I copied this from Fly Anglers on Line
Mustad has more than 100 years of fly hook experience. Many patterns still retained date back half a century. In spite of this long experience, Mustad's processes and technology have been continuously renewed and refined. The study of insects is fundamental in modern fly fishing, and is therefore an all important criteria in fly hook design. Mustad has combined entomology and hook making into a totally new approach to fly hooks. Hooks are designed to meet specific properties of the insect's anatomy without compromising presentation and action in fishing.
Press Release 01/10/09:
For the past several years, premium chemically sharpened needlepoint hooks have grown a great deal in popularity. More and more tiers (and anglers who don't tie but certainly use flies) are wanting these premium hooks for their flies. During this time I have watched the Mustad selection in fly shops shrink. When talking with shop owners and sales people the same thing is said over and over and over. "Customers want the premium needlepoint stuff so that is what we are selling." This meant that with our Classic line up which offered tried and true patterns but didn't have "premium" points were getting shut out at retail. Now that is certainly not to be said that folks were not buying Mustad Classic fly hooks because they certainly were but the trend was heading in the wrong direction.
So a few years back I worked with my colluege in Norway to develop a premium offering of fly hooks called the Signature series. The hooks were the world's first and only proportionate hook range. The series was successful and we gained back some market share. The trend however on the Classic continued and we watched the peg space for these tried and true hooks continue to shrink as demand for premium fly hooks increased. Now you are not going to stay in business long if you sit and watch your product underperform and do nothing about it.
As the Signature Series continued to plug along we talked with some key customers who sold a LOT of fly hooks. We made the call to make the huge leap and convert the remaining popular Classic hooks over to the premium side. This meant the hooks would get micro-barbs and chemically sharpened needlepoints. There would also be some adjustments to the hooks so that they too became proportionally correct. It only stands to reason that if you buy a few packs of 2X strong, 4X long hooks in a selection of sizes you must really want a hook that is 2X strong and 4X long or else you would not have bought them. Well up to this point, that was not possible with the Classics (nor any of our competitions hooks). I cannot tell you how many times I have worked shows, tying flies and hear someone say that brand "X" has a great hook model in say sizes 12, 14 and 18 but man, the 16's are just too light or the gap is too narrow or the shank is too short or long. Well this is because the hook is not proportional. So if we were going to roll all these Classic's over into the Signature range it only made sense to follow that same framework we set when we developed the Signature range. On many of the converted hooks, the changes to wire diameter, length and gap will be unnoticeable but on some others, yes, you will see the hook is a bit different.
As for Mustad gouging consumers in order to make double the profit…well…there are a few things I'd like to say to those that feel that is the case but this is a family website and I want to keep things on the up and up. Some have pointed out that costs to produce products have gone up. Most consumers have no idea just how much the cost of production has gone up over the years. Mustad's desire has been to keep products priced fairly, making them attractive to all but in doing so, price increases over the years have not kept up with the cost of doing business. We have been able to offset some of those gaps with production and logistic improvements but over the past couple of years, the costs have risen sharply. We all know what gas and oil prices did and what kind of price hikes that resulted in all aspects of our lives like groceries and such. Some may say "yeah, but gas and oil prices have dropped dramatically the past few months!" Yes this is true BUT chemical prices and labor prices (including social costs) among many other things have not dropped and in fact continue to rise. We are the world's only hook manufacturer that produced hooks from steel wire formulated especially for hook making. We have our own proprietary steel so we are not simply able to shop the markets and buy at the lowest price. I can assure you that we do everything we can to keep costs down so we can produce a product at a reasonable price.
It was said we have doubled prices. Well I have not had a chance to see any of our customer's retail catalogs but I did a quick search on the internet and here is what I found.
Mustad Classic 94845 size 14 in a 50 count box - $5.95
Mustad's new R50X-94845 size 14 in a 50 count box - $5.99
Mustad Classic 34011 size 1/0 in a 25 count box - $6.10
Mustad's new S74SZ-34011 size 1/0 in a 25 count - $6.35
Mustad Classic 9672 size 8 in 25 count box - $4.20
Mustad's new R74-9672 size 8 in 25 count box - $3.69
As for just what exactly is happening with the fly hooks. Yes, the vast majority of the Classic fly hooks are no longer going to be made. We are instead moving these hooks into the Signature range. I will forward a chart for LadyFisher and Mr. Castwell to post which shows the Classic number and what it's new model number is (if it is getting converted over). You will now have your favorites, but they will have been upgraded with much sharper points, smaller barbs (super easy to make barbless if desired) and better eye closures. I know it's human nature to resist change but I ask that you keep an open mind as you lean the details.
I hope this sheds some light on the situation and I'm sorry this has many so worked up. I can assure you, we greatly value each and every customer we have and we are always working hard to give the best products at the best prices.
~ Jeff Pierce (Dr. Fish)