fine hooks decades.
Let’s see what’s been happening recently with these hook makers.
Partridge of Redditch
Partridge of Redditch has been an innovator and technology leader in the manufacture of hooks since its beginnings
in the late 1800’s, in those days the company manufactured for the top names in the business like Farlows, Hardy Bros.,
Ogden and more recently Veniard.
As the name implies, Partridge of Redditch was
based in Mount Pleasant, Redditch, in central England. Both the town and the district have been renowned for its specialized
metal work throughout many generations, needle making and hook making in particular. It is not easy to establish when this
started, but according to one likely theory it started with the existence of a large monastery at Redditch. The monks were
reputed to have been skilled artisans, and when Henry VIII dissolved the brotherhood the monks were taken in by leading Catholic
families in the area, who obviously put their skills to use. From there processing of steel and specialized metal work were
developed and refined.
In the early days needle making and hook making
went hand in hand; the techniques developed for making needles could be applied in making hooks as well. Steel wire was drawn
in Birmingham and then sent out to needle and hook producers in adjacent towns such as Studley, Alcester, Henley-in Arden
and Redditch. In the middle of the nineteenth century Redditch seemed to establish itself as the main hook-producing centre.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the transition from pure handwork to industrial production made Redditch famous
for excellent fish hooks throughout the world. In this period they actually dominated the world market.
The early history of Partridge is somewhat obscure. We know that it was started on the basis of existing
hook manufacturing shortly after the turn of this century, but no one knows the exact year any longer. What we do know, however,
is that it has been the only British sport hook manufacturer who has been able to survive and create a name for itself in
the twentieth century. Partridge of Redditch bears its name from the founder Albert Partridge. He left the firm to his son
Ted, who sold it to Alan Bramley in 1970 when none of his children were interested in taking over the company.
Alan Bramley further developed the company, and in the 1970s he extended the production to include exclusive
split cane rods as well as continuing to develop and improve hook production. Thanks to him Partridge of Redditch has become
an internationally acclaimed fish hook brand.
In 1996 the Norwegian
hook manufacturer O. Mustad & Son bought Partridge of Redditch from Alan Bramley. As far as Mustad was concerned, one
might say that the circle had been closed. When O. Mustad & Son started their production of fish hooks in the 1870s, they
soon realized that the hooks coming out of their machines were not fit to fish with. They were too soft and rusted after a
day in water. The founder, Hans Mustad, then summoned specialists from Redditch, England, to help him solve the problems.
They were specialists in tempering, design and fly-tying. Partly thanks to Redditch expertise, Mustad is today the leading
manufacturer of fish hooks in the world.
Mustad clearly realized
and appreciated the traditions and quality of the Partridge-of-Redditch brand.
Most recently Mustad sold Partridge
of Redditch to FishingMatters LTD who now control distribution in the UK & Ireland and continue to have dealers and distribution
around the world.
Partridge of Redditch looks forward to continue
its co-operation with fly-fishers and sport fishermen all over the world and keep its obligations to the continuously increasing
number of fans who, throughout several generations, have been enchanted by the magic of our Finest Handmade Fish Hooks.
O. Mustad & Sons
Norwegian based investment company and energy and engineering services
company Borre Nordheim-Larsen, NLI Utvikling has issued a standardized notification
to the Norwegian Competition Authority for its bid to purchase O. Mustad
& Sons hook company. This motion was filed on Nov. 21 and they have until Dec. 12 (2011) to provide formal details on
the purchase to the competition authority.
Rumors have circulated for months about Pure Fishing and Rapala purchasing
Mustad and this seems to be pretty solid evidence to the contrary. NLI Utvikling is a $2.3 Billion NOK company with 1,300
employees worldwide. They have interests in gas, solar, wind, rainwater and other renewable energy sources as well as having
engineering, fabrication and business development arms.
Angling International Editor Mel Bagnall reported in his
recent newsletter that it was all but a done deal now.
developments have created a period where models and sizes are being dropped, supply issues have arisen, and there have also
been serious quality issues as well. A good example is the Partridge hooks manufactured in China a few years ago. Their popular
Bartleet Supreme salmon hooks were barely recognizable and other models were unavailable for a year or so. Customers simply
had to do without.
This led our local River Magic Fly Shop to search for some market stability, better model selection, improved
supply and high quality, “the way things used to be”.
and Daiichi. Both of these Japanese hook manufacturers easily fit our criteria, demonstrating that in a few
short decades the Japanese have become hook industry leaders, as they have with electronics, cameras and so on. The saying
“You get what you pay for” is appropriate here as both are quite expensive, similar to Partridge prices.
we’ve found a supplier of hooks that meet our criteria AND sell for a very reasonable price. They are very similar to
the hooks made by Tiemco. We now buy these hooks in 1000 packs, repackage them in 100 packs, and sell them under the River
River Magic currently stocks these hooks in dry, wet, salmon, nymph, natural bend and streamer models. Having
recently purchased 36,000 of these hooks, the shop can once again supply great quality hooks to customers at reasonable prices.