Loop or tight to reel for trout? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Loop or tight to reel for trout?

I know the whole carry a loop or fish tight to the reel thing has been beaten to death on the steelhead topic, but what about when swinging for trout? I've been doing lots of swinging lately with my trout Spey, mostly softhackles and small sculpins, and I've been curious what the theories are for trout. I imagine most probably just do one or the other simply out of habit. Thanks for the help!

Tight Lines,
Gary
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:21 PM
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I have also been swinging muddlers, wets, and soft hackles for cutthroat the past few weeks with my 4wt two-hander. I was fooling around with loops, no loops, etc. I found that many fish would spit the fly out if I did not set the hook, so I ended up with no loop and setting the hook like I would a single hand rod. These are 10-15" cutthroat, not big rainbows or browns, so not sure what is best on larger fish.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:29 PM
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I think no loop is clearly the default for trout. I've never head of anyone recommending anything else. On the other hand, depending on the fish, the conditions, and which part of the swing you are in giving the fly some motion, not necessarily only stripping, just twitching, is a great tactic for trout on the swing. Try everything until you find something that is working. Id say having no loop, with line often in your upper hand and giving the gentlest of strip sets when you feel a strike is near the center of the bell curve covering the "default" territory for trout swinging. It's great fun!

Steelhead have been conditioned to grab seagoing prey like squid that are good swimers. So the take are sometimes complicated by very high velocities. There may be some flies where trout might do that kind of take, but if you are using a nymph imitation most trout will often take it very casually and a loop would be terrible. I was fishing at the Fall River in CA a few days ago and that would be the extreme example where we were swinging very small nymphs in spring water on 20' leaders and the fish would slowly come up after them from as much as 10 or 15 feet away. They sucked them up so easy that the grabs of 20" fish usually felt like the fly was pulling over an underwater plant or something - at least until they felt the hook. If you had a loop in that case you would probably never catch anything and never even know you had take in a lot of cases.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:58 PM
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When I started swinging soft hackles on the Yellowstone I was amazed at how hard the fish often hit, frequently braking the fly off the tippet. A small loop might have helped. Stronger tippets, and a softer rod did.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Sky Dave View Post
When I started swinging soft hackles on the Yellowstone I was amazed at how hard the fish often hit, frequently braking the fly off the tippet. A small loop might have helped. Stronger tippets, and a softer rod did.
Sound like cool fish! I sometimes find small fish are the most aggressive, maybe because they get kicked out of all the best lies and have an inferiority complex. To be clear, the loop used for steelhead is not generally used as a cushion on the take, but to keep from prematurely pulling the fly out of its mouth. I learned a new trick for cushioning a hard strike from our guide last week. I don't have enough experience to say how popular this is, but have never seen it before now. He likes to tie a closing loop knot, but tight enough that it will not pull tight unless enough force is used. He claimed that this cushions some takes - we were using 6x. After catching a fish he would check the loops and if they were closed he would try to reopen them a bit for the next fish. If he couldn't he would cut and retie.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 06:31 PM
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I've been swinging flies for trout for quite a few years now. Mostly for large browns, and especially in the Spring and Fall. And mostly in Montana, including stretches of the Yellowstone and Madison. For this fishing, I've found that carrying a loop that hangs down perhaps 12" - 15" or so has greatly increased my hookup rate.

Starting last year I've been using a 3wt. 2-hander to fish mostly soft hackle flies through the summer, mostly for smaller fish. In this case, a 'loop' that's quite small may help a little, but a line that's tight to the reel seems to do alright as well.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 05:54 AM
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I have been doing this swing with streamers and wets for a lot of years with my single hand rods, always with a small loop. It allows the fish to suck in the fly and also cushions it a bit when they slam it. I never did really well with a tight line, I guess a lot of people would refer to this as feeling like a short strike, so it's a loop for me and a lot less of those frustrating nibbles.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 12:30 PM
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Very interesting you guys. I'm usually using a light clicker reel, totally un-tightened with my rod tip pointed at the line so maybe I am cheating (do everything with my free hand "old school") but I think I might like to meet some of those trout that can break tippett on the strike!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 12:34 PM
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I fish with and without the loop depending on the river and fish im targeting. For bulls i use a small loop if im swinging through some nice water easy to strip at the end if i want to as well. Find some of the bulls kind of nibble as the chase it sometimes and the loop never lets me down. For bows i just let it go right to the reel if you have a decent drag youll be good to go
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 05:19 PM
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Still undersided

Swinging soft hackles on single handers lately and have a small loop with enough finger tension to set or to slip if the take is aggressive, still lost enough fish busting me off though fault lies partly having a short line and rod tip tracking the swing, just no give in the system when 3-4lb of muscle feels the prick of the hook, just the flick of their head when you set and ping!!
With a DHer in slow water my general rule is no loop and on bigger faster runs you will find me with a loop with controlled tension so I can set or slip if need be, to react in time if possible, to the type of take.
I fish clickers and disc, set on minimum.
If I didn't loose any I think I would of given up long ago
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2016, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses. Ive been playing with a few different styles. Ended up braking lots of fish off on the take when I carried a loop. But when fishing tight to the reel, they seemed to stay on since the light set drag provided ample cushion.

Tight Lines,
Gary
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