Originally Posted by CutThroat Leaders
If I am fishing small cuttys in the middle of nowhere that have never seen a fly, I still use 5x because I am throwing larger more wind resistant dry flies. When fishing for BIG spooky bows on local water that sees a lot of pressure, I may throw 7x and have a plan on landing the fish once hooked.
Now that is a set of statements back to back that I will endorse whole heartedly Mike!
I figured out years ago that when in an environment where I stood to catch a lot of fish, it would be very good if I could land / net / grab, each fish quickly once they were securely hooked. I found the heaviest leader material that would be accepted by the fish and in doing so allowed for more fish to be caught in a given period of time.
The part about having a plan for landing a big fish is a stellar moment in posting history here! I have mentioned this a few times however I don't believe it was picked out by many readers. Therefor I am quoting your words hoping that people will think about what you wrote.
When I have reason to believe I may get something really strong hooked to my line I try to take time to observe the area of creek or river before I even present the fly. What I'm looking for is every little thing that will present a probable hazard if you hook a fish that goes wild on you. 9 times out of 10, trying to stand your ground with a really big fish won't go well for either of you. Waiting until your heart is racing and all you can think is 'Oh My God' will be a bad time to try to figure out what to do next. This is when lots of people fall in the river or get spooled.
To bring this to a close; look for obstructions either in the water (that the fish may get caught up in) or those on the shore that will hamper your ability to move with the fish. Last but not least, if you have the fish of a life time don't bother trying to net it while in the water. Simply 'land the fish', bring it to the shore line and then deal with it. Take care not to injure it but if you want to control a big one it's pretty easy when they are in an inch of water. This may sound harmful to the fish but the only way you're going to net a really strong fish out in the river is to play it until it is too worn out to resist. Call it 50/50, what is worse, dragging it to the very shore line quickly and gaining control there (with both hands or your net) or playing it until exhaustion and netting.
Anyway great points Mike,