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chrome-magnon man
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no, no, no, not a BC teacher's union rant, but what we do with an anadromous fish on the take. To strike or not to strike? With summer steelhead I'm rarely "on the ball" enough to set up on a fish--usually a fish is on before I lift the rod. With winter fish I find it's 50/50 for me: some of the fish are like summer runs and they are just there, while the other half give me warning so that I can sweep the rod shoreward and tighten into the fish.

What are your methods for hooking steelhead and Atlantic salmon in both cold and warm water conditions with a two-hander?
 

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Fishing downstream, I try very hard to not strike at all. If I'm on the ball I move my rod tip very deliberately and quite slowly towards the bank. When fishing, I usually hold a 2' loop of line under my little pinky (not enough strength in that finger to cause a smash if a fish hits hard), which I will drop when I get a hit. The bow in the line (in theory) sets the hook. When it's cold or I'm feeling lazy, I'll just fish straight off the reel with a light click. Once the fish has been on for a while and has stopped running, I'll give it a couple of light whacks to make sure the hook is in there. If you don't scare the fish by yanking a fly out of their mouth, they'll often take repeatedly if you don't get them the first time. If I miss a take I'll often go back at the fish with a smaller fly, if that doesn't work try a fly with a heavier hook that will fish a little deeper.

Fishing upstream, I whack 'em pronto when nymphing, and not quite as pronto when dry.. I try to wait several long mili-seconds for the fish to turn.

Poul
 

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Sounds like BC fish and OR fish are close relatives

95% in tune with the way Dana does his thing "down here" too. I'll weave the line through my three middle fingers of the rod hand and almost always feel the line tighten up with a take. Then, assuming the fish hasn't set the hook on himself, a light shoreward sweep will finish the job 99% of the time.

Actually very surprised when I miss a fish (ya, darn it it does happen).
fe
 

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I don't have much access to warm water and usually only get a trip per year to those waters -usually BC as it's pretty close and the fishing is great. I just let the fish turn, feel the weight and lift the rod there.

Cold-water fish can be different. Although I often get those hard aggressive grabs we all love, sometimes they seem to just lightly take and swim along with the fly slowly. This is especially true when the water is really cold (<36F or so) but fish that have been hooked a few times can behave similarly. For these takes I'll let them hold it as long as I can stand it and then set when I first feel the weight of the fish load the rod. This can seem to take forever! I generally use the same sweeping set described above.

Did I read correctly about nymphing with a 2-hander in BC? Say it aint so! :(

Pescaphile
 

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Asleep at the Reel. . .
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Cold clear water, winter-runs, floating line. . .

Most, no, make that all of the water I fish for winter steelhead would be -- as compared to the Thompson or even Haig-Brown's Campbell -- considered small. I get my choice of short drifts, small pools, shallow riffles, and pocket water here on my tight little Vancouver Island streams. My chosen, hence favourite technique is using a full floating line delivering weighted or large-iron fly patterns. Since this is fairly intimate fishing -- no need for 100'+ casts here -- I enjoy the bonus of being able to keep an eye on the tip of my fly line as the presentation progresses. When I see the tip of the line start to curl back upstream, the hanging belly of line start to draw tight, and my line control fingers sensing an impeded drift I make a steady swing of my rod toward the bank. And if all goes well, the hook is pulled securely into the hinge by the downstream travel of my line/leader.
Another bonus is that when a steelhead is hooked in this way -- with the pull eminating from downstream -- it usually heads upstream on its first run, not over the lip and beyond.
Oh yeah, and if it isn't a fish and is merely a rock down there hanging onto my line I usually get a good hook-set too, and have to break-off. I hate it when that happens!

Cheers!
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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...like a bass fisherman.

The second that indicator goes down, I am like Jimmy Houston ripping a spinnerbait through the mouth a 2# bass. :devil:
 

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Ryan... an "indicator?" ... sigh....

So young, so much to learn....:smokin:

Just 'gotta' get your sweat .... down here in So. Or. to teach you the realities of the fine art of .... BASS????? I never fish for something I'd never consider for the table.:whoa:
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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Re: Ryan... an "indicator?" ... sigh....

fredaevans said:
I never fish for something I'd never consider for the table.:whoa:
But you fish for wild steelies... :eek: :eyecrazy: :eek: :eyecrazy:

You are a bad man...very very bad man!!! :tsk_tsk: :tsk_tsk:

;)
 

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I usually fish the tip of the rod about eye level. In "my" world the belly created allows the fish enough time to turn on the fly an get solid iron. Hooking to landing percentage has been in the 65-70% range for firmly hooked fish. This is using a dry line, down stream swing, and significant tension to slow the fly.

andre
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Good topic. I typically follow the fly with the tip close to the water when doing a standard presentation on the main part of the swing, this was the line is as direct to the fish as possible and leverage in any direction sets the hook well.

I will do some pretty funky stuff in the beginning of the cast and the end of the cast to maximize the hang time in the drift for the fly or to set up the fly for the best swing thru the hole in narrow seams, etc. But that's not the discussion here.

Back on topic I often rest the handle between arm and side or rest the butt on my hip or gut to relieve my arm after a long day with the 15' 10wt.

Regardless of casting position I tend to turn my body into a fishing position instead of standing in casting position thru the swing. More shuffling but better body english for that big takedown.

All this talk is drivin me nuts! I can't wait to get on the river again :D
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #12
andre, I used to fish with a guy who always kept a high rod position throughout any presentation. He also always hooked and landed more fish than I did. I have this vivid memory of sitting @ 50ft behind him and watching a fish take--the line kind of jumped forward twice and then just tightened up and the fish was on. Because the rod was already up he never struck a fish, and that belly of slack line between the rod tip and the water really helped him get the hook into a steelhead. Your post reminded me of his method and how effective it was. Can you imagine how deadly it would be combined with tube flies???!!!
 

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Dana,

I've gone back and forth trying different positions with the rod tip to manipulate the presentation and this works for me. I think it might be I'm just a little high strung and react to fast? I've fished with in rivers with active populations of Cutts in the fall, fishing a taut line and a low tip; one feels every nip and pluck at the fly. Upon raising the tip I increase the hook ups but lose the feel. I think as with many things in Steelheading I have a comfort level and will continue to mess around. Hope all is well on the home front!


andre
 

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Flats Rat
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For Atlantics I hold the rod Falkus style, parralell with about a 6ft loop loosely under the index finger and rod butt cradled under my right arm - very comfy and impossible to strike too soon.

Friends swear by the high rod angle and drop the tip when the 'sag' twitches or starts to lift.

Early season takes are sometimes an imperceptible tap on the dangle, early summer grilse fresh from the ocean will rip the rod from your hands. I just let everything go until the line tightens against the reel, then lift smoothly and away we go - zzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzzzz :)
 

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There are a couple of fairly basic considerations with regards to how you hold the rod and how and when you make the strike.
The first consideration is how you hold the rod to lead the line with the rod tip.During the drift and swing in order to reduce the speed of the fly and control its speed you normally lead the line with the rod tip .In order to do this you need to hold the rod so that its either paralell to the water or is slightly tip down.
The second consideration is the take and the strike, many ,perhaps most steelhead will drift back downstream when sighting a fly ,they normally turn and follow the fly when it begins to swing.When the fly first speeds up and appears to be escaping prey the fish may take. Having taken the fly he turns back towards his previous lie and begins to swim back. The strike should be delayed untill the fish has turned towards his lie,This insures that the fly will stick in the scissors of the jaw giving a very firm hold.
The proper strike is therefor horizontal movement of the rod towards the near bank.
Essentially what Juro is saying ;I think:eyecrazy:
 

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I'll go back and review "Fine and Far Off" I believe Grant felt the rod tip near the water offered benefit to the presentation. I don't recall reference to the hook up or strike.
 

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Hooked on Salmon
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When we discuss all this, especially when the old Masters are referred to, I think one very imortant thing is forgotten:

As they all, let it be Wood, Crossley, or Grant, used silk lines and gut casts THEY HAD VIRTULLALLY NO STRETCH in their lines. This makes a huge difference when discussing how to set the hook.

With maybe +100 feet of plastic line out the strech easily is 5-10' under pull. (tie the leader to a fence post and try!!)

I have fished silk lines on my old B&W Grilse and had to re-learn the way to set a hook. Unless one gave some of that limp line off in the take the hook often just ripped out.

With plastic lines I am certain that the best way just is to hang on with the rod being held rather low to raise it firmly once the weight of the fish is felt. To move it sideways in any given direction has minimal effect - unless the line is very short, I am afraid.

There is one exception: In Russia where one might be into more than 10 fish in a day, chanses for experiments are bigger than normal. Sometimes when fishing small (8-12) wet flies off a floating line fish can "come short". You feel the take but they never attach. Then it works great to feed out a foot or two of line at first notice. To me this makes the fish TAKE the fly deeper in the mouth, rather than HOOKING them better...... (Even if the result are more positive hookups)

Just a few thoughts....

"Tight loops"

Per
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
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Per, would you be able to elaborate or evaluate the casting -fishing qaulities of silk lines vs modern lines.
 

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when i strike i always strike horizontaly toward the bank. on b.c. summer fish i always strike as soon as i feel the fish unless it feels like a body hit or a feeble bump. i hit as hard as i can. in winter it varies sometime also according to what i feel. if it is feeble and soft i will wait for some weight and a turn. on the deshutes i fish with a decent sized loop and let the fish take the loop and make my buegle make some noise before i hit. always low and toward the shore.
 

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The influence of temperature

I agree with Per, at least for sunk line fishing. The technique of tightening/striking must surely depend on the speed at which the fish moves, which is affected by water temperature. Given that this is also the governing factor for choosing floating or sinking lines, it is reasonable to say that the technique should differ depending whether you are fishing floating or sunk. I can only speak for atlantic salmon here, so things may be different for steelhead.

Fishing a sunk line (eg on the Tweed in autumn) the conventional technique is to keep the rod tip low and wait until you feel the weight of the fish come properly onto the line. In slow water a fish can nip a fly several times during its swing, and attempting to strike would ensure that it immediately lost interest. When (if) it takes properly, a fish may pull several feet of line off a lightly set reel, and you just lift gently into it and then clamp down on line or reel to set the hook. At other times the fish just arrives and a steady lift is all that is needed. I would add that I almost never fish a hook larger than # 6 - above this size I turn to a tube or waddington - so there is no huge thickness of iron to drive into the fish's mouth. This must affect the degree of force needed to set the hook.

Fishing with a floater I, like Adrian, tend to have my rod butt tucked under my arm, and the act of moving it forward before placing it into the stomach 'feeds' the fish a bit of line, which is taken up again as I raise the rod. Doing this at a sensible speed without rushing seems to get the timing about right (it's hard to be precise). I also tend to have a small loop (maybe 18") of line which I release. By contrast, a great fishermen I know fishes with a high rod point (about 45 degrees). On seeing or feeling a fish take he drops the rod tip to give a few feet of line, and then raises it again to engage the fish. Both techniques seem to have about the same success rate, and from the point of view of what happens at the 'business end', I guess they produce similar results.

One thing is certain: fishing conventionally for salmon, you should never strike. Probably more fish are lost that way than any other, and it is the hardest thing for a trout fisher to learn when graduating to salmon. There are 'minor tactics' where striking may be desirable (article in this month's 'Trout and Salmon' magazine for example about just such a tactic), but they are the exception rather than the rule.

As to which way to move the rod, just look at the geometry a bit. With 90' of line out, moving a 15' rod from pointing directly down the line to being at 90 degrees to it (which wouldn't be the case in practice anyway) only changes the angle of line from rod tip to fly by about 9 degrees. As Per points out, the effect in minimal, whether this angle change is in the vertical or horizontal plane. I prefer to get as much line out of the water as possible, to get on direct terms with the fish, so raise my rod vertically.
 
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