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EAT IT!!!
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, here goes. After the informative and lengthy discourse on how we get grabbed, how about a thread on how we go about stickin' em'.
I mostly fish floating lines and flies near the surface film both for trout and Steelhead. In both cases I hold a loop of line under my finger and "let ity slide" when I am feeling something funny. Well that is the plan anyway. Sometimes my nerves get the better of me, especially early in the fall when my dry fly hook set has been honed to rapid fire for fishing the Madison. The first couple days of swinging, I often miss everything until I train myself back into "giving it to them."
After the loop of line gets pulled out, I normally lift up to tighten on the fish if I still feel weight. With Steelhead, I will often set fairly hard, with the trout here, that doesn't seem to work. I mostly fish low water salmon hooks for steelhead and standard length down eye nymph hooks for swinging the trout. I have no idea my hooking percentage. I know for a fact that I am a lot higher on Steelhead than I am the trout. And after a bump bump, I have a lot better percentage of come backers with Steelhead. Keep in mind these are summer fish, in reasonably warm water. The trout I swing for often take the fly very quickly and with a lot of violence, much faster than a steelhead, but very often they get rid of it just as fast. Well, that is my story, what works best for each of you??
 

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Skidrow Woolley Fly Club
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I was told by a local entertainer turned pro and 1 time avid steelheader that you must bow to the fish during the take just as one would bow to the audience during the apllause.
 

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climb on

so many ways;i've had em' just mouth the fly,ever so slightly,,insummer,slower water,guess that's why i don't like bobbers,they can be super quick,taste,,,,boom,,, puff it right out,,,insummer,once they have it in their mouth,,,what DO they see,?,,hmmm,a LINE,,connected to my mouth!!!!,hmmm,a real need to double haul the hookset,,,,but it's a metabolism thing,,that's my study,i know ,for fact where the `trout' hold pertaining to water temp,one CAN learn alot from a very small section of home waters,,,,,,,,,,with mebigtwohanders,,i tye flies that do the work,,,hair wings rarely qualify anymore,,i'm still using them for sure,but,i consider them fastwater patterns,,dirty water,,,i wait for em' to climb on,,,now,and with 40 ft long rods you can easily stick em',*,,maybe that's another reason i fish doubles????,barbs pinched halfway down,,they either catch the train or,they miss dinner!!!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,not really:hehe:
 

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Dry line or tips I behave according to the take. I hope for and love the idiot proof takes, bam, fish on and running,just pull tight and lift the rod. On the takes where the line just gets tighter and tighter I slowly pull straight back WITHOUT a sharp tug on the end lick you would on a strip set for bonefish. Usually as I am pulling back the fish takes off and sets the hook. On the bump, bumps I do about the same except if I do not feel the weight of the fish I push my hand forward and sometimes the bump comes back. If the bump does not come back it often times does come back on the next cast. If not and nobody is following me through the run, I will back up and continue down. A lot of time I find the fish again but it (or another fish) is 10-15' below the original taking area.

I should mention that I am fishing what i would call a tight line. I cast and then make one mend if needed and drop the rod tip to the water and casually let it follow the line across the currant. Some currants will form a belly others will not. Either way the tension of the line on the water keeps me in contact with the fly.

As for dropping a loop...I used to do this with a dry line but I hated it when a fish had my fly in his mouth and dropped it before the loop went tight. It is like a mystery, will the fish be there? When they are, it is a cool feeling. But when they are not, it is a mystery why I am using the mystery loop. This reminds me of fishing with a great Atlantic salmon guide who yelled at me for not setting the hook immediatly on a fish that took my dead drifted dry fly. He said "oly s**t over, what the f*** was that?" I said that I was waiting a second to let the fish take the fly under the surface. His reply was "what the **** for he has the ****ing fly? Set the ****ing hook you ****-a-face." Even though this is a completely different situation then steelhead fishing I thought it was a good point. If the fish has your fly react if you can to the situation. This being said, I do fish with a lot of folks who are much better off to do absolutely nothing. Just stand there until your reel is making a bunch of noise. We all know our own amount of jumpiness so it is up to each of us to go with our strengths. I have a friend that fishes with his Tibor almost looked tight and he doesn't do anything but let the fish tug the drag and take off. I have rarely seen him lose a fish and he doesn't seem to get as many bumps as others either. I can't figure that one out.

For 10 years I have been organizing and taking groups of people to fish at lodges in both B.C. and Quebec. I have witnessed a lot of them getting there first several grabs with a two handed rod and I would say that the absolute kiss of death is lifting the rod prematurely. Especially with the two handers. I generally keep my rod pointed at the fish until I am playing a tug a war with him a while.

Steelhead takes are far and few between for me so i work on the same methods with trout. Several years ago my buddy Todd Hopkins got excited about fishing soft hackles. This was how my grandfather started me fishing 25 years ago but I hadn't fished this way in a long time. I remember my Grandad fishing wets with his rod elevated to a 45 degree angle. I fished this way and had a lot of hard hitting takes but had a hard time hooking trout. I thought about the differences in tackle form his era to mine and thought that maybe the old timers fished like that because if they did not they would break fish off on the take because their silk lines have zero stretch. Modern day plastic lines have a lot of stretch, 15-20% I believe. Especially with small trout of 10-12" they could hit the fly very hard but spring themselves right off. (So I believe that the mass of the fish has something to do with it. Larger trout are easier to hook and it is less critical with large fish like steelhead.) So I started fishing the swung fly with the rod tip in the water and thinking to myself "nice and easy, pull the stretch out" whenever a fish took and I started hooking a lot more fish. Now when I guide I love to teach folks how to spey cast with their trout rods and how to hook fish on the swung fly. It is a lost art in these parts but I really enjoy fishing this way after staring at clients dry flies all day everyday. Usually the method takes a bit to get used to. Most folks will only land 2 out of the first 10 fish but after they get used to it they with reverse that to 8 of 10 or so. The past several years i have been applying the same technics to steelhead fishing and it seems to be working. But like I mentioned before I am probably due for a fish farming streek.

O my god! Who would of thunk that a dirt bag fly fishing guide could type so much. Sorry guys for the length of this rubbish.

Greg
 

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Charlie, roger that .. at least I do.

Charlie said:
Hammer,

Do you guys fish doubles on the west coast? I didn't think they where legal over in your neck of the woods.

Charlie:confused:
Not very common to see fly's tied on 'double' here on the Rogue, but suspect it has more to do with the price of the hooks, rather than anything else. For the 'price' of 25 doubles, you could probably buy a pack of 100 of almost anything else.

Double hooks are 'my answer' to short strikers (the 'bump-bump' guys). Only thing that's really important is that the bend of the hook extend beyond the body of the fly. Fish will almost always hook themselves.

Roger on the above comment of keeping a dropper loop under your finger if your fishing at, or very close, to the surface. As was related to me (like Bass) when the fish closes his mouth he 'wooshs water' away from him (moves the fly out of his mouth). The dropping of the 6-12 inches of line tends to let the fly drop back into his mouth.

Or so I'm told.
:smokin:

"I should mention that I am fishing what i would call a tight line. I cast and then make one mend if needed and drop the rod tip to the water and casually let it follow the line across the currant. Some currants will form a belly others will not. Either way the tension of the line on the water keeps me in contact with the fly. "

Greg, you'd fit in nicely here on the Rogue.
fae
 

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greg

you've a ride anytime ,,,,no offens fred but `the fish hook themselves'' yes they often do ,but,,i've had `loner's',,you know,,,,you see a fish way down river,working,,,queitly,,,,,,slide down,,,,drop the stopper ,,,quetly,,work the section,,,,,they CAN be quite cagey,,,a worthy prey,,,,,,very exciting,,sometimes,,,they are pushovers,,they just attack instantly,,but ,,,,,well,, enough!,,please let me outa' here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eyecrazy: :chuckle:
 

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chrome-magnon man
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lazy and sleepy most of the time

With floating lines I don't do much, unless the water is cold, and then I tighten up by sweeping sideways toward the bank.

Sink tips in warm water I don't do anything, but in colder water the sideways sweep is my standard move, though I usually wait for the second "bump" before I do anything.

Hmmm...well, so I guess what I'm kinda saying is I don't usually do anything, unless I think I should, and then I do it late rather than early, which probably means that the fish is already hooked anyways.

I think.
 

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I am afraid to comment on how many hours I have spent debating this issue with a good friend. There are daily theories formulated while taking a mid afternoon escape from work to talk steelhead. Also, nothing better to do with your time while driving 10 to 14 hours eagerly anticipating river time.

From the daily escapes, there is one profound point that I always take to heart. "Think about it this way: If you are having a slow week, where you are lucky to get a grab or two for 100 hours of casting, think of the difference in the statistical angling outcome of your week if you Hook that/those fish or go home with that empty feeling of thinking 'what if'. There is such a small margin that can make a huge difference." Point is, there is much to be done that affects whether those grabs are translated into hook ups and the next step of turning them into fish photos for your buddies albums.

For summer surface/near surface steelhead fishing I too fish my line tight with the rod tip right at the river's suface. I have also found that running a loop, and dropping it with the take, has DRAMATICALLY improved landing ratios. Over the past 100 days on the water, since changing from no loop to dropping, my landing ration has risen by approx. 20% resulting in nearly 80% to hand.

The loop has not appreciably (but has gone up a few points) changed the grab to hook up ratio- only the landing ratio with single hooks. If fishing light wire needles there is nothing to do but wait for the weight, they set themselves. If fishing HEAVY wire hooks (Mustad 7999) it seems important to really set on them once they have it. Not by lifting and creating a bend, but a shallow angle jab while pulling mostly back and slightly to the side towards shore. A strong drag setting is your best friend in this situation. Don't be timid when setting a heavy iron as the rod leverage and line stretch makes it tough to put pressure at the point of attack.

That is what works for me...

William
 

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EAT IT!!!
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Discussion Starter #10
Greg, I am curious about you teaching clients to hook fish on the swing. I guide occasionally for lake run trout in the fall (when I am not off chasing them myself) and the most frustrating thing in the world is watching someone work so hard to get a grab and immediatly jerk the rod tip up and miss the fish. These are really nice 16'' + trout and far larger than most of my clients have ever had the fun time to tangle with. I try to will them into a fish or two, as the late season fishing is never consistant, but ahhhhhhh, so often the fish grab and the fly is quickly pulled out of their mouths no matter what sort of instruction I give them. I have gone as far as walking them through it, grabbing the end of the fly line and having them practice. Well, occasionally we get lucky. By the time I am swinging for Lake runs, the guiding is pretty slow around here so I don't do too many of these trips.
Your reflections about your Salmon guide are pretty humerous. Nothing like being made to feel like an idiot for missing a fish. As if you didn't really want to hook it:p
Also you said that often you pick up a fish, or the same fish about 10-15 feet below where you intitially had a grab. I have found this to be very, very common as well with Steelhead. A good friend of mine with much more steelhead fishing under his belt than I have had, said that he will cast short on a fish that bumps, then back to the same spot, then lenghten up a few casts in a row. He felt that about 80 percent of the time, the fish would drop downstream after a pass on his fly and often move further out into the river. My own experence would say that his observations were dead on.
Dana, sounds like you sorta just hang on and if you get a feeling to do something, you do it. Heck if it works! I personally need a game plan to stick to, I can't just go by the seat of my pants. Given my limited mental capacity it needs to be a simple one at that!:hehe:
Inland, you can't be more right about the importance of making the most of each grab. I am not a fish counter and when I swing most of the fun to me is in the method, rather than the results. But ever Steelhead, or in my case big lake run trout, can make a day. Making the grabs count and getting these fish on, so they can perform adds so much to the fun and excitement. When you are swinging for a grab a day, getting that fish stuck is huge!
Thanks to everyone for their insights. As always any others are welcome!:)
 

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Doc Swing, I to will sometimes practice with folks, walking 30' away and talking with them casually and then yank the line. Some jerk others freeze. When I get in the river and we are fishing I still think that they will get it so I instruct them to as mentioned before. But, after see someone jerk the fly right out of the mouth of several fish I change tactics. I tell them that I have a special technic for the "hopeless". (by this point I should know my clients well and can tell wether they will laugh when I call them hopeless or not. If I think they will be offended then i put it another way "I now have a special technic for those with lightning fast reflexes." This will certainly make me giggle, even if it is just to myself. The Special Soft Hackle for Trout Technic for The Hopeless.....set their drag very loose and don't let them fish holding the line. The line comes right off the reel so that when they get the hard pull and they jerk with bass master stregth...the trout is just out there yawning still thinking that it caught a tasty morsel. If they are truly hopeless they will fish this way the rest of the time, but most folks feel kind of silly doing a tarpon set and then having slack line go in all directions and at the end of it all and despite themselves they still land the trout. After that they start to ease out of the yips. It is like dropping a loop for steelhead, it gives an angler a quick reaction to the situation that might otherwise have the yips and miss fish. I love guiding folks who have fly fished for years and never tried swinging flies. They are standing there thinking about dead drifts and such and how this method couldn't possible work and then whamo! a hard yank and I can watch the electricity go up the line into the rod up the arm and neck and directly into the brain. Convert. they usually say something like "man, they really hit it hard."

Side note...there is nothing wrong with getting the yips, that is just excitement. I love fishing with folks who get that excited, it gets me excited. Especially when you can find away to go nuts and still land fish.

Cheers, Greg
 

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EAT IT!!!
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Discussion Starter #12
Greg, had not thought of that. Thanks, you can be sure that I will use it to full advantage. It is funny, normally on the Madison where I guide and fish all summer, you literally can not set the hook fast enough (dries and nymphing) All summer I am trying to get people to set quicker and harder. Come fall, when I am swinging, it is the complete opposite and I am trying to teach people to give it to the fish. Your right about nothing being wrong with the yips, but then again, it is nice to get a few of them stuck.
 

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Thanks to this thread, especially the recent posts, I my have to change to a new handle -- "YIPS" !

I am definitely one of the hopeless. I was fine fishing wets--leave a little slack, let it swing, watch the hillside, and wait for the yank.

But dries...they are my new demon. I started out ok the first couple of years or so, because I really didn't expect to move a steelhead to my dry, so when I did, I just looked astonished for a moment, then set the hook.

But the more fish I moved, the more I expected to move. The more I expected it, the more I focused on the fly, the more anticipation and antsy I became. The last couple years....Let's just say that my hookup ratio is beyond embarrassing!

Dries. I love 'em, I move more than my fair share of steelhead with 'em, but...I've got the yips. BAD.

--Bill
 
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