Light Tackle - C&R (long-winded) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Light Tackle - C&R (long-winded)

09-19-2002, 08:48 AM
Personally my C&R observations and beliefs have come full circle regarding how I fish.

I used to be convinced that just the act of releasing fish, in and of itself, was the right thing to do. Now I believe the major factor is HOW you fish.

My saltwater rigging has run from 8 -12 # tippets (trying to be sporting) to 15# once I started to think I could catch larger fish, to 20# once I tried to release a 42" striper that I has exhuasted & wound up killing, to now using 20, 25 & 40# as the situation/ targeted fish disctates. I know that I can put the screws to a fish and now worry about how much my fly rod can take.

Just trying to start a conscious discussion re: stressing out fish & releasing them.

Food for thought, interested in any one elses opinions/ observations.


09-19-2002, 09:35 AM
I used to use 8-12lb tippet myself and eventually worked my way up to 16-30lb flouro so I could muscle fish in quickly. Originally the thought process was : Light tippets are more gentlemanly and sporting. Now I think of all the times I saw a striper or big trout go belly up because I played the thing to death on light tippet.

Now my mentality seems to be : get it in, get it off and get back in the action. Some of my buddies laugh at me when I hook up because I use every inch of graphite right down to the real seat to get my fish in quick. I give not a thought about the rod and what it can take. I figure that its warranteed so if it breaks..... Post Office here I come. I can't remember the last time I truely tired a fish out. Usually I'm standing there telling our finned friend in a low voice " Calm down! I'm gonna let you go ". Although I found my fish fighting technique to be a problem with the Bluefish. I think I need to tire them out more. The scar on my knee from a 7lb'er reminds me all the time.:hehe:

I have found in all honesty that RARELY does tippet size make a difference in Striper or Bluefish fishing. So why not go heavier? If you are catching schoolies it lets you release them faster and stresses them less giving them a better chance at survival, plus if you do hook into a HOG you have the piece of mind that barring a freak accident you will more than likely get that fish of the year or of a lifetime to the beach.

09-19-2002, 10:06 AM
I admit I am very new to the game so please take these thoughts as questions more than opinions.

I use a very simple set up of a straight piece of flouro typically about 8-10' long ranging from 10-20#s in strength. I have not in my experience had a problem getting the fly to turn over and not yet being an expert in knots makes for less to go wrong.

With that said, in the few experiments I have read about and tried I don't think it is possible to get anywhere near more than say about 6lbs of pressure on a tippet using a fly rod. So, with the exception of using a short section of bite guard for blues, albies etc...why use the heavy stuff. I think what you really loose is fly action in doing so. With heavier tippets I have found that the fly looses the wiggles and waves you work so hard to design in your fly which is I think the biggest attractor in your presentation.

Just another perspective.


Dble Haul
09-19-2002, 10:36 AM
Sean- To give you a different perspective, the amount of pressure that you can put on a fish with your rod depends on several things besides tippet strength, some of which include:

The action of the rod. A fast and heavy rod will exert more pressure than a slow rod.

The angle of pressure. Side pressure can usually exert more, and anything that is vertically greater than 45 degrees usually results in less pressure.

Drag of flyline. If a fish is 50 feet out and is dragging about 40 feet of flyline around with it, this contributes to the pressure. The heavier the line, the greater the pressure.

There are more, but these are what really stand out for me. Taking these into account, I think it's reasonable to assume that a flyrod of the right type and correct rod angle during the fight can result in far more than 6 pounds of pressure.

09-19-2002, 10:52 AM
Point your Fly rod at the fly and pull on the line, essentially taking the rod out of the equation. I'll bet you ten bucks you can break you're 20 lb tippet if you don't have too much line out*. As you bend the rod, the pressure decreases. When the rod is in a bent u going straight up then down, you really aren't applying much pressure. But if you again point towards the fish and pull with the BUTT of the rod, now you'll see some increase.

That being said... I fish 12 # exclusively. Why exclusively? Cause I'm too cheap and go and buy more line. I've got 12# Berkely Vanish(yes that dreaded stuff) and it works. I have no complaints.

I do agree that many FF'ers spend too much time trying to complicate things. To quote my engineering boss "Simple Easy".


*The more line you have out, the more the line will stretch, the more you'll have to pull (distance) to get the same net result.

09-19-2002, 11:01 AM
I see your point that with side pressure you may be able to get considerable more pressure and that is exactly how I fight the fish. The experiment I was mainly thinking of was attaching your tippet to a gallon of milk and trying to lift it. I think a gallon ways about 7 pounds and even with a stiff 10wt GLX I was not able to lift the container and was putting a dangerous bend in the tip. But I guess if I turned the rod sideways the way I do with a fish I could probably drag that or a heavier opponent down the street. I guess if I pointed the rod straight at the fish and took all the bend out of the rod I could exert as much pressure as I wanted but that wouldn't be very much fun.


09-19-2002, 11:15 AM
I've been fighting fish this year with the intent of finishing the deed quickly. I've yet to see backing though I've caught a number of fish that would have had me into backing in previous years. I have broken several off and subsequently moved from 12 to 16 to 20lb flouro. I agree with Sean in that given 100% knots and fresh tippet 10 or 12lb test is sufficient and we probably never apply more force than that with 9 or 10 wgt. rods. But if I want to avoid breaking fish off because of a deterioated tippet or a less than perfect knot 16 or 20 lb seems to be the way to go for the fishing I do.

09-19-2002, 11:54 AM
I love reading about the 320# Marlin landed on 4# test. The fight was four minutes.
Let's see hook the fish, but don't pull too hard. Hand feed the fish some more chum and then when the fish gets close enough, snag him with the flying gaff. That's a weird game.
Now, as for bring in a fish quickly: When we bring a green fish to the boat, we have to be very careful not to let the fish thrash and injure its self. I read that head injuries are very easy to inflict on a fish. This, I think is the best arguement for barbless hooks. Easy on, easy off. I also find that a boga is good for bring a fish under control quickly. I know that many think that a boga is worse for the fish, but I like the possitive grip and speed that the boga provides. You don't have to hang 'em high. Anyway, the faster we bring them in, the more careful we need to be.

09-19-2002, 12:26 PM
I agree with Roops stance. Ever since I heard a bait dunker accusing fly guys of playing fish to death on light rods about 2 years ago I've been considering the matter and tending to horse fish in faster (especially when there is a blitz of bigger fish slapping around the boat:D ). The only exception is when I'm fighting a juvi pogi. I tend to bring them in real slooooooowwwwwww. Twitch...twitch twitch.

This discussion sure flys in the face of the IGFA leader class records don't it.


09-19-2002, 12:58 PM
Make sure that if you are using 40 lb tippet, that your backing tests at least 41 lbs...(I've had it happen to me. It stinks.):chuckle:

09-19-2002, 03:26 PM
I think that fly line is around 37lbs so that may be the weakest link at some point as well.

I'm sure mine is well below that with some of the nicks that I've felt lately. Time for a new one :D

I really have no experience and all my comments are gut feel. I wish I did have some real world numbers.

As far as fighting a fish and bringing it in quickly, I have been surprised (especially last weekend on the blues) at how much I can really pull and have everything hold. I was trying to test my wire connections, but found that all of my setup held up to some of the most pressure I've put on fish.

And there's not much better than a fish smacking its tail, splashing you in face, on its way to fight again.


09-19-2002, 04:58 PM
In many ways, I think that I can land a fish as fast or faster with a fly rod. Having said that, I my impression is based on watching others with convetional tackle fight fish. My skills with the hard stuff is limmited.
I also think that a 40# weakest link not safe with fly gear, and I don't think that there is a fly rod that is stout enough to take advantage. Only a couple of reels. Watch your fingers..
Tuna and Marlin on a fly rod is "light tackle". Tarpon and Sail Fish can be brought in relatively quickly. I saw Stu Apt bring in a 90# Tarpon in about seven minutes. I watched carefully, and I didn't notice any cuts or edits. That's fighting a fish!

09-19-2002, 06:47 PM
I too use a heavy hand (and leader) when fighting fish, but that's not to say that I skim the small ones across the surface like the Bassmaster guys. After all, it is supposed to be fun and I enjoy letting the fish run and jump a bit. In addition, it's easy to severely injure a fish (and yourself) if you try to land it too soon. I try to bring the fish in quickly, but will let it tire itself out a little if it seems like it's still too "green" for me to land without using excessive force.


09-19-2002, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by Eddie
In many ways, I think that I can land a fish as fast or faster with a fly rod. Having said that, I my impression is based on watching others with convetional tackle fight fish. My skills with the hard stuff is limmited.

That may be true. With spinning or conventional tackle, using heavier line decreases your casting distance and limits your line capacity. It also reduces the sink rate and running depth of your lure. As such, I think that most spin/conventional fishermen use the lightest line they can get away with for the conditions they intend to fish. I generally use a 20# leader for fly fishing in saltwater, but I only have 8# or 10# line on my general purpose saltwater spinning rods. Only the big surf stick has 20# line, and that was for fishing in the canal or casting eels or massive lures. Also, fly rods are generally longer and more flexible than conventional/spin rods of the same weight class. This allows you to clamp down on the reel or line and use the rod to absorb the surges, rather than having the fish pull line off the reel.


09-19-2002, 08:07 PM
Hey Roop,

I totally agree catch and release is definitly one thing but how you fish has a lot to do with it. Barbless hooks gives the fish that chance and is totally bettter for the release..putting less stress on the fish while fighting it..and also handling the fish trying not to remove to many scales .. theres been a lot of fish friendly gear i guess you could say made that us fisherman havent looked into like those nets for catch and release so the fish isnt harmed i believe catch and release is very important to sustain are fisherys but how you fish definitly plays a huge roll in taking c&r to the next level....

good idea of discussion Roop,
tight lines everyone..

09-20-2002, 06:40 AM
Good topic.

At the risk of being controversial however. ..

Watching lots of people play fish of various types in various parts of the world, I am willing to bet that most flyrodders exert about one tenth of the pressure they believe thay are when playing fish - irrespective of the rod / tippet combination. Maximum pressure is achieved with the tip pointed at the fish. It doesn't matter wether the rod is lifted straight up, sideways or inverted - as the pressure point travels out toward the tip of the rod from the butt, the resultant force for a given 'pull' is reduced. Sideways action will put the force on a different plane and helps pull a fish off balance which does speed up the process.

It sounds counterintuitive but physics is physics. If you do the tests with a spring balance and a friend, you'll be very surprised. Its a good exercise to go through with different tippets. Wether fishing 12lb tippet for skinny water bonefish or 7X for trout, knowing what max. pressure really FEELs like will help you get the job done a lot faster.

This may be a fun thing to set up at the next casting clave.

09-20-2002, 06:45 AM
Use 10 wt's for effective catch and release...There are people out there striper fishing with 7 wt's..

09-20-2002, 07:23 AM
All good points, especially the angle of the rod.

When I've been stuck on the bottom and decided I was going to lose my fly, I resort to pointing the rod straight at the target and backing up the beach.... it's amazing how much pressure a tippet can actually take.

Adrian's right, we all should try it.

One additional point that I found with my BFT set up: casting with a 25# butt section and a 40, 50 or 60# tippet is not difficult at all. Of course it may be a factor of the 420 grain floating head I'm using but another tactic you may want to try.


09-23-2002, 01:16 PM
I'll agree with Adrian that a lot of fly fishers only exert about 1/10th of what they can on a Fly rod. If your knots are good just take a 8 to 10 wt out in the yard with 8 lb leader and see if you can break it using the rod as a lever. I get nervous that the rod will break first. There may be other factors why a leader will break than strength. I've noticed most line breakage on a large fish happens when a sulking hooked fish decides to make a run. The line breaks right at the very begining of the run just as rod tip resonds to the fish. It usually happens also if I didn't respond instantlly with getting my reel hand away from reel and I mean instantlly. The break is clean with no fray or marks so I thought line just broke because it was not strong enough. What I noticed after a lot of years is line breaks about 3 to 5 inches from where hook is tied on. I've begun to wonder if leader may have hit back of gill plate as fished turned to run. Breaks also happen when a fish is directly below you when fishing out of a boat and fish turns for that last desperate run. Again the break is usually clean with no frays in leader. Next time you keep a striper or other large game fish just take some leader material in both hands and run it hard upwards along the back of the gill plate and see what a perfect break you get. You will swear that the leader looks as if it just broke because it was not strong enough, there are no fray marks just a clean break.
If you need to use lighter leader so as not spook a fish then do so and don't be afraid to horse the fish in just make sure you reaction time is as fast or faster than the fish to respond to his moves. That rod you are using is a great equalizer and if you don't believe so take it out in the yard and try and break the leader even with your hand holding your fly line just in front of the reel. You will be amazed how hard it is to break.

09-23-2002, 02:46 PM
I fish with 8wt rod and use a 12lb leader. Here is my conclusion.

You can put a great deal of pressure on the fish and not be to concerned the line will break. Why? I associate the amount of pressure you can put on the line when you hang up on the bottom and try to break the hook free.It takes so much pressure before the line breaks I am always surprised. The line can handle more pressure than I think or use to appling. I think we play the drag a little light to be safe.

A well tied knot and a good drag go a long way on a big fish.

09-23-2002, 03:07 PM
I was thinking about this a bit more driving home the other day.

I weigh about 220lb (give or take - probably give :rolleyes:)

I was wondering how long I would last if a force equal to half, or even quarter of my body weight were applied in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go. In my case at least, the answer would be not very long!

I use 12lb and 9wt rod for most of my striper fishing where conditions allow - typically shallow water. In very strong currents and / or fishing deep with fast sinking lines I would go up to 20lb or higher and a 12 wt (I don't own a 10 or 11).

A 10lb striper hitting against a strip in a 10 knot current can apply a lot of pressure very quickly without even trying. Heavier tippet would make sense around rocky/barnacle encrusted structure.

A note on drag settings: If you anticipate a lengthy run taking you well into the backing, bear in mind that as the line peels off, the effective spool diameter is reduced. This creates a gearing effect which multiplies the efective drag considerably. I follow the Lefy Kreh maxim and use a setting of about three pounds. This happens to be the amount of drag which just enables you to pull line from the reel when jammed between dry lips. To apply pressure during the fight I palm the rim. Something else to check out with spring balances at the next casting calve :D

09-23-2002, 03:11 PM
Landed a 10# bluefish on 15# fluro and a broken in 1/2 8wt .

09-23-2002, 03:18 PM
Great thread! I am with Adrian on this one and I believe that most salt water flyfisherman use gear too light for what they are doing. I was fishing this weekend with a T&T Horizon 9 wt. rod and it took me forever to land an Albie that was in the 8-9 lb. range this really irked me and I immediately switched over to my 10 wt. Orvis Trident. This made a huge difference as the Orvis rod had significantly more back bone than the T&T and I caught the next Albie on the 10 wt. in alot shorter time than the previous fish. I am one who exerts alot of pressure on the fish I hook, I can say this because I broke my 4th rod on Friday in less than a year by exerting too much pressure on the fish. There is a fine line between not enough and too much pressure and I am convinced that having a rod that is suited to the quarry is of utmost importance. 7 and 8 wt. flyrods really are not suited for the fish and conditions we will encounter here in the N.E. and will over tire a fish in the process. My Orvis 9wt. Silver Label that I broke on Friday is really the lightest rod I will use now and the T&T will be relinquished to backup duty and springtime duty only. The 10 wt. is now my main weapon of choice and will see the majority of fishing that I will be doing from here on out. I use 20 lb. flouro tippet no smaller and I think that it is perfectly strong enough coupled with the right rod and should not break under the amounts of pressure that you should be able to exert with the proper rod and technique.

Just my .02 cents!!!!!
Mike M.

09-23-2002, 03:29 PM
So many interesting views on this subject...

Personally speaking, I have never broken off a fish using 16# flouro unless it was with a flats-induced, spastic strip-set. I find that if my tippet is unabraided and my knots are good I am more worried about breaking my rod than my tippet when fighting bigger fish.

Stripers don't run that hard so I haven't found that it's much of an issue. I always go as heavy as I can get away with for both fresh and salt but have never seen a striper played to the point of exhaustion. They are incredibly hearty fish - unlike blues.

A final thing to consider is the technology behind today's reels. IMHO a smooth, well set drag can shorten the fight immensely, beginning with the initial run....

My .02


09-23-2002, 03:43 PM
The rod shouldn't break unless it explodes at the butt - I guess that could happen on a 7 ro 8 weight with heavy tippet. If it breaks any further towards the tip then either the blank has a weakness or the angle is excessive. I managed to blow up my third Loomis GLX 9ft 9wt on a striper of about 15lb. I landed the fish too!

A straight-line pull gives maximum pressure at the hook. Adding 10 to 20 degrees of rod angle brings the butt into play and provides a bit of cushion but you quickly get into the area of diminishing returns - more flex equalls less pressure on the fish and more pressure on the rod towards the tip.

A rod is a lever, but not the regular sort. Regular levers tend to be of uniform thickness whereas fly rods are tapered and flex more towards the tip. The tapered design translates into tip speed and is great for casting nice tight loops. But tips are useless for playing fish (unless its a 2wt on 8x tippet). If you tried to lift a 10lb weight with the 12 inches of fly rod tip it would probably break. The butt section has no problem handling that kind of stress.

09-23-2002, 06:19 PM
Just my .02c based on quite a few years of largemouth tournament fishing. I seems that most monofilaments I have used have "magic" formulation points in their apparent breaking points or abrasion resistance. No scientific evidence but Stren Magnathin seems to transition from "thread" to "rope" between 8 and 10 lb. test. Trilene XT from "strong thread" to rope between 10 and 12 lb. test. Trilene Big Game from thread to rope between 10 and 15 lb test and again from rope to cable between 25 and 30 lb test. Standard Stren seems to be the best of all the brands at 6 lb. test but fails to compare well at other strengths. Anyone have any evidence on sweet spots in formulation on the various brands of flourocarbon?

09-23-2002, 06:42 PM
I bet I could land Adrian(swimming) on 20# in less than 10 minutes. With fifty pound test...I don't think that would be very sporting at all.

09-23-2002, 07:29 PM
Eddie, you could probably wear me down with 12lb - unless I've had a pint of Guinness! :hehe:

jfb, I can feel a series of controlled experiments coming on this winter ;)

Tod D
09-24-2002, 07:22 AM
Roop - great thread! Missed you Sat am, but you didn't miss anything except a beautiful moon-set over Scraggy Neck.

Terrific food for thought throughout the thread. This year I've gone almost exclusively to a set up of about 24" of 35# braided leader attached to anywhere from 3-5' of 20# flouro. I find the braided section helps turn over even the biggest flies. Went to 20# intuitively, as I favor getting the fish in quickly and putting the lumber to them. Also, Hawkeye's comment last year at the boneclave re flouro - along the lines of, if it's flouro what difference does relatively minimal changes in diameter btwn # tests make? - that really resonated with me.

Regarding field tests, I'm proud to report that I undertook a fairly rigorous battery of them over the past winter. I was able to subdue my 5-year old son w/ the above 35/20 set up. This came after multiple break offs w/ 12# flouro as he would get into my backing, then rub me off on one of the oak trees in our yard. My 3 yr old son proved to be a case in point for large arbor reels: couldn't land him as he'd run straight at me everytime.

09-24-2002, 07:55 AM

Sorry I didn;t make it, the roofing project really took it's toll on me.

I strongly suggest you conduct the field testing at home in an enclosed area. I was questioned by the police for doing the same with my oldest daughter after the neigbors "claim to have witnessed" me lift her by the lip when I got her to the side of my dinghy in the side yard. Barbless hooks really make a difference in that situation! ;)

09-24-2002, 08:52 AM
I will bring my 10 wt AND 12 wt. when fishing..say off South beach in 30 foot waters from a boat... The 12 wt. really helps to bring keeper size stripers to the boat fairly quickly...from the beach in usual situations... an 8 or 9 can still bring them in with the usual 16 or 20 pound tippet.

09-24-2002, 12:11 PM
Seems like most would agree that landing fish out of a boat in deeper water takes a lot more effort and heavy work due to a fish wanting dive to deeper depths. Only have caught albies from shore but I remember how hard it was in Hawaii to turn yellow fin from a boat when they dived deep.
This is a good thread and should make everyone who reads it start to think about what they can really do with equipment that is good working order. I think I agree with stiblue an 8 or 9 wt from shore should be able to land most stripers even up to 40 pounds if played right and a little luck. Just got to know where your breaking limit is and have quick reactions.
What is considered a fast release time for stripers. This summer while back your way landed a 41.5 inch striper in a little over 7 minutes on the 8wt gear I use for steelhead with 13.1 lb tippett. I really was able to put a lot of pressure on fish at times and keep his head coming towards shore. His runs were not that long and like most stripers very steady, even and slow as compared to a bonefish or even an albie. Was that around the average time for a striper that size to be brought in from a beach? Steelhead in the mid 30 inch range will come in in that time frame if you can keep them from tearing down river. I thought I was really working myself, rod and reel pretty hard but not sure, if that was too long, then next year will go with a 10 wt which will give me a little more ability to put more pressure on fish when I got him turned in the right direction.

09-24-2002, 02:10 PM
I'm thinking it would be fun to bring the #15 on the Rip Trip and see if someone can hook up, not let any line out & back up the beach to land the fish....

09-24-2002, 08:49 PM
Originally posted by Adrian
Eddie, you could probably wear me down with 12lb - unless I've had a pint of Guinness! :hehe:

jfb, I can feel a series of controlled experiments coming on this winter ;)

I saw a show on TV where someone used a fishing rod with 6# line to "fight" a swimmer. The swimmer couldn't even go the length of an olympic-sized pool.

As for diameter/strength differences between various weights of fluoro, I have two spools of Berkley Vanish: 20# and 12#. The 20# is only a little stiffer and larger in diameter than the 12#. I've never had any problems with weak knots, breakage or fraying with the 20# line except when bluefish are involved. A 5 turn improved clinch knot works fine. The 12# line is very unpredictable when it comes to tying knots. Improved clinch knots break very easily. Uni-knots work well if the knot tightens down just right, but any kinks and *snap*. I've also noticed that the 12# line starts to fray sometimes when I'm testing the knot strength. Little "curls" start to peel off of the previously unblemished line. Perhaps the 12# line has degraded due to age or light exposure, although I've had the 20# line for a year longer than the 12# line.

09-24-2002, 09:26 PM
One thing that I don't think has been mentioned is the importance of how one handles the fish when it is landed. I think this is much more important than how quickly it comes in or the equipment you are using. I am amazed at some of the guys on TV who will handle a fish with DRY HANDS and hold it in the air for five minutes. This is not good. The goal should be minimum handling, and minimum time out of water, if any. I try to not touch the fish, and grab the hook with forceps, one yank, and there they go. OF course I get into a conundrum when trying to take photos, which I must do, because otherwise no one would believe any of my fish stories.

09-24-2002, 10:18 PM
Jeff...bring the 15 wt on the Rip to cast it.

09-25-2002, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by striblue
Jeff...bring the 15 wt on the Rip to cast it.

No problem - it's fun to cast.

Maybe Adrian would volunteer to let us tie the leader to his belt and see if we can pull him out of the rip?

Was checking it out last night - it's a 14. Guess old age is getting to me.:hehe:

Dble Haul
09-29-2003, 12:54 PM
I'm bringing this one back to the top from about a year ago for two reasons:

First, the most recent issue of American Angler has an excellent piece from Art Scheck regarding this topic ("Put on the Pressure"). It touches on many of the bases covered here, in particular ROD ANGLE DURING THE FIGHT. Sideways does provide more leverage and pull because it shortens the effective lever for the fish to pull on.

Second, with the migration happening, it's timely and relevant. I reread the entire thing and feel refreshed with the info.

Your mileage may vary. :)

09-29-2003, 01:20 PM
I recall Lefty Kreh say the time he was at Harry's at Nauset Anglers..that when you fight a big fish you should put side pressure on... as was mentioned in previous posts... the more you increase the angle in an up right position the less pressure you put on the fish and the longer it takes to get in... You would think the angle is the same with side pressure but for some reason the line is being levered with the reel more so.... since you are not really putting in a great bend when you use side pressure... you are not arching your back and in fact you can see the difference even if you TRY to put a greater bend with side pressure... you just never really can.

09-29-2003, 04:48 PM
I think it has to do with what your fishing background is. If your a trout fisherman who has just gotten into saltwater flyfishing your used to not putting to much pressure on the fish. If your a bassfisherman and fish tournments you would want to bring the fish in as quickly as you can. It all boils down to your style of fishing. The tackle and gear can handle most of the fish we catch unless you get real lucky an get a big cow which will break you off anyway.

09-29-2003, 05:58 PM
Water temperature has a direct impact on C&R statistics. Get those summertime flats fish released ASAP.

09-29-2003, 06:57 PM
I generally use a 20# test leader and don't give an inch of line unless it is absolutely necessary. This generally enables me to bring the fish in pretty quickly, but then there's the problem of actually getting a hand on the fish. Once I have to start raising the rod tip or turning the rod sideways in order to get the fish within reach, that's when the trouble begins. I'm surprised that I haven't broken a rod yet with my clumsiness at the end of the battle.

One solution that I've found is to get the fish close and hold the rod in my left hand with the line clamped firmly against the grip. Then I try to take my camera out of my bag with my right hand and try to maneuver the fish into position so I can get a photo. The fish seldom cooperate and I usually have to steer them around for a little while as I try to compose the shot. By this time the fish usually comes off the hook and I don't have to go through the process of actually landing and unhooking the fish :hehe: . Sometimes I even manage to get a decent photo!


09-30-2003, 12:46 PM
This may sound odd, but I have found that I can use a very light weight rod (7' 3 weight, 5 wgt floaying line 6' of 20 lb mono as a leader) and still bring in large fish in very short order fishing from shore. As has been discussed here, if you point the rod at the fish, you can exert an incredible amount of pressure on the fish and it's easier to turn a fish by sweeping it sideways, parallel to the water. Here's what i do. I let the fish do one nice long run until he stops or can be gently turned, then I just reel him in. It's almost as though he doesn't think he's hooked anymore. In close to shore, I use the wave action to help bring him in to the wash. By using barbless hooks, the fish never leaves the water when I unhook and release it. Do I fish like this all the time? No. But it's nice to know that if that's the only rod in the car, and I see a pod of fish up close to the shore, that I can use it on 36"+ fish with confidence.

Dble Haul
09-30-2003, 12:54 PM
Just for clarity, are you saying that you land 36" fish in the surf with a seven foot, 3 weight rod? Or are you talking about a different rod later in the post?

09-30-2003, 01:35 PM
Yes I do us the 3 weight in the surf. Most of the bass I catch in the surf are in the wash or just outside the wash and all I need is a short 30' cast any way. And if I hook a 36" fish, it's not a problem. Landed/released several blues and bass in this range this past week. The blues were invited home for dinner and they were happy to oblige...

10-02-2003, 08:37 AM
Think about the 150# leader systems used on the GBFT, you know, the ones with the incredible eyesite! I'm coming full circle on tips and leaders, and going as heavy as I can tie and cast. I've been using 20# floro but I'm not convinced that it's necessary to do the floro routine. A certain friend of mine uses trilene 20# blue and catches a fair share of fish, even on the flats.
The quicker the better!