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Discussion Starter #1
I'm putting this here as it's for the legit fly tiers....

I love tying on hooks, love the look of the fly, the history of them etc.

On a recent trip fishing these flies on size 2,4 and 6 hooks (mostly 4's) I hooked 12 fish, got in 6...lost 3 on rocks (can accept that) lost 3 that ran and LLR me...and of the 6 i got in 3 I brought to my feet and looked at but didn't touch..

I landed my first fish ( a smaller steelhead) and then lost the next 4....I have never lost that many fish before in a row...
I talked to a few guys who are such solid steel headers I can really respect what they say and was told their catch/landed rate is around 60-65% on these flies.

One said..."Hey sometimes the fish get to win" which has really stuck with since...I keep saying that in the back of my mind but I CAN'T STAND LOSING FISH!!!!!

I got back from the trip and immediately sat at my vise trying to come up with some tubes that would emulate a classic fly..I got some that aren't bad but most are what one of my buds referred to tubes as "lures"

Also this past week I got my sweet "Little brother" Bruce and Walker powerlite 12'4 and took it out to put it through it's paces....I was trying what i would probably use in the harshest conditions and went through a few different tubes...ranging from sunrays to big black and blue muddler looking things with a ton of movement....hooked and landed this pig and the hook was set in the corner and while fighting the fish (great fight by the way) I saw it there and KNEW i wasn't going to lose this one..

SO...long story I know...but this has been gnawing at me since then...and I'm hoping to come up with something that still has the classical fly roots but with the reliablilty for me of the tube?

now in closing let me add this.. if your fishing for weeks or months at at a time on rivers with a chance at lots of steelhead so losing a few isn't a big deal then that's IMHO a mute point...

What are your thoughts and/or experiences?
 

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My percentage this year is lower than I normally expect too! Is it the moon? :confused: On my September Deschutes trip, I landed 4 and lost 3 (also lower fish numbers overall). Not sure why, but it messes with my head too.

Mark
 

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Hi Paul,

Generally speaking I have fewer fish come loose when they are hooked to a short shanked Owner size six hook that I trail on tubes and Sculpin flies than when hooked on longer shanked standard hooks. The caveat being that if the hook did not find a solid hold or I failed to drive it in a bit after the initial struggle began, they too come loose.

The standard hook I have had the very best of results with is the Partridge Bartleet in sizes 4 & 6; brace yourself, with the barb!

This past season I lost quite a few big fish and they were hooked to the small Owner hooks. For the higher numbers lost I can only guess it was just in the deal.

Ard


BTW; nice rod buddy looks like one of my own :)
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Been fishing tubes for a long time now (since 2000) and keeping track of my hooking/landing percentages since that time (steelhead--Chinook is a different ballgame). Overall my hooking/landing ratio has improved, but I still go through phases where I lose 'em a lot. The last time this happened I started experimenting with a bunch of different hooks until I found one that renewed my faith--the Daiichi 2451, size 4. Not exactly a small hook, but super sharp and strong with a long spear. Since switching to this hook my percentages have moved back into the above average range again. Overall since 2000 my average is about 75%. Prior to this I was about 60% with hook-tied flies.

If you get creative you can tie lots of good-looking patterns on tubes. The thin WD-40 type tubes work ok and are similar in diameter to a hook shank. I tend to tie most of my tubes in the round, but some of my flies have a dorsal-ventral configuration that swim well when set up with the right hook.

The "book" on tubes is that they hold better because you can use smaller short-shank hooks with them...but the Daiichi is every bit as long as a 7999 in the same size. I think it has a lot to do with the fine wire & long spear on this hook, and possibly the fact that once it is in there isn't anything else interfering with the hook's purchase as the tube detaches and slides up the leader away from the fish.
 

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I went through this dilemma a few years ago. I only was landing about half of the fish I hooked on traditional flies and it was driving me crazy. The problem was I was also using a bugger variation that had a bead head, tied on a TMC 700, that over several years was bringing about 90% of the fish hooked on it to hand. I had all but given up fishing flies tied on traditional hooks because of this, but I missed tying and fishing them. What was causing this huge difference? I wanted some answers.

I decided that it was the longer shank length of my traditional flies that was allowing fish, even ones that I could clearly see were well hooked, to get off. I tried tubes and stinger type flies with good success, but I just never really liked tying or fishing them. I then switched to shorter shanked and smaller (size 3, 5, and 7) AJ steelhead irons for my traditional patterns and my landing percentage jumped right up over 75% and has stayed there for the last three seasons. Not as good as the weighted buggers tied on the TMC 700, but very acceptable to me. Those flies ride hook point up because of the weight and almost every fish is hooked either in the corner of the jaw or in the upper jaw. I think the length of the hook shank and where a fish is hooked make the biggest differences in hooked to landed percentages.
 

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Instead of tubes why don't you try cut-shank style flies? You will be still tying on a traditional hook shank and you can incorporate the same wings, collars, etc. found on tradition flies.

Using size #2 Octopus stinger hooks off the back of these cut-shanks (tied Ed Ward style) I rarely lose a fish.

 

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60% give or take sounds about right. Totally anecdotal but I believe my percentage is higher with hooks in the 4 range and lower in the 1/0 range. Or 5 AJ compared to 1.5AJ.
 

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Yeah, my hooked-landed ratio is pretty good on small flies (7s, 8s, and smaller) but pretty average, say 50%, on larger hooks. Its just a lot easier for that long iron to torque ton out of a fish's mouth.
 

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While the hook is an important factor on landing percentage (I personally have highest 75% success with shank/octo hook combo) I think a big thing being overlooked here is where the fish is being hooked on the swing, water temp, and how much time the angler gives the fish on fish contact to when the hookset happens.

1) Location of bite on swing - dangle will have low percentage, mid swing higher
2) water temp - warmer the fish are more aggressive and higher % are in corner of mouth
3) hookset - quick hookset often has hook in lips, letting fish turn on the fly has higher probably of corner of jaw and high land %
 

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3) hookset - quick hookset often has hook in lips, letting fish turn on the fly has higher probably of corner of jaw and high land %
This is to me the dominant factor and low hanging fruit
 

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I decided this summer when I moved to Oregon I would only fish traditional style flies and so far I've stayed true with the exception of foam skaters but that hasn't helped my success rate one bit! I have touched exactly ZERO fish and it's not like I'm not hooking them! Honestly I don't care though, I truly enjoy fishing and tying the fancier stuff and for the next little while it will stay that way... I'm sure this winter I'll sneak on some big uglies since the deal with myself was for the summer!! Haha
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I fish shanks quite a bit...they are or were my go to fly

I like tubes as i can tie them in smaller sizes and they are an easier tie for me..

That said...Wrx, i was fishing summer fish in warmer temps that hammered the fly and I pretty much only fish grease line so am looking for the side of the mouth...my dangle percentages are horrible with most anything but that's a different story and i'm working on a new plan for that!!

I need to look at some different hooks that's for sure...I noticed one opened right up on an average sized fish but didn't notice it on any others...all seemed super sharp afterwards..

I guess the thing that I find very interesting is the average seems to be around 60-65% on standard ties...To enjoy the sport of tying these flies and accepting that the "fish gets to win sometimes" says quite a bit about those who do that IMHO....maybe one day i'll be among those ranks???

p.s. hooking and losing a nice fish on a lady C. doesn't seem to sting so much...ok, it did but was still really cool!!
 

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Hook selection -

I have told this story before but it warrants repeating. Years ago I was having coffee with Les Johnson and he asked me if I had been catching anything. I said I had recently hooked the biggest Skykomish fish of my life; a buck I was sure was 20 pounds and more. I told him how after a long fight and getting the fish in close twice, it made a run and the hook opened up. He asked what hook it was and I said a 1.5 AJ. At this point, he leaned across the table and playfully slapped my face and in true Les fashion said, "serves you right for fishing AJs".

Les was right. Certain hooks, AJs being one, tend to open up. In some cases I believe they spring open and then close up. This seems especially true at the larger sizes. I have had the 5 and 7 bend but still hold a fish.

Lately I have been fishing the Blue Heron hooks in the AJ 1.5 range and staying with AJs for smaller. The BH is a sticky sharp hook and seems strong as hell.
 

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The AJ's are a dilemma for sure. I've had the standard wire open up on me a buncha times just as Duggan said. I've never had the Steelhead AJ Iron open up, but it seems much less sticky from the get go than the standard wire., more missed strikes. I've never had the Blue Herons open up, they're really strong.
 

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Paul- the thing that jumped out for me is your statement "never lost 4 fish in a row" before.

You've been playing with house money all this time and didn't realize it!

Everyone goes through streaks. I just ended an 0-6 streak that was killing me. I don't care what hook anyone is using... you fish for steelhead long enough you will have painful streaks of lost fish. I know some really experienced swingers who have put up 0-8, 0-10 type streaks. It happens. It all evens out.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but switching to 100% tubes or Blue Herons or doubles or big hooks or small, you WILL lose 4 fish in a row again at some point :)
 

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Losing that bright august fish is surely a heartbreak, and sure, any number of factors play into the loss of a fish. As far has hookup percentage (in comparison to what?)...fish-to-hand percentage I'm about the 70 percentile. I still keep that rod tip high and work my way downstream of the fish (I know there are some authorities who move their rod from side to side in an effort to tire the fish more quickly...I've lost fish with that technique).

As far as hooks...well they don't stay sharp forever...I frequently check the point (a couple of bumps with bottom structure is all that is required to wear that keen point off)...and have appreciated the stout Kamasan hook over most others.

But ya know...many opinions man...wish you luck with your next outing...

In closing, sounds trite perhaps, but fish are "by-catch" for me (REALLY)...they are the product of a larger net that I cast over fraternity, a stogie, and good conversation, and a shared awe for these august fish...

Skin
 

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I'm with the punker on two fronts- fanatical hook sharpener, and fish for more than fish- rivers, atmosphere, and bourbon being my additional draws.

So far this year, I'm two for two, despite my most clumsy efforts. Both on one fly, on a blue heron hook. I went the way of tubes for a few years, wanting the short shank, fewer lost fish equation. But these days I tend to choose traditional bugs for places that are at least relatively snag free, and the tubes/shanks for places I'm more likely to hang up, catch rate be damned.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Paul- the thing that jumped out for me is your statement "never lost 4 fish in a row" before.

You've been playing with house money all this time and didn't realize it!

Everyone goes through streaks. I just ended an 0-6 streak that was killing me. I don't care what hook anyone is using... you fish for steelhead long enough you will have painful streaks of lost fish. I know some really experienced swingers who have put up 0-8, 0-10 type streaks. It happens. It all evens out.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but switching to 100% tubes or Blue Herons or doubles or big hooks or small, you WILL lose 4 fish in a row again at some point :)
This thread has me leafing back through my journals for more stats. Tom is right--even tubes will fail you. I went 1 for 6 a few years back. Over the years I've lost lots, but I seem to lose less--and less often--since switching to tubes.

Of course, I was a much more experienced angler when I made the switch, which could also have something to do with it, but that's another thread entirely.
 
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