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Roop 09-19-2002 08:48 AM

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


steelheadmike 09-19-2002 09:35 AM

Fully Agree
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.

Smcdermott 09-19-2002 10:06 AM

How much pressure?
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.

Nick 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.

Smcdermott 09-19-2002 11:01 AM

Gallon of milk...
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.


FredA 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.

Eddie 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.

Lefty 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.


capt_gordon 09-19-2002 12:58 PM

40 lb tippet
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:

Nick 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.


Eddie 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!

Quentin 09-19-2002 06:47 PM

Must have balance . . .
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.


Quentin 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.


B.C.fisherman 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..

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