Riflle Hitch - Fly Fishing Forum
Classic Atlantic Salmon No pursuit rivals salmon rivers, flies & legacy

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-18-2005, 11:47 AM
JDJones's Avatar
JDJones JDJones is offline
JD
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Rogue River So. Oregon
Posts: 641
Question Riflle Hitch

From which direction does a fish take a riffle hitched Fly? Does he chase after it? And take it from behind? And in doing so, does he then turn in a downstream direction to return to his lie? Or does he attack the fly head on, as most fish would, and then turn in the other direction?

And if a hitched fly swims on it's side, as Art Lee pertains in his book, Tying & Fishing the Riffling Hitch, this would dictate on which side to tie the hitch. Which is really what I am trying to determine here.

We've all heard tales of Salmon & Steelhead chasing a fly. But are they only playing with it? Do they then come at it head on when they finally decide to eat it? So that when they turn, or as the fly is drawn into the corner of their jaw,,,,which jaw????

According to Wood in Greased Line Fishing, the fish facing upstream, simply rises, inhales the fly, and the line pulling the fly towards the anglers bank, puts the fly in the corner of the (nearside) jaw. If the fish turns at all in taking the fly, it is assumed that he turns away from the angler, and in so doing, adds to his own demise.

Art Lee, on the other hand, contends that the fish follows the fly as it swims cross current, and upon taking the fly then turns downstream. Which puts the fly in the opposite jaw. Hense the controversy of which side to hitch the fly.

It should also be noted that Lee Wulff hitched his flies opposite of Art Lee. In fact, Lee brings up that fact in his book. It is left to speculation however, whether Wulff fished his fly in that manner because it was more effective, or more of a challenge.

Of course one could fish double hooks, or simply hitch the fly from below. But that would not answer the question. So lets hear from you. On which jaw is the fish hooked when taking a hitched fly? On which side do you tie the hitch?
__________________
I fish because the voices in my head tell me to
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 01-18-2005, 12:18 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
Pullin' Thread
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 3,346
JD,

I hitch the way Wulff did with the hitch coming off the bank side of the fly when the fly is pointed downstream. I do so because first that was how I learned how to do it from Wulff's writings on the hitch. Secondly I do so because it gets the fly up and riffling a little higher than Lee's method of putting the hitch on the opposite side of the bank when the fly is facing downstream.

As far as where the fish is hooked, I found most of them are hooked in the right side of the jaw when fishing right bank and left side when fishing left bank.

I know Lee says you have a better chance at a solid hookup with his opposite side method because the fish simply turns downstream after picking up the riffled fly. This would put the hook in the left jaw on river right and the right jaw on river left. Maybe so, but by putting the hitch on the opposite side like Lee advocates, the fish should be hooked in the opposite jaw from the river side you are fishing simply because that is the way the hook point is angled.

Therefore, I've come to the conclusion several years ago that hooking effectiveness isn't really any different with either method of placing the hitch, and that the most important thing is getting the fly up and swimming erratically as soon as possible. Since Wulff's method gets the fly up a little faster, helps keep the fly from drowning because the hitch is always pulling the hook eye up (whereas Lee's hitch is always pulling the hook eye down a bit), and keeping the fly broadside for the largest profile is most important to me, I use Wulff's method.

As far as putting the hitch on the bottom of the fly, it certainly works and keeps the fly riding high; but the fly doesn't have nearly as large a profile when the hitch is under the eye and not on either side. And since the only wets I use a hitch on are low-water wets, I want as large a profile as I can get. I also use the hitch with a bomber (I never fish a bomber without a hitch) to keep it up and swimming erratically all the way across the river.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3  
Old 01-18-2005, 03:25 PM
billg billg is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gaspe
Posts: 115
I use the riffle hitch quite a bit on the Gaspe with a great deal of success. I will point the fly upstream and then tie 2 half-hitches so that they come off the bank-side of the fly. I find that this is effective for 2 reasons. First, the second hitch keeps the first one from slipping off. Second, the fly planes just in the surface and the v-wake is very pronounced.

As far as hooking the fish goes, my experience is varied. Sometimes the hook ends up in the corner of the mouth, whereas other times the fly ends up in the middle of the mouth. I never figured that out until this past season. I had a couple of guys fishing a small pool on the Grande River. The run is narrow and has an easy flow of water. The angler was working his way down and I was 30 feet below him and 10 feet below where his fly was swinging.

As the fly came across the run a grilse rose straight up, stuck his head out of the water, and took the fly. What is memorable about this take is that when the head came out of the water there was a "pop" sound that was made-- just like a bluegill makes on a popper. The other angler and I wacthed this whole episode and started laughing when we heard the "pop". Ironically, the angler was looking into a glare and could not see the fly or v-wake but heard the take!

The other observation I have is that when a salmon takes a hitched fly I see the head and back out of the water; it is pretty amazing. One word of advice; don't set the hook when you see the head and/or back.

Bill Greiner
Malbaie River Outfitters
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #4  
Old 01-18-2005, 03:29 PM
SparseHairHackl SparseHairHackl is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 171
I fish surface flies 80-90% of the time for summer steelhead, and I am always using riffle hitched hair flies. I've had the fish take the fly seemingly every way imaginable--sips, head-and-tail, explosions, follows and grabs, and wait until it passes and chase it downstream like a torpedo. So, I don't think one can generalize about how steelhead take a waking fly; Atlantic salmon may be different.

I hitch like Lee, but I have the leader come off the bottom. Since I'm fishing hair flies, the profile is already significant, but I'll still vary the size of fly depending on water depth and speed. I'm not certain if that matters, but I'm pretty convinced that having smaller flies to follow-up to a "player" is very helpful.

--Bill
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5  
Old 01-18-2005, 09:55 PM
wrke wrke is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Many. From NE salt, Russia, Canadian A Salmon, NW Steelhead, Bahamas, Keys. Live in Upstate NY
Posts: 792
I agree with Sparse. I've had both steelhead and Atlantics take the fly many different ways. I've had some follow across stream and take from below, some let it pass then rush downstream and take it headed downstream. I can't predict. I generally hitch on the side of the fly I'm fishing it from.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6  
Old 01-19-2005, 10:50 AM
Earle Fletcher Earle Fletcher is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Florida & New Brunswick
Posts: 80
The "Hitch" - my favorite

I have fished the "hitch" since 1964. I learned it from my guide Clifford House on Portland Creek, Newfoundland. He taught me to place 2 half hitches on the opposite side of the head just as described in Lee Wulff's book. He also instructed me to strike the moment I detected any movement in the vicinity of my waking fly. I have had lots of success with this method in many different rivers for Atlantic Salmon only. I have never fished for steelhead. Sometimes when changing to the other side of the river, I wouldn't bother to change the hitches to the other side of the fly head. It didn't seem to make any difference to the salmon.

After reading Art Lee's book on fishing the "hitch", I changed to placing the hitches on the near side of the head. He made the point that the position of the hook would pull into the corner of the jaw when the salmon turned to back into its lie, resulting in more successful hookups. I can't say I've lost fewer salmon since using Art's method, but his theory sounds good to me.

When to strike or not to strike the take is a question that depends upon the intent of the salmon and the nature of the water you are fishing. Usually in fast water the take is so fast you don't have time to strike, and in slower water the strike is more delibrate. Sometimes there is an explosion without any pull on your line. However, the advice to strike whenever you see movement near your fly does have merrit. I have found many times a salmon will take the fly straight on and not quickly turn. If you don't strike this take, you will probably end up with just a pricked fish. Depending upon the water conditions, quite often you will see the salmon open its mouth. You won't feel a thing, but I will guarentee the fly is in there. After a while, you seem to develop a sense of whether to strike or let it ride, just like in dry fly fishing.

The riffling hitch is my favorite way to fish for Atlantic Salmon; and other than the dry fly, is the most exiciting way to hook a salmon, much more so than just swinging a wet fly. My favorite patterns are Green Butt, Blue Charm and Thunder and Lightning tied in size 4, 6 and 8 on Tiemco #7989 light wire salmon/steelhead hooks.

Earle Fletcher

P.S. Bill, I have taken salmon on the Dartmouth, York and St.-Jean rivers using the "hitch".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #7  
Old 01-19-2005, 10:57 AM
JDJones's Avatar
JDJones JDJones is offline
JD
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Rogue River So. Oregon
Posts: 641
Question what is going on

Everyone who has replied to this thread is online now. Thanks for the replies guys. But why aren't we all out fishing? Me? I'm about to fix that as soon as I finish a cup of coffee and get dressed.
__________________
I fish because the voices in my head tell me to
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #8  
Old 01-19-2005, 11:18 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
Pullin' Thread
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 3,346
JD,

That one is easy for me to answer today. Our rivers in Western Washington are at or over flood stage! And there is more rain forecast to come in later this afternoon or tonight that will push them back up even higher. It looks like it will be a week or two before there is fishable water again with this "pineapple express".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #9  
Old 01-19-2005, 11:26 AM
billg billg is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gaspe
Posts: 115
It is tough for warm-weather anglers like myself to get out and fish in 20 degree weather. Give me 70 degrees with a light breeze and I am on the water!

Earle:

You are certainly in the minority of Gaspe anglers who fish a hitched-fly. Those who do fish a hitch have generally been exposed to it in Labrdaor, Newfoundland, or overseas. Most of the guides (not all) on the Gaspe are either unwilling to recomend it or are not familiar with it.

My personal favorites are a blue charm, green machine with a white tail, nighthawk, and hary mary.

You are right on with the take; very exciting and hard to beat. For me, the strikes from a salmon on a hitched fly or stripped fly are the most exciting.

Bill Greiner
Malbaie River Outfitters
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #10  
Old 01-19-2005, 11:48 AM
GPearson GPearson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Idaho,Washington,B.C.
Posts: 118
I fish the hitch as often as I can with both dries and wets using Wulff's method. To me an important part of the process is to tie the hitch and toss the fly into the currant holding onto the tippet and watch the fly on this little mini swing to find a consistant and desirable fly posistion. With just very minor adjustments the flies orientation will change.

With Art Lee's method the fly swims backward at the latter part of the swing. Not to many things in nature swim backward toward the beach. That never seemed right to me.

Greg
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #11  
Old 01-19-2005, 06:14 PM
Topher Browne Topher Browne is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Canadian Maritimes
Posts: 176
Everyone that I fish with in Labrador--Canadians one and all--puts two hitches directly UNDER the eye of an up-turned salmon iron; it fishes the same from both sides of the river, and solves the "wrong end" dilemma that GPearson describes.

If a fish rises to a hitched fly but does not take, remove the hitch and fish the same fly as a standard wet. It's a built-in "closer."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #12  
Old 01-20-2005, 12:42 PM
wilbert wilbert is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: uk, Ribble,Hodder,Lune
Posts: 45
I have only fished with a hitched fly on a few occasions and found it to be a very exciting way of fishing. The only concern i have is with the hitch itself, does this weaken the leader (tipet) in the same way as wind knot. the reason that i ask this is because a large fish snapped my line at the hitch. The fish had been on for approx 5 minutes and was probably on its 5th or 6th run and the drag wasn't set too tight for the line i was using at the time. The line broke too easily for the braking strain it was rated at. Has anyone else had problems with the hitch or do i need to brush up on my knot tying.

Dave.

Last edited by wilbert; 01-20-2005 at 12:43 PM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #13  
Old 01-20-2005, 08:43 PM
Earle Fletcher Earle Fletcher is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Florida & New Brunswick
Posts: 80
Leader size for the "hitch"

Wilbert, I'm glad you brought up leader strength after tying the hitches. It does weaken the leader. You shoulden't use anything less than 12# test. I've caught a lot of salmon using 15# Maxima. Salmon don't seem to be leader shy, especially in fast water. On the Pinware River last summer I used 14-1/2 # Mirage.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #14  
Old 01-20-2005, 09:42 PM
billg billg is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gaspe
Posts: 115
I fish maxima leaders and tippets exclusively (I find that they withstand nicks and are much more enviromental friendly) and go down to 6lb. Most of the time I hitch in August and September on lower water and on small flies and light leaders. I have never broken the leader on a hitched fly. I do not know if it is because I double up the hitch.

Bill Greiner
Malbaie River Outfitters
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #15  
Old 01-21-2005, 12:13 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
Pullin' Thread
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 3,346
Like you Bill, I've never broken a tippet on a hitched fly and I use 8# tippet duing summer/fall low water time here in the pacific northwest. I also use a double hitch and did so from the beginning of using a hitch. I figured it would keep the tippet from sliding off the hook eye and forming a wind knot.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Fly Fishing Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Riffling Hitch + "Waking" Drys Venture Classic Atlantic Salmon 12 07-20-2006 05:04 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:01 AM.



Copyright Flyfishingforum.com (All Rights Reserved)