What size do I use?
This has been the question of the day since I came up with these things. However, it has turned out to be anything but a standard answer as I have seen tyers use them in ways that I had not imagined!
Size to the bead.
My base answer is to size the collar based on your bead size not hook size. The collars work best with similar or larger sized beads. This allows you to get a nice snug fit of the cone side of the bug collar into the back of a bead. In similar size combos (e.g. 2.5mm collar and bead) sometimes you cannot get a snug fit as different bead manufacturers use different size countersinks in the beads. In this case turn the collar around and cup the bead with the countersunk side of the collar. This works well also for using a bead that is smaller than the collar.
But, wait! Size to the hook!
If I am tying a standard nymph (hares ear, pheasant tail, etc.) on a straight hook in sizes 12 and smaller I always use a 1XL long hook. This allows for a hook shank long enough after the collar to build a proportional body with respect to the hook shank length. Keep in mind that in many cases you can also use a 0XL one size larger to open your hook gap while maintaining the same shank length of the one size smaller 1XL hook.
Try stacking the collars. They fit well together and have a nice segmented effect. Turn them around (cup side first) and they will stack nicely going from large to small collars.
Painted, plated, and metallic
These are the three processes used to color the bug collars and each has a slightly different effect on the size of the bug collar. The stated size of the bug collar is the size of the raw, machined brass collar before coloring (+/- a small tolerance).
- Painting - This is the coating for all of the fluorescent and painted colors. Paint is thick by comparison to the other coloring methods. It can add as much a 1mm to the collar dimensions and this is much more evident on the 2.5mm and 2.9mm, especially the 2.5mm collar. If you take a 2.5mm collar from each coloring method the painted collar will fit slightly different that the others. If it is not as snug as you would like, turn it around cup first for a snug fit.
- Plated - This method of electroplating of one metal onto another and adds a negligible amount of material to the collar.
- Metallic - This uses a process called electrophoresis which is similar to anodizing. This process adds a negligible amount of material to the collar.