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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hook placement and fly design

Hey there Speygers!
I'm guessing this topics been through the ringer a few times but I'd like to hear thoughts on this.
I've been actively tying for a couple years and something that's always stood out regarding "predator " or saltwater streamer design vs. Anadromous, and that's hook placement.
(I'm assuming single hook for the sake of this discussion.)
So this begs the question why?
Fish get swallowed head first by other fish when preyed upon and given the spines on say a sculpin it's no wonder.
So I'm deducing that when designing streamers for active feeders the hook should be placed forward.
I'm supposing that non actively feeding fish like salmon and steelhead in the river are perhaps only taking territorial nips at things that annoy them and not trying to swallow them and this is why hooks are placed at the back in intruders etc.

Does this ring true with you?
Am I just stating the obvious?
It took me a while🙄

This is on my mind as I'm working on a streamer pattern for swinging in large deep rivers. Targeting predatory trout and when scaled up (articulated) for chasing big bull trout. Most large steamer patterns just add more hooks but I want to fish areas that only allow singles.
I'm looking to emulate sculpins, whitefish, suckers etc. Basically bottom dwellers.
So my thinking is hook placed forward point up in this situation as I'll be dredging for the bulls.
Does this make sense?

So far I'm drawing on ideas from Galloup, Popovics, Chocklett, Brammer and trying to adapt them specifically to two hand swinging.
I feel like it's about to click.

Thoughts?
Additional reading/ video recomendations?

Thanks,
Lief
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 02:47 AM
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I have watched steelhead go after crayfish when the crayfish see that big fish coming at it them pinchers come up so the steelhead as a watched it would hit the crayfish from the side and then try for the tail end
to munch it down
I also have watched them darn pikeminnows go after fry and small trout they just grab the fish then keep chomping at it till they get the head in the mouth to swallow it
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
I have watched steelhead go after crayfish when the crayfish see that big fish coming at it them pinchers come up so the steelhead as a watched it would hit the crayfish from the side and then try for the tail end
to munch it down
I also have watched them darn pikeminnows go after fry and small trout they just grab the fish then keep chomping at it till they get the head in the mouth to swallow it
Thanks for chiming in, that's an interesting observation on the crayfish and totally makes sense.
I've often wondered why more trout and steelhead patterns aren't tied specifically to mimic crayfish it's definitely on my to do list. I bet a lot of what we tie as prawn patterns get eaten as crayfish.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 08:44 PM
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In clear waters I fish what most would consider low water patterns. For a bit I did experiment with some tied near the eye and others just ahead of the bend. Not exactly a highly replicated experimental design, but I did not notice any shift in hooking location or success. Mostly see hookups near the nose or front of the mouth with hits happening during the hang down. Side or corner of the mouth when nabbed early to late swing.

I've also witnessed a few different style of takes. 1. A simple rise and return to depth like a sipping trout, 2 A slight turn to the side circling down stream and back to the original locale, and 3. A waking run to one side in an attempt to run a fly down. These last ones are rather violent hits. The prior two just weight up a bit.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:21 AM
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Thanks Lief, This is what I was trying to figure out in my post "take the fly". I've reviewed a lot of videos and it seems trout come up from behind, eat the fly, and turn - hence the loop in hand.
I guess placing the hook near the rear helps with short strikes. We would likely hear about more bad hookups on the face of fish if they hit these long intruder style flies from the side and at the head. Most pike, muskie, and saltwater flies have a short strong hook with a long wing which is very different thinking. The main difference is still water vs flowing river.

As for emulating forage, a muddle minnow is supposed to look like a sculpin but with all the deer hair it is more of a subsurface fly. I would use a large 6' white and/or black streamer for bullies. I find large pools to hold bull trout and even a 24 incher can take down a 12" grayling head first. If trying to get deep I would use a heavier sink tip rather than heavily weighting the fly.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-20-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for chiming in RiverDood.
You make an interesting point about still water vs. flowing water. However I just can't help wondering if it's a species thing or active feeding vs. non active feeding thing.
I've heard from an excellent guide I fished with who chases BIG Bull trout on the upper Columbia that bulls hit broadside first and the really big ones eat big and are very aggressive.
Now he guides fishing the double hand and generally uses commercially tied white circuits peanuts etc. or something rabbit strip for clients because they just lose them anyway.
But that got me wondering about tying some big (8"-12") but light flies for the two hander and off down the rabbit hole I went.
So that's what led me to some of the saltwater and predator flies tied by Bob Popovics and the many flies he's inspired.
But they're all tied hook forward.
Hence the questions.
I guess I'll just have to test it out the old fashioned way.
Cheers!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2020, 11:37 AM
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Ive had this discussion before with others. I for one, tie traditionally. Meaning, the same way we have tied flys for years. That said, hear is a little info that may answer some questions.

While fishing summer/fall steelhead, way way up a system late in the season, for steelhead that for the most part, have been in the river for at least 2 months. The hook is rarely in the "scissors" of the jaw. Most fish seem to be hooked in the forward part of the mouth area. Some, right on the tip of the snout. To me, it would appear they are taking the fly quite delicately from behind. Takes seems to just stop the swing mid river with little to no violence. The line just goes tight. I find intruders with trailing hooks seem to get more fish than single irons (with bigger patterns.

Fresh winter fish (or fresh summer fish close to the salt) seem to just smash flys and take them sideways in the "scissors" of the mouth. Big takes and violent grabs. For these, I like my hook placement with intruders, closer to the mid body of the fly. With single irons, more forward dressings. My reasoning is from sight fishing observations. Ive seen steelhead move out of the way of an oncoming swung fly. Let it pass and hit it at great speed coming down river. Like a fast U-turn once the fly has passed. Crazies thing Ive ever seen. We all know that fresh salt fish are aggressive but I think few have ever seen the different angles of attack these fish can, and do use.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2020, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelheadfreak View Post
Ive had this discussion before with others. I for one, tie traditionally. Meaning, the same way we have tied flys for years. That said, hear is a little info that may answer some questions.

While fishing summer/fall steelhead, way way up a system late in the season, for steelhead that for the most part, have been in the river for at least 2 months. The hook is rarely in the "scissors" of the jaw. Most fish seem to be hooked in the forward part of the mouth area. Some, right on the tip of the snout. To me, it would appear they are taking the fly quite delicately from behind. Takes seems to just stop the swing mid river with little to no violence. The line just goes tight. I find intruders with trailing hooks seem to get more fish than single irons (with bigger patterns.

Fresh winter fish (or fresh summer fish close to the salt) seem to just smash flys and take them sideways in the "scissors" of the mouth. Big takes and violent grabs. For these, I like my hook placement with intruders, closer to the mid body of the fly. With single irons, more forward dressings. My reasoning is from sight fishing observations. Ive seen steelhead move out of the way of an oncoming swung fly. Let it pass and hit it at great speed coming down river. Like a fast U-turn once the fly has passed. Crazies thing Ive ever seen. We all know that fresh salt fish are aggressive but I think few have ever seen the different angles of attack these fish can, and do use.
Thanks for sharing your observations and insight.
So few steelhead takes are seen so it's always cool to picture it.
I love the mental image of the u-turn and smash you describe.
Cheers!
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