: Trout Fever & Tippet Trouble
Playing hooky on Friday, I hit one of the first ponds of my fly fishing youth in Plymouth. There was a break in the weather and rises/ rolling fish all over the pond.
Hopped in the kickboat with my old #6 and paddled towards an area of concentrated rises. As I coasted in fish continued to slurp some tpe of emerger from the surface film I had rigged my floating line with a 12' 7X leader and a #12 Royal Wulff.
With my old trout abilities long since missing, my timing was off as I tried to set too quickly and missed 2 fish. I let the third take the fly and felt my pulse quicken as he headed for the bottom. A second later he was gone. Inspection of the tippet showed a clean break.
This happened 2X more on dry flies.
I won't even get into the sore wrist I have from the vicous strikes I had on my olive & purple wooly bugger.
Didn't land anything. Lost a lot of flies. A spinner on the shore claimed to have 3 brookies in his creel.
Am I doing something wrong with the tippet? I'm tying an improved clinch knot, even went with a trilene knot when I went to the nymphs.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Filling up the thermos with some hot tea & heading out to see what's happening with the pond now, hopefully I can do something right this time.
04-23-2000, 04:28 PM
you mentioned 12' 7X tippet. Seven X is awfully thin line. Could it be that it was old tippet? could it be that the royal wulff was a bit too big to be tied onto 7X? could it be that you were a bit heavy handed?
Personally I use 7X when I'm fishing stuff smaller than #20, and I make sure the tippet is long (i.e. at least 3 feet) so that there will be some stretch in it before it breaks. A barrel knot, or even a double surgeon knot will work fine on tippets. If the knot doesn't close well in one tightening move, cut off and start again. That's all I can think of right now. Lucky dog... at least you went fishing <g>
Thanks for the response Luis,
I guess I should clarify, I was using, against my better judgement, a 12' tapered leader with a 7X tippet. I scrapped that one for the very reasons you suggested and tied up some of my own like I should have in the first place.
Went back last night (we're not a religous family & my wife & mother in-law had decided to rearrange the furniture - I was asked to leave). As I sat in the truck watching the pond surface, I began to discern from the patterns of the steady rain multiple rises & rolls. I was on the water by 6:30.
Fished a white bunny baitfish w/ silver flash tied on a #8 salmon hook. Had 1 viscous hit & no hook up.
Finally found the emergers. They look like small grey humpys. By the time I got one tied on it was too dark to see my fly. The fish were still rising & slurping.
I've been thoroughly humbled. Saltwater & warmwater fish are definitely a different world.
04-24-2000, 08:39 AM
I would probably recommend starting at 5x for dry's. I know some would disagree but I am of the belief that you start with a heavier tippet and then go down if no strikes. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that the fish will still strike and you can get them released quickly. Also, some times we forget that if we are using fast action rods, this impacts how we hook fish and how well it can cushion a tippet......either way, I am very jealous of all that activity !!
04-24-2000, 09:21 AM
5X is definately small enough, maybe 6X. Another thing that I always check is the age of the line. depending where it is stored is can get brittle. Sounds like a good time though.
04-24-2000, 08:52 PM
I still use an old formula I got from my Dad when it comes to tippet length. It's 4 times the x size, e.g. 7x X 4 = 28 inch minimum, 6x would be 24 inch. It's valid for 5,6,7X tippets, as minimum.
Also, I try not to mix tippet and leader brands, Orvis tippet with SA leaders etc. I have found that some tippet material does not measure to it's stated diameter in a lot of cases and that matching proper diameter is more important than matching X level, depending on the brand. I also never go down more than 2 sizes per section. From 3x to 5x, or 4x to 6x are the more difficult matches since some tippet seems to cut in the main leader line unless a perfect well lubed Dbl. surgeon is done. I hope this helps and that you get back to your pond soon. I will be on my pond next weekend to repeat last Saturday's #14&16 Chironomid feast.
04-26-2000, 08:02 AM
i will first kindly refer you to my "Trout Beating" post below--you are not alone in returning fishless from the pond with trout rising everywhere. Since I did the exact same thing you did--leave a streamer in the mouth of what was likely a nice fish, i will offer the following observation: I believe you suffer from striperitis. It is a not so uncommon disease among trout fishermen these days. you likely have imbedded in your cranium the irresistable urge to set the hook pretty hard when you feel a hit, and are used to at least 8 lb. tippet.
I have the same problem my first few trout outings. I cast too hard, set the hook too hard, lose flies and ruin leaders. 7x is too small for these fish. I always use 6x for dries but I am sure you can get away with 4x, and even lower if using streamers.
btw--I am guessing the grey-back emergers were gnats, that was also what I saw hatching.
let me know if you are heading down again this weekend--of course, if it doesn't rain or snow for the rest of the week!
still troutless in fly2k
04-26-2000, 08:21 AM
My answer to "striperitis" is using my old Orvis glass rods. Soft and swishy. No need for the graphite stiffy when fishing trout. After chucking 9 wts. a 5 wt. is nuttin.
One of my tricks to calm down is "become the old man from Montana". By this I mean put an imaginary pipe in your mouth, (no jokes Powers!) a newspaper under your casting arm, and throw the prettiest loop you can tip-curl off the rod without dropping the imaginary newspaper.
The striper cast involves a lot of elbow motion along a straight vector to emphasize the casting stroke. How else would one throw a mop into a headwind? It's helped me to learn to relax after a decade of steelheading and then stripers - to adopt some kind of trick to keep from whiplashing the tippets and trout's necks!
Of course calming down in easier on a stream, the open stillwater tends to tempt the caster into surf mode. I find fishing from canoes, kickboats, or wading on sand/gravel shoals is the best way to combat the "need for speed".
Maybe we should identify a real classic type of stream to hit once or twice a year as a way to remind ourselves of quintessential trout fishing. One suggestion, as Luis offers, is to attend the NEC clave in the Catskills this year in late May / early June.
Luis - do you still have that URL handy?
Thanks guys, I greatly appreciate the advice.
I like the tippet formula.
The hatch per one of my trout-aholic clients is blue wing olives.
Now that the trout part of my brain is picking up speed & brushing off the cobwebs, I'm pretty sure I was using something smaller than a #14 dry, like an 18 or 20. The 7X is definitely the way to go.
I wish I was using a fast rod. I'm a sentimental romantic at heart and was using my first fly rod, my old Fenwick graphite 6 weight - nice & slow. A faster rod would definitely help when I blow the hook set and try to recast, forgeting I'm using the old rod & wind up throwing a loop you could drive a truck through.
In summary, I'm just a hyperactive hack.
And Dr. Ganguly, email me your phone # & let's see if we can steal a canoe for Sunday afternoon/ evening.