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 Post subject: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 24th, 2017, 8:21 pm 
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Among all the fine topics broached here at FFIM, there is one topic which doesn't seem to be addressed often: tactics to employ once a fish has chosen to eat your fly.
I personally have what I think is a pretty awful record on putting fish in my net. I lose them all the freaking time. As confident as I often am prior to a take, based on this record of to-the-net futility, I kind of shrink a few sizes when a fish starts to take line.
The worst of these instances is a large fish in heavy water, when It's tearing downstream with the flow. I figure it's as good as gone, and often, it is. But the kicker is that I actually like fishing high and heavy water and have had really good luck with hookups of large fish in those conditions.
But how best to get them to the net??
I fish almost exclusively barbless, and encourage everyone to do the same. But I think this makes me overly cautious in playing heavy-water fish, preferring to lay back on them lest I bore a hole for the hook to pull. I also believe better knot tying would help a lot, as most of my "break-offs" are more likely knot failures.
Any thoughts on effectively playing fish, in heavy water or in general?
Prefaced by the idea that playing out a fish to exhaustion, or even close, isn't an acceptable solution...

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 24th, 2017, 10:18 pm 
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Use a heavy leader and tippet and pull them out of the current. Apply winch as necessary.

I do not believe that going barbless causes you to lose any more fish then you would otherwise, provided you keep your line tight. Besides, an LDR is a very effective way of getting a fish off your line without stressing them out from handling.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 24th, 2017, 10:23 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 12:50 am 
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Heavy tippet and put the wood to 'em. My best brown to date came out of a big ugly pile of stumps at a right angle turn in the river. I horsed him right out with 0X and never game him enough line to burrow back into the woodpile.

I asked a similar question on here about 10 years ago after getting schooled by a good salmon on the West Branch taking off down stream with no sign of stopping.

Seriously, if you want to land big fish in heavy water, fish heavier tippet. I've broken off most of the biggest fish I've hooked, with the big brown above a notable exception. If you can afford to go to 4X and 3X nymphing and 0X with streamers, you're more likely to land a true hog. If you have to fish lighter tippet, don't be scared. Strong steady pressure is your friend. Sudden pressure is not. Make the fish work hard and keep your rod tip up. I buy 4X in the big spools.

One more idea: Fish fluoro. It's much more abrasion resistant, so when they take you down in the rocks, it's harder to break you off.

I agree on the barbless hooks. You're more likely to get a good hook set.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 8:16 am 
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Totally agree, if you are fishing heavy water, fish a heavy line and tippet and a rod that can support it and horse them out of the current.

A big fish running downstream i believe puts 5x odds in their favor. It is almost impossible to keep a tight line and with that much line in the water, it drags and doesn't always apply the pressure in the direction you want. Since for me that is the death bell, I horse them, and if they pop, I just accelerated the inevitable.

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 9:14 am 
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I know people will disagree; but I am quite certain fish are lost more often to barbless flies. No proof other than seeing a much larger percentage of drops after I switched to barbless flies at the behest of a well-respected fly tying instructor quite a few years back.
But higher drop ratios have not persuaded me to abandon the practice of mashing down every barb before I place a hook in my vice. I believe it's the right way to fish C&R, particularly in heavily pressured spots. And losing a fish only sucks in its context; I'm fishing and not working!

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 11:37 am 
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Blasphemy... to be part of the club, you HAVE to say that fishing barbless doesn't cost you any fish.

Of course, that is a lie that we have all felt like we have had to perpetuate. Try to get a barbed hook out of your thumb, and you will surely understand why they are there. All those little moments where there is a slight lack of tension are covered by the stickiness of the hook.

Of course, I have my own sage advisor, who has said, "barbless, never cost me a fish that I deserved to land" which I buy. The perfect fight from fish and angler and barbless shouldn't make a difference. But, to me, a mere mortal, I loose more fish when barbless.

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 12:01 pm 
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I honestly can't think of a fish I've lost where I stood and thought to myself- "Gee, I lost that fish due to a lack of barb." Nope- it's usually- "Gee, I shouldn't have given her so much slack line." Which is my fault. I can't say one verses the other has affected my landing stats all that much.

Now, old tippet and tippet that is undersized for the water or fish- those have cost me fish (and flies).

But barbless hooks- nope. I can't blame using them.

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 12:40 pm 
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Right, but if you had a barb, the slack line likely wouldn't have mattered, so was it the slack line or lack of a barb?

Or are you subscribing to the "I didn't deserve that one" because I gave it slack line.

Physics states that it is easier for a fish to throw a barbless hook... moving more mass/surface area through mass is harder the less mass/surface area.

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 8:08 pm 
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I put my percentage at landing truly big fish at 20, and it might even be less than that. To me, everything has to go just right. The fish have a huge advantage, especially in heavy water, and I would want it any other way.

Heavy leader/Tippet. Heavy and I think your hook up rate goes way down. And I think a good argument can be made for the elasticity of finer diameter material lending itself to a better chance of hanging on.

I figure if I can survive the initial craziness, my odds increase dramatically.


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 8:06 am 
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Side pressure is the key if you ask me. YEARS ago, after loosing a number of steelhead in NY, I watched a guide landing fish after fish with the top half of his rod under water much of the time. I stood on the bank and watched him "steer" his fish out of the current and into slower water applying and changing the direction of side pressure constantly. Shortly there after I landed the fish of the trip. It was a lesson I will never forget. That being said, I still lose the majority of fish in fast water, but my numbers are better than they used to be. When all else fails, run like hell after them - studded boots required!


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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 9:49 am 
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I will remember that, salmosebago! And I have run after a few fish, until swimming became the only option. All set with that. But I chased one big fish through a long set of rips on the upper andro north of Berlin NH, thinking I had a helluva brown. Turned out to be a helluva smallmouth.
I try to stay tight throughout, until I feel the head shakes come. I always back off on the head shakes and it seems to help. The tricky part for me is anticipating the end of the shakes and the start of the next run.
Big fish seem to love shaking those pig heads!

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 12:10 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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salmon is right- it is about side pressure--in many cases, keeping the rod tip UP has hurt my landing numbers...and do NOT point the rod tip in anywhere near the direction of the fish.Read the river below you and see if there are soft area to drive the fish toward...

De-barbing the hook is more about my safety than landing/not landing fish...I think barbs DO work, I just am not willing to pay the once in 5 year price...

Hutch

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 12:43 pm 
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After droning out to fishing shows yesterday prior to my night shift nap. The way I see is 40# braid. a very stiff rod, paired with a 70/1 gear ratio reel and lots of treble hooks. Just be sure to have a 10" pair of needle nose pliers to rip the hooks loose. You can drag that fish anywhere you want.

Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Heavy water hookups
PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 5:13 pm 
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That is all true, but still in vain if you don't have triple 250hp outboards on your 22' boat.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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