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Discussion Starter #1
Why did the steelhead come unhooked? It seems when I loose a steelhead it will be many in a row. Then I will have a streak where I will land many in a row. When I am on a loosing streak I think what am I doing wrong? Is the hook too big, too small am I setting the hook too soon. Should I give him some slack line? Is my hook too dull? Once the fish is on for 10 seconds or so and it has made the initial jump, I have a very good chance of landing it. I would say that initial jump is the critical time. Maybe the hook has not penetrated the bony jaw. Any theories. Jerry
 

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Sometimes the softer "spey" action rods have trouble driving a large hook in past the barb. This tends to happen more frequently when you have alot of line out.
 

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What hook are you using?

I had a problem hanging onto steelhead when I tried the Alex Jackson spey hooks. Loved the way the fly looked, swam and tracked in the water but lost a lot of fish. I came to the conclusion that the hook wire had a lot of spring to it so I went back to TMC and Gamakatsu. Have had very good luck with those brands. Maybe others on the board has some ideas.
 

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Jerry,
Perhaps when you are on a losing streak you are a little trigger happy. What I mean by this is maybe sometimes you are not allowing the fish time to turn. Steelhead are very accomplished when it comes to shaking hooks out of the top of their mouths. If you allow the taking fish time to turn with the fly in it's mouth you should have it hooked solidly in the 'scissors' or corner of the jaw. As well you will probably find that the shorter shanked hooks hold fish a little better.
As for soft rods not allowing hook penetration, I'm sorry I just don't buy it, besides who uses barbs? Brian
 

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I'm with Brian on this with one..I use a lot of the Alec Jacksons upto to 3/0 and don't have much problem. As Brian stated i think the most important part of getting a good hook up is allowing the fish to turn, and therefore hooking them in the corner of the mouth..I also think opposite with respect to slow action rods...my guess is they are more apt to allow for that time delay and probably would hook more fish if the fisher is prown to strike to quickly..I pretty much avoid setting the hook at all and would prefer to let them turn and hook themselves...but only my 2 cents.

steve
 

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I suspect that steelies, being trouty critters, do like most rainbows do. They strike and turn, real fast. Letting "timing" make the hook set is the most difficult lesson to learn. Let them eat the fly but keep reasonable tension on. This should increase hook ups and decrease long releases.
But then again, would it be as much fun if we never lost one?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
These spring steelhead in the river now seem to take a pretty good wack at the fly. They will travel a distance hit the fly and keep going. Just hope the reel bearings do not over heat. Some of the winter runs just stop the fly and you think it is a rock and then the head starts to move a little at the time. As far as the summer runs on the surface, I like to give them time to turn with the fly. What do you think is an acceptable per-cent lost to hooked ratio? Sometimes I am happy with 50 %, other times it may be 30%. The times when I am a little fast with the hook set, Why does it stay on till the first jump? With many years of bait fishing it is hard to delay the hook set. Jerry
 

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Jerry, another thought: What rod are you usually fishing with? Personally, I feel that you lose less fish with softer rods. I think this is especially true during those awkward moment when a fish jumps on a short line facing you.BN
 

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Whistler makes a good point. But to definitively say that rod action plays no part in the hook set or that rod action does not contribute to keeping a fish on may not be fair. I have and do fish many styles of two handed rods for salmon & steelhead. From the west coast to the east coast and even Russia for the past 15 years. You can take what Whistler says as gospel or you can keep an open mind. I've had trouble keeping the hook in fish when they strike with 80 to 100 feet of line out with my softer rods. Regardless if the barb is pinched or not. I use my softer rods on smaller rivers where you don't need to fish such a long line. Again, i'm not saying this is the only reason one would lose a fish, but it's worth a look. I would try different rods (if you can) and form your own opinion.
 

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I tend to agree with Brian and lastcaststeve in that when fishing for steelhead, when I feel a pull, I try not to pull the trigger--I let the steelhead turn and actually hook itself. I might also add that I always use very sharp hooks.
 

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Mitchell

Thats what I was doing this week and it worked for the most part to get a good hook set. It was after the hook set they took me to school some though I had almost whipped to the beach, but then their last burst made it into the log jams in the pools I was fishing. Actually I hooked them above these pools in fast water and brought them down or they ran down to the pool below and they knew the logs were possible freedom. Should have landed at least 2 of the 12 I had on but I was fishing alone and had no one to help with a net etc..

Of course fishing a 4 lb test tippet and number 8 and 10 hooks gives the steelie all of the advantage when they are 10 -14 lbs in size.

Oh well it was great fun and memories for sure. Would have had to release them any way due to no kill section I was fishing. Check out my report posted last night on the trip.

Hal
 
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