Monster on the fly... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Monster on the fly...

07-09-2001, 08:45 AM
The sun was getting high and the tide about to turn. The anticipation was high as three of us staked out a channel where we believed the fish would come in from the open sea. Seals lounged in the area, as if they expected something too.

I kept busy blind casting, and on one cast a large dark shadow appeared about midway thru the retrieve. We are not talking schoolie here, we're talking giant shadow.

I strip, it cruises over, strip harder, then start to strip as hard and fast as I can... I don't want to hook this thing.... it's way too big.... THWONK!!! Too Late!!! the line starts zinging out.... I'VE HOOKED A 400 POUND SEAL!!!!!

I have two witnesses, plain as day a large seal pursued and ate a deep sand eel in root beer colors. I cinched down the spool before it got too silly and the tippet exploded.

I'm sure that little barbless lipring got shaken off, the thing popped it's head up 20 yards later and I saw no decorations. It looked just like my dog after it did something bad, eyes sullen and indirect gaze.

Sadly, two seals on the rip walk the other day had blue lobster trap nets around their necks and it will only be a matter of time for them I am sure.

I've caught a number of stripers with seal injuries this year, mostly around the tail and caudal peduncle. This could just be an indication that the fish I encounter escaped whereby those that suffered a broadside hit never recovered to take my fly.

07-09-2001, 09:34 AM
What's the MA slot limit and how many does it take to make a nice coat? (joking joking)
I've had several near misses when using longer flat wing flys and always de-barb. The initial adrenalin rush when you see the "shadow" is quickly followed by the "oh no!" quick strip and tip jerk to get the fly outa' harms way.
I'm thinking about using only debarbed circle hooks when the furry critters are around...any thoughts?

p.s. Thanks for helping me get back to the boat!

07-09-2001, 09:43 AM
I only use barbless hooks, period. I've been yelled at by clients who didn't keep the rod bent and lost nice fish, but I don't mind. I've seen and dealt with too many barbed hook episodes in my life.

A barbless hook gone astray can be dealt with using my first aid kid. A swab and band-aid should do the trick. A barbed hook is often best left to the guys at the emergency ward.

Much better for the fish and any other species because you can release them so easily.

Judging by the number of fish I've been fortunate to land since making the barbless commitment many years ago in steelhead country, it's not the barb that lands the fish it's the bungee bend in the rod that keeps the fish hooked.

On topic I lost some really big fish yesterday once they got out there a mile into the backing in the rip. I noticed that they did not get off before switching to fly tied on a heavy wire S/S hook. I switched back to the original fly tied on a thinner wire 811s Tiemco 3/0 and only lost one between a 32", 31" and 37" fish.

I believe if you are going to use a heavy wire hook you might need to keep the barb and the risks associated with it to prevent loss of long running fish because it tends to wear a big hole.

I'll pay more attention to this in the future but I have reason to believe the thinner wire (high quality alloy) hooks fare better in barbless situations.


07-09-2001, 10:09 AM
Well Juro... that's says a lot about the deep sand eel.. if it can fool the seal then it must be perfect to the striper.

07-09-2001, 10:47 AM
Well Juro... Yes it is a good idea to smash down those barbs.

I guess you could say, "You have my SEAL of approval"

07-09-2001, 12:17 PM
speaking of barbed hooks, Flip told us about a barbed fly, a frenchman in a speedo and... OUCH!!! another time maybe... gives me pain to think about it. Tom D