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BigMax
08-11-2010, 03:14 PM
OK OK

so im new to this fly fishing thing but i am HOOKED!!! have have had considerable luck on the clinch but with the generation as of late i have been spending some time in the Smokies and with the help of this forum i am on fish and enjoying myself quite a bit!

All that being said i dont seem to be having much problems getting on fish, the problem comes when they decide to hit my fly......lately i have been using size 16 and 14 dry flys and cant seem to set the hook. Im using my 9ft 5wt and think i might be just jerking it out of their mouth by lifting my rod tip too fast or much? should i pull the line or is it just more of a technique thing i haven't quite mastered (the most likely culprit) any help would be greatly appreciated as i plan on fishing as much as possible until school starts next week

here is my first GSM bow...was a blast:biggrin:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/KLzZokpVAtOcigW0tsUtg_iXMWFtsMW5-JA2rbfstNw?feat=directlink[IMG]

[IMG]http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/KLzZokpVAtOcigW0tsUtg_iXMWFtsMW5-JA2rbfstNw?feat=directlink

Trip
08-11-2010, 03:50 PM
This sounds famaliar:

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13699

HA HA, I had the same issue. Practice has made me a lot quicker and I am landing fish on a regular basis now.

With all the newbs on this board this year, we need to get a newb GSM fishing trip together.

BigMax
08-11-2010, 03:54 PM
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/GSMRainbow8-6-2010.jpg

ifish4wildtrout
08-11-2010, 04:09 PM
Setting the hook could be part of the problem, but....many times the trout just smack at the fly and don't actually take it.

NDuncan
08-11-2010, 04:17 PM
In echoing what others have said, the two biggest things that helped me were, learning to mend my line better - getting that good drift without having a ton a slack and learning to recognize the difference between a take and a slap and how to respond to slap to get to the take.

In the case of a slap, I usually change the fly to size bigger or smaller (depending on what I got the slap on). It can make a big difference. If it doesn't, I go to the original size, but a slightly different pattern (such as switching from a male to female adams) and keep trying things until I get it right. Maybe this is too tedious of an approach, but it seems to work ok for me and others can probably offer better insight in to how to handle slaps than I can.

Fishstu
08-11-2010, 04:39 PM
In addition to reducing/eliminating slack - better mending, I have found it helpful to 'anticipate' the strike and which 'direction' to move the rod to set the hook. For example, if drift is from my left to my right I try to 'anticipate' setting the hook and 'remind' myself to be prepared to move rod to the right. In other words, set the hook in the direction of the drift rather than straight-overhead or in direction opposite of the drift. Setting the hook in the direction of the drift usually means you're 'pulling' the fly into the trout's mouth, rather than away from the trout by trying to set the hook in the direction away from the drift or coming up straight-overhead.

I do not take any credit for the hook-set-in-direction-of-drift approach; if memory serves, that was a tip I got from Walter Babb 'many moons ago.'

silvercreek
08-11-2010, 04:44 PM
This is just mostly speculation since you would need to have a high speed video to see what really happened, but I think sometimes a combination of a bushy dry fly and a smallish trout results in a missed take. Try dropping down a size and/or a less bushy fly. I think everyone experiences this regardless of experience, but the previous post have given some good tips.

MadisonBoats
08-11-2010, 06:51 PM
Don't worry about setting the hook! Keep the slack in your 'out' line to a minimum so that you can keep a consistent tension on the fish once it takes the fly. Let the fish take the fly and react by setting the tension taunt with your left hand (the slack should be tight enough to do this) and lifting the rod to whatever feels comfortable at a steady pace.

Once hooked; focus on keeping tension with the line on your left (line) hand and use your right hand to assist when the fish comes in or takes out. Do not lift the fish with the rod. Let it work the line like a fine balance of tension and control. Once you get him hooked; slowly bring him close and point your rod tip towards your back at about a 45 Degree angle over your rod shoulder to land the fish with ample line length.

My main focus on setting the hook is with my left hand (line control); I usually give it one slight pull before I do anything with the rod hand.

Knothead
08-11-2010, 07:49 PM
I second MadisonBoat's motion! Keeping slack out of line in swift water is an art unto itself. Also, my suggestion is to fish more so you can practice and perfect your hookset!

Jim Casada
08-11-2010, 07:58 PM
MadisonBoats--I don't set the hook exasctly the way you describe; instead I set with both the hand controlling line and by lifting the rod tip. That being said, the process you describe has special merits beyond being an integral part of good line management. In many small stream situations where it is virtually impossible to "jerk" line setting is basically the only way to go.

Also, and others have alluded to this, BigMax you can rest assured you can't set the hook too rapidly (in Smokies streams) once the fish has hit the dry fly. However, there will be times when a trout just follows, almost takes, or comes and goes only to come again. Holding back in such situations comes with experience.

Finally, smaller specks and rainbows often miss the fly, and larger ones may on occasions just flip or slap at it. Specks are especially inefficient, and sometimes they will come back for a second, third, or even fourth bite of the cherry. However, if a brown of much size takes a fly, it virtually never misses. By the time a brown has reached double digits in length, it is very efficient indeed.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

David Knapp
08-12-2010, 12:10 AM
However, there will be times when a trout just follows, almost takes, or comes and goes only to come again. Holding back in such situations comes with experience.

Jim, I've noticed that there seem to be certain times of year when the fish don't slam flies as much as usual. They sip them very purposefully, and this is the time that the ability to hold back on the hook set is really crucial. In the spring when the "big" hatches are on, fish (other than the multitude of dinks) will rise leisurely to the buffet above. Same thing happens in the fall, especially when the olives are on the water. Low clear water seems to be a recipe for the much better inspection on a rise you described so well above. The key in those situations is to wait until the fish has taken the fly and started to turn its head before setting. If you set too fast it will pull the fly straight out of the fishes mouth...

MadisonBoats
08-12-2010, 10:01 AM
To clarify; most of my fishing experience is in tail-waters and not freestone streams.:frown: I need to get up to some of the smaller streams more often. The method I described in my previous post works for me because I like to agitate or give my dry fly a simple action if the fish are picking at them. Also, when I midge fish with small midges; I find it useful that a 6-16" pull of line with my left hand sets the hook without pulling it out by a combination of line/rod pull. However; you must manage your line slack. I don't mend my line; I just set up my cast so that I do not have drop in to and cross currents.

To reiterate my style:
1. I keep my line fairly taunt in the drift.
2. Also, I point the rod tip towards the fly and follow the fly with my rod tip. - I find this extremely important!
3. My left arm is extended completely and is past my right hand on the rod. Grabbing the line as far forward as the allowable before getting to the first eye-lit. I usually have some slack line in the water behind this that I let out to extend my drift in some cases.
4. Once the fish hit; I pull straight back on my left hand to set the hook. (usually at about a 45Deg angle initially and then bring higher once the fish gets closer)
5. Then, I raise my rod accordingly to maintain tension. I do not muscle the fish with my rod; I just let it work the line; my rod use is usually only as a tension maintainer in the retrieve; I bring it up and down as it were a drag control. (This method would most likely be different for me if I were fishing for salmon or larger fish).

*It works great for me and it feel natural!:smile:

BigMax
08-12-2010, 10:26 AM
This is all good advice! thanks a ton guys now i need to get out there and try it!

Jim Casada
08-12-2010, 11:13 AM
Shawn--I suspected your method might be one focused on tailwaters, and it makes perfectly good sense in such settings. There's also another advantage, although I don't know whether you have thought of it or not. Your method makes a "paritng of the ways" (popping off a fly in a fish) much less likely than an abrupt lift of the rod tip. The latter type of set is fine if done with the right amount of force, but it is all too easy to set the hook too hard (that's the voice of sad experience and many a departed fish, fly in its mouth, speaking).
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

MadisonBoats
08-12-2010, 11:47 AM
Shawn--I suspected your method might be one focused on tailwaters, and it makes perfectly good sense in such settings. There's also another advantage, although I don't know whether you have thought of it or not. Your method makes a "paritng of the ways" (popping off a fly in a fish) much less likely than an abrupt lift of the rod tip. The latter type of set is fine if done with the right amount of force, but it is all too easy to set the hook too hard (that's the voice of sad experience and many a departed fish, fly in its mouth, speaking).
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jim, Like I mentioned; I am inexperienced with smaller streams - so, my method has developed around fishing tail-waters.

*The biggest advantage for me is to always have my rod action in reserve. Once you engage your rod; you essentially have spent both methods of setting the hook or utilizing drag. Many times I miss a fish and still get him on the same drift with my short tug method. Plus, a hard-set with the rod is trout-spooky at times.

**Another advantage is the line length involved with setting the hook. I like a short-controlled-tug; not a knee-jerk pull:eek:. Kind of like casting a fly in grass. You can pull it free easily if you use your rod; but, if you tug; it will usually get caught in the grass. :rolleyes:May be that is not the correct description; but, that is how it feels to me. I like to keep my movements on the water simple and stealthy. I rarely false cast and I shoot cast most of the time. I find I have most control of my setup with good line management and reserving my rod for drag (after; I confirm a strike).