Setting the Hook? HELP
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:
This sounds famaliar:
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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!
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.