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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When you get a tug but nobody's home - what do you do?

I can think of 4 occurences this fall that stand out when this occurred. I usually wait perhaps a minute and then make the same cast, same fly. If that does not draw a strike (it rarely does) I will move back upstream a bit, change flies and go back through - three times this year, that bought a vicious grab and fish on. A good friend of mine did this 4 times before finally hooking up. He marked the spot with a stick and went upriver maybe 20 feet and came back with a different fly - each time he had a tug and nobody home - the 4th time he got a solid hookup. Sometimes it pays to be persistent!!
 

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Junkyard Spey
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The first thing I do is say "OH %X&*##@X!!!!":eek:
 

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Rick,
I follow a very similar approach, although admittedly, not always as persistant as it sounds that I should be!

Often, I'll go right back at the fish. Same cast. Same fly. Same presentation. If that doesn't work, I'll work my way back up stream far enough that the tail end of my swing will cover the very beginning of where I think the fish may move to take my offering. Before I cast, I will change flies taking my time to insure my selection is very different, the leader and knots are flawless and that I am 'ready'. Then I go again, methodically, through the run making sure each presentation is as good as I can make it. If not, same cast again before I step down.

That's about it. If nothing happens, I chalk it up to a missed opportunity and mentally review what went 'wrong' and try to learn from the experience. Based on your experience it sounds like I should modify my approach and find the player!
 

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Member FRSCA
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I freak out and cast right back to where the tug was at, just like in bluegill fishing thinking the fish will still be right there waiting for the night crawler, then stand there shaking my head wondering why he isn't.:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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Oh how I miss the NW
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Jamey McLeod said:
I freak out and cast right back to where the tug was at, just like in bluegill fishing thinking the fish will still be right there waiting for the night crawler, then stand there shaking my head wondering why he isn't.:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
Yup that's me. :Eyecrazy:
 

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Sheesh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamey McLeod
I freak out and cast right back to where the tug was at, just like in bluegill fishing thinking the fish will still be right there waiting for the night crawler, then stand there shaking my head wondering why he isn't.


jhicks said:
Yup that's me. :Eyecrazy:
God, can I RELATE!:saeek:
 

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Dec Hogan

recommends closely what Rick and Chris have suggested. Dec's additional comments are to slow down the repeat presentation so it comes over the fish more slowly ( you might have to wade out a little farther). He ends by suggesting going back to the same fly and fishing through. Sometimes the fish drops back, or it may have swum up in the initial grab. Dec also mentions that reaction does not mean the fish will grab the fly, that first look is all you may ever get from that fish.
 

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My routine is to pull in four strips of line and repeat the cast. I then release one strip and repeat the cast. After all the line is back out and I will change flies, usually to something smaller and darker and repeat the four casts above. If nothing then, I will continue on down the run.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
 

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When nobodys home

Hi,

Back when I first got into salmon fishing on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick an old guide told me if a fish rises to your fly back up river a couple of steps and shorten up your line about five feet and change the fly to the same fly, only a smaller one. By tying a new fly on you've not only changed the presentation but you given the fish enough time to come back to its lie. Then continue through again and just maybe. Toughest thing I ever done when I first got into fly fishing, instinct is to get that fly right back out there again. just like fredaevans said and you would always wonder why the fish was never there. If you can be patient sometimes you will be rewarded. The other thing to do is if you don't want to change your fly is to take the time and strip your line in and check your leader for any wind knots. This will give the fish a little time to move back where he was.

My 2 cents worth,
Alan (salmonguy)
 

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Pin cushion
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It doesn't seem to matter what I do, I RARELY get them to come back. Today I fished back over three different pulls with different flys and none of them came back for a second shot. I'm pretty sure that I can count the number of fish that I've re-raised on one hand, and yet you read about it all the time. It seems that it happens more with west coast fish, I'm sure 34 degree water doesn't help.
 

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In my experience, the colder the water is, the less likely they are to come back. I work 'em over a little, no matter how cold it is, but am rarely successful.
 

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At first, I do nothing. Just continue my swing. I don't lift the rod until the loop I'm holding is gone and the reel starts to move. So a tug without those two things happening gets left alone. Often, if the fish is a real player, it will come back and grab it and get it on the same drift, or perhaps on the next cast or two (stepping down between casts).

I mentally note the location where I got the pull and if I don't pick up I'll go back to the top of the run, switch flies, and try again. If I don't get the fish that day I'll note the location fly etc. in my log and you'll see me in that same location again troughout the season and maybe next year as well. To me tugs aren't necessarily about hooking fish, they are also about letting me know where fish hold so that I can increase my odds in the future.

By the way the fish coming back again and again seems to be much more of a summer run / agressive fish / higher temp type of thing. I don't usually have the same type of experience of multiple grabs on a single swing in the cold part of winter as I might in the spring or fall.
 

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EAT IT!!!
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After the shaking stops, I wang out another cast and try to make a perfect swing. It is very often a disaster as a pile of line flies out into the river! Once the cast straightens out and starts to fish I quit cursing. Every once in a blue moon that first cast back gets pounded. If not I often change flies and make four or five casts, one shorter, one a bit shorter one dead on with the one that got pulled and one or two longer. If I am convinced the pull was a steelhead I'll often repeat the fly change and casts 3-4 times.

HOWEVER

Many instances after all of the changing and casting and cursing, I'll tie on the original fly make four or five casts and steps down a run from the first pull and get chomped on just a little further down the run than I was reaching on my 4th and 5th casts. Seems like the fish drop DOWNSTREAM a lot more than they move upriver after a pull.

Trout that pull on the swing seem a lot less likely to come back than steelhead and steelhead aren't often too likely to be felt again. Whitefish love coming back, much to my chagrine!
 

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Dr. Swing,

Totally agree with you. That's why I keep heading down and don't go back up to the top until I've finished the run. Keep pushing down is the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It isn't a problem to continue down the run if you have the opportunity and desire to go back and re-fish the run but if the run is a long one, conditions may change enough that by the time you get back, the fish may have relocated. That is why I still prefer to give the fish another shot - I prefer to move upstream a bit and then keep the same casting length - if he has not relocated or if he has moved up a bit, staying in the same place but shortening your cast will not cover the fish - a shorter cast will be inside of the fish and he may not move to the fly.

I am often fishing with a buddy and if he is above me, this is another reason I don't want to continue to move down - I never want to give my buddy the opportunity to outfish me:) so by moving back upstream I not only get a second shot at the fish but I put a crimp in my buddy's style which usually makes me smile!!! The guy I normally fish with can catch steelhead in a bathtub so I need every opportunity to screw him for me to win the day!
 

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7141-4 said:
At first, I do nothing. Just continue my swing. I don't lift the rod until the loop I'm holding is gone and the reel starts to move. So a tug without those two things happening gets left alone. Often, if the fish is a real player, it will come back and grab it and get it on the same drift, or perhaps on the next cast or two (stepping down between casts).QUOTE]

Yep. Never, never lift before the fish is yanking.
 

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While I understand the thinking before the "never lift until the fish is yanking" I believe that for winter fish, that approach will cost you more than a few fish. I will usually wait for the second bump before I try and determine if "that was a rock or a fish". For cold water takes I will slowly raise the rod tip a few feet and see if there is something live on the end. If not, I lower it and finish out the swing. If there is then I give a good hookset and then hang-on.

Of course occasionally you lift into a rock too. Sometimes you need to lift and hold tension for a second or two to tell if it is fish or bottom. As much as I love the classic yank, I equally love the slow lift and the equally slow "pull" of the rod tip back down.
 

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The first thing I do is step out of the run, reel up and look for the nearest bankside rock. There I put out my bronze bowl, some silver talents, and matches -- I never fish without matches. Once I've laid these out I take out my lamb, I never fish without lamb, and slaughter him (or her) right there on the bankside rock. Then I offer an initial prayer to Diana. After this initial prayer I quarter the lamb and put its fat into the bronze bowl and light the fat on fire. This is nice because it is warming and also it smells like lamb on the grill; although it's not for me, of course, it's for the gods of steelhead and salmon. After I've burnt the offering of lamb fat I annoint my reel with whatever is left in the bronze bowl and, if If I'm fishing greased line, I'll annoint the last few feet of my line as well. After this I say another prayer and then re-enter the run a few steps above where I was standing for the initial grab, and I fish through the slot again. This usually results in a solid take.
dan'l
 
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