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jgib01

Tips For Fighting/landing Larger Trout

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Here's my M.O. After a lifetime of spincasting and trolling primarily for pike and walleye, I decided a few years back to pick up a fly rod. This is my 4th summer season fly fishing, and while I still consider myself very much a novice, I am hopefully getting a little better with each year on the water. I primarily fish medium sized rivers in the southwest portion of AB, targeting rainbow and cutts. I had the good fortune to be out for three evenings last week, and was getting into some OK numbers of fish. Good dry fly fishing, with a number of little guys, and a few healthy & feisty 16's to the net. However, each night I tagged into at least one (sometimes multiple) fish that were from my estimation, over 20". Not including the ones that were lost pretty quickly but still appeared a good size, I'm batting 0 for 5 on them. I've lost them in all manner of ways. A couple of breakoffs; one rather quickly after 20 seconds or so, and another after several minutes complete with several acrobatic leaps. Lost another couple after decent fights in close, but then getting past me well downstream before they bobbed, weaved and then spit my hook. Another was hooked and fought from well away from me for several minutes, and then swam toward me at a speed I simply wasn't able to keep up with on the reel.... then slack line.

 

The only fish over 20" I've landed this year was on stillwater, but I'd like to change that before summer is done. Part of what makes this game so interesting is that no two scenarios are exactly alike in my mind. Given that, my question is confounded by a lot of "what ifs", but here goes anyway. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on improving success landing what I consider "larger" trout. What are your top tips?

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Heavier tippet?

 

I was already reasonably heavy... mostly 4X the first couple of nights, and some 3X on the third night, in the Rio Powerflex plus variety. If you believe what they say, it is 20% stronger than regular tippet too! I think if anything, I was maybe a little too heavy for the size of flies I was using at times. I'm not usually one to be out there with 6 or 7X like some guys... I'm simply not delicate enough... I find it harder to dislodge flies from trees when tied on 6X ;)

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If they are running at you to fast to reel in, hand retrieve the line until you can put it on the reel. Often they will run again to pick up the slack and you can get it back on the reel.

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With 3x you can really lean on it. Try to Determine where you're breaking. Could be wind knots, Knicks or poorly tied knots.

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Could be wind knots, Knicks or poorly tied knots.

This. After a break off, check your tippet. If there's a bit of curl then it's probably your knot but if it's straight then it was probably a knick. Good idea to re-tie every so often.

 

The fish that spit the hook are tough to explain how to fight. Some people will tell you side pressure, some will tell you to bow to the fish when it jumps, and things like that but then you'll get other people tell you the exact opposite. I think I learned what worked best for me over time. And sometimes no matter what you do the fish is going to win, but that's what makes you come back for more.

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Let the rod do the work . The fish must win sometimes other wise it wouldn't be a sport.

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Leader & tippet material are both from same manufacture.If your tippet is flouro & the leader mono.It will most likely break there

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Let the rod do the work . The fish must win sometimes other wise it wouldn't be a sport.

 

I'd be quite happy with "sometimes" versus the "every time" streak I seem to have going :)

 

Leader & tippet material are both from same manufacture.If your tippet is flouro & the leader mono.It will most likely break there

 

Seems I have more money than brains (or talent) these days. I started using Rio Powerflex Plus leaders and tippet for my dries this year. Pricey stuff that doesn't seem to be paying dividends for me yet. One of my fishing buddies who has been at it for over 40 years ties his own leaders, and has spools of Maxima some of which I'm betting he's had kicking around for more than a decade. He consistently outfishes me, and often shakes his head at what I spend on "doodads"

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Something is up with your tipper, as mentioned. With stream fishing, it is likely being abraded on your back cast.

 

You should be able to put almost rod breaking pressure on fresh 3x.

 

Speaking of rods, a stiff rod will break tippet a lot easier. Get some bamboo or glass and you'll never break off another fish. Promise.

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Pro tip 101 ,be glad you had a chance for the mom ma of all her baby's .been there got spooled, in the lower Bow , posted that story some time ago, more backing now that tip.

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Get them on the reel quick if you can, instead of pulling straight back try using side pressure to turn a fish and if you have a big one headed down stream faster than you can try loosening your drag (without giving it slack). Sometimes if they feel less pressure they'll slow down or even stop, giving you a chance to make your way down the bank and get below them. As others have said, check your leader often and if it looks the least bit cloudy or if it feels rough, change it out. Also, consider getting some fresh tippet material - sometimes material can look fine and feel fine when you test the knot, but it can be degraded just enough that it won't handle a sudden shock as well as it should (like when Walter starts shaking his head). Sometimes all you can do is accept that you gave it your best and hope for better luck on the next one.

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Funny I disagree. I only reel fish if they put themselves there. Id say 75% of fish can be landed by stripping in, and it's typically the switch over from stripping to reeling where *hit goes awry. See a lot of guys struggle to keep tension when going from stripping to reeling, so just skip that part and strip them in. If the fish runs you into your reel, great, but strip em! You can strip a yard way faster then turning your reel 4 or 5 times..

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I agree with Dan about checking your tippet if is breaking and isn't knot failure. I lost a few average fish over the period of a week. Changed tippet and the break-offs stopped.

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Fair point, bcube, YMMV. My experience has been that I tend to loose more big (for me) fish due to tangles in loose coils of line when they decide to make a sudden rush vs. loosing tension trying to get them on the reel.

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^^Looked it up (I'm not young and hip). YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary

 

ie: Your experience may be different from mine

 

Carry on the fish discussion :)

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Funny I disagree. I only reel fish if they put themselves there. Id say 75% of fish can be landed by stripping in, and it's typically the switch over from stripping to reeling where *hit goes awry. See a lot of guys struggle to keep tension when going from stripping to reeling, so just skip that part and strip them in. If the fish runs you into your reel, great, but strip em! You can strip a yard way faster then turning your reel 4 or 5 times..

X2-I play many more fish stripping than on the reel. It is a rare fish that can't be brought in stripping, including pink, coho, sockeye and smaller spring salmon. I only play fish from the reel if it has managed to run and put itself on the reel and when it runs at me, I immediately strip it in. If it gets back on the reel, fine. I find I can feel and therefore play the fish much, much better with my hand on the line than with it on the reel. That alone should bring more fish to hand.

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If you have a disc drag reel you can usually bat the rim

While fighting it on the strip to bring most of your line onto the reel and continue from there.

I like to get my fish on the reel so the hardy can sing a tune.

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It has been my experience that if you fight fish on the line rather than reel, you can adjust line tension frequently and quickly and regain contact/line tension faster if the fish turns back down your line. I also try to the keep the rod tip low and parallel to the shoreline unless there are obstacles that may snag/entangle the line/leader or to guide the fish to a suitable landing/netting location.

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Leader & tippet material are both from same manufacture.If your tippet is flouro & the leader mono.It will most likely break there

 

I have also found this too. I have also found that adapting my tippet knots have often mitigated this. I find the double uni-knot to be the most reliable when going mono to fluoro.

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I have been using Rio mono leaders with Frog Hair fluro tippet without incident for almost a decade. A four wrap surgeons knot to connect tippet too leader and it never breaks off at the knot. A Duncan loop knot to the fly.

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It has been my experience that if you fight fish on the line rather than reel, you can adjust line tension frequently and quickly and regain contact/line tension faster if the fish turns back down your line. I also try to the keep the rod tip low and parallel to the shoreline unless there are obstacles that may snag/entangle the line/leader or to guide the fish to a suitable landing/netting location.

What are all these guys gonna do with their 600 dollar disc drags?!

fighting a fish by purely stripping comes with its own risks. Tangling line on stuff at your feet, stepping on it, wrapping around the reel etc.

For the sake of argument you can still use your finger/cork as an addition to your drag system when fighting on the reel to maintain proper tension.

I think the right answer is using both tools as situation requires.

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Too funny Bron. Yesterday my friend left his Orvis Helios and Mirage reel sitting in the bottom of the boat while he fished with his $25 first prototype TFO rod from 25 years ago and an ancient SA reel....the fish didn't even know when they were landed with such poor quality equipment

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Too funny Bron. Yesterday my friend left his Orvis Helios and Mirage reel sitting in the bottom of the boat while he fished with his $25 first prototype TFO rod from 25 years ago and an ancient SA reel....the fish didn't even know when they were landed with such poor quality equipment

It's a miracle, no one interpreted this as trolling! I'm getting there!

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