Shaken…and stirred. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Shaken…and stirred.

06-19-2002, 07:38 PM
My last couple outings have found em connected to a larger class of fish (30” & up). I do not know the exact size though due to my patented “long distance releases”.
I get to see my leader (5-6 feet max.) and a little bit more but I often loose fish close to the boat. I guess I know the breaking strength of my gear but not the fish’s jaws…

My question is this:
1. How do I ensure proper hook set after tension has been applied to said fish?
2. Once the fight begins, what can I do to better my chances of a photo opportunity?

Constructive criticisms much appreciated. My goal is land a 30" plus this year and approach the upper 30's. Although conssitanly landing mid thirties does have a certain charm...o.k. just looking to get better at this thing we do.


06-20-2002, 05:11 AM
How sharp are your hooks? Also, strip set the hook more than once when the fish is on*to*insure that the hook is really set. FishHawk

06-20-2002, 06:42 AM
Four questions:

a) What hook make/model/size do you use?

b) Are you barbless or barbed?

c) Are the fish lost far or close?

d) On the reel or still in the fingers?

06-20-2002, 08:54 AM
sharp - yep, kinda paranoid about it too. I missed a lot of twinks in the surf because of it...
strip set - will do - at least try to :)

Juro - four answers:
a) mostly 1/0, some 2/0 & #1's depending on pattern (that's what is in my box. I have been using 1/0 & 2/0 during said un-hookups). I'm moving up to 1/0's min though. Verivas mostly.

b) w/pinched barbs

c) closer to the boat. I can ususally see the end of the flyline/start of the leader.

d) on the reel; when I feel it's a biger fish I try to get it on the reel ASAP.

I haven't really blamed my gear because I'm confident in it - I haven't broken off or straightend any hooks. the gear seems to perform as it should.

I think it's more in the "operator error" category - like I'm putting too much presssure on or not wearing down the fish properly. I know these things don't get to be big by being stupid either. I've watched some bigger fish taken and I don't seem to bo doing anything differently.
Maybe I just need to calm down & breathe...

thanks Gents,

06-20-2002, 09:48 AM
a) hooks - many folks use heavy wire hooks, which work against you when you hook large fish with pinched barbs, which I see as a requirement for safety and fish handling. Gape size is not as critical as long as it holds an ample amount of 'material' within it, although smaller hooks and flies are easier swallowed by large stripers in my experience so I use as large a fly (i.e.: hook) as the fish will accept. I have not used the Verivas hooks yet, and am curious whether these hooks are losing as many fish as the unmentioned other brand. They are interesting but the shape does not strike me as being important, will find out soon. I have tested a broad range of hooks since the days of working at a shop and the Tiemco 811s has been the best all-around tool for how I fish due to modest wire diameter, easy barb to pinch, chemically sharp, super strong (never broke one unintentionally) and light weight. I use 1/0 for standard patterns, with 1's for smaller, 3/0 or even 4/0 for slabsided bait patterns, 2's on rare occasions for shrimp.

c) losing them way out is a matter of increasing tension and reducing off angles to make up sags and cross-current pressures; losing them in close can possibly be a matter of switching to "kid gloves" mode whereby you keep a strong tension anytime the fish is not in flight while being soft with the hands when the fish runs. If there is any fling to the fly when it pops, it could be that the shock factor of a short line run is more than the connection could bear. If the fish spits it like a wad of gum, then the tension is not enough. Sometimes reaching for the fish by oneself introduces changes in tension that allow fish to escape. Currents are important when making that last approach, I generally pull the fish up current then ease it to a point where I can thumb it. Surf introduces a whole nuther problem, but you said you were on a boat.

d) since you're losing them at the boat, getting them on the reel is not the issue, but technique with the reel / palm / strip may be in tight. Provided there is no risk of entanglement, going to a strip retrieve in the red zone might help maintain direct tension although your rod finger control will be critical as you reach for the fish.

The good thing is that you are diagnosing the problem and will surely find a method that works for you. I believe things work for me that others think are wrong, it's finding something that works for you while considering other's findings and adopting the ones that prove true.

Good luck!

06-20-2002, 01:27 PM
thanks j - I'm headiong out tommorrow and will try to resolve my prob's.

thanks for the tips/conversation - helped me think through it "out loud".

thanks for the call too, mr.f

06-20-2002, 02:24 PM
I was in the next boat over from Todd the other morning and every time I looke dover he was hooked up. You were doing something right. I turned to Sully and said "Gee Todd's a fish hog". What the heck were you using? Smelly Jelly on your fly? I was using a big Yak hair buffy job, blue over white.
BTW I got my biggest fish of the year (tiny by the standards to our south ;))


06-20-2002, 05:24 PM
Terry: Stop following me! :D

Todd: I couldn't find anything wrong with your technique the other morning after you made the comment about losing fish. However, I did notice that the problem went away as soon as you switched flies (grey clouser).

Juro: Amen on the big hook theory. I've had great success this season with big herring flies, and am now using 6/0 Trey Combs hooks. I've noticed that even the suicidal 10" schoolies have had no problems getting hooked. My biggest this year was caught on a 8/0 Trey Combs.. Check these out if you get a chance, similar qualities to the 811S, but wider hook gap and slightly higher price.

One thing I have noticed a lot of people having trouble with is when they are using the two handed 'milk the cow' retrieve and hook up with a fish. Some will immediately take the rod from under their arm, grope for the line with the other hand, and then try and set the hook. The problem is that this transition invariably throws a lot of slack into the line and a lot of fish are lost doing the rod shuffle. If you use the two handed retrieve make sure that you set the hook well and get all the slack line out before grabbing for the rod - and make sure that you keep the line tight.

-- Tom

06-20-2002, 05:38 PM
i'm curious how much elasticity in leader and/or line might play a role in this. i've noticed recently how different lines/leaders can vary quite dramatically.

all it would take is a slight movement towards you (head shake even) and if you're not on top of your game (see juro's hints above), you're toast. this is, sadly, one of the few, if not only areas, about which i can speak from experience.

i've found leaders with less elasticity give me a more direct connection, better feel, and seem to result in fewer lost fish. either that, or i've progressed to the next level of decreased suckiness. :rolleyes:

06-20-2002, 09:28 PM
Those T/C hooks look like the old standard octopus gamakatsu with a straight eye. I'll bet they make them for Trey. Super sharp and great bend, quite different from the 811s though, probably a better fish holding profile than the 811s now that you mention it.

BTW are they stainless or nickel plated?

06-21-2002, 08:16 AM
Good question Juro, I didn't know off the top of my head.. A quick web search found "nickel plated high-carbon steel"..

I haven't found any problems with rusting/corrosion yet, I've had a half dozen or so in my 'wet' fly box for a couple of weeks now.

-- Tom

06-25-2002, 08:18 AM
Went out Friday, report to follow, and tested my new knowledge - successfully. I'm still looking to break 30" but I'm getting closer.

Terry: no jelly for me - I'll show you sometime.

Tom: I'm talking about the bigger fish...I am doing much better than last year though, still learning.

J.B.: "use the butt not the tip". that's how it was explained to me. I know exactly what you're talking about with the head shake/leader dealie - that's what started this whole thing.

Juro: so far the hook has not failed me to connect with the fish - resharpeneing takes a little longer with these high carbon hooks than the standard products from Norway. Give 'em a try, I like them so far (but I'm gonna upsize my stock in the future)

Hawkeye: the double set-strip worked like a charm. a simple place to start, I'm sure it helped.

Having lost a couple larger fish due to "operator error" and making this post, I have come to the conclusion that several things caused me to loose said cows:
symptom: I had the fish close to the boat, leader/line knot visible. The fish throws a head shake and is gone.
solution: operator must calm himself down and tire out the fish properly by using the rod as a shock absorber (fight from the butt), not the line/leader and apply pressure in the correct direction (read: not straight up).

I'm sure that the next time I hook up with a 30"+ fish, I will be able to boat/land said fish. Thanks for the discussion & tips

Hoping to perform as well as my tackle...