SCOTTISH WORM-CRAWL, ANYONE?
I'm a bit surprised to see a discussion of hooks and fish hooking success rates without any mention of the word "retrieve" or "hook file".
I've fly fished for Atlantic salmon and steelhead for almost thirty years now and I have never dead drifted a dull pointed fly for either species (at least not when Iím on my game). When I hear the phrase "long distance release" I immediately think to myself: "asleep at the wheel", or "dull hook" or "dead drifting fly while overly absorbed in fluviatile scenery".
When I find someone else's flies hooked to a tree branch, just for amusement I always check the point of the fly on my thumbnail. These are the fancy flies the cool dudes are using these days. Holy Cow -- 80 % of the time the hook points are dull! So it comes down to this: whether you're fishing one hook, two hooks or three, are they sticky sharp? And how are you retrieving that hook, if at all?
I wear a stripping glove on my right hand. Always have. Every cast I've ever made in my life is allowed to free drift only for a very short while. The rest of the time the fly is stripped back towards my rod tip, the line being pulled over my right hand trigger finger with my left hand. Whether it's a floater or a sinker, there is a continual almost imperceptible retrieve. And I never lift the rod tip on a set. I jerk the line downwards with my left hand over the trigger finger of my right hand, leaving the rod tip pointed straight at my fly and the fish that decided to take a pass at it.
As a child I remember calling this type of retrieval "the Scottish Worm Crawl". As an adult I call this form of retrieving a sharp single hooked fly over my trigger finger as "95% beach rate". The remaining 5 %? I call that "Oh Well".
Treble hooks? Three times the trouble. And Iím appalled they werenít banned years ago. Not because they are so aesthetically obscene stuck in a fishís face. Itís because they are not a good tool for the job.