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Old 07-27-2012, 09:31 PM
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Default Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

Had a fairly bad day...although it was a day of fishing vs being at the office. Took a face plant digger in the South Platte and having only about a half hour left to fish and a wind-knot-mess-ball I decided to tie on a single #20 Red Copper John and a stick-on indicator and try a few more drifts before deciding to erase this outing from the record books and focus on beer instead.

At the end of an aweful, nowhere near drag free drift, I hooked into a substantial fish. I am still fairly new at this and have caught some pretty large trout on a streamer and a 22" rainbow recently in a lake on a small Parachute Adams, but, no current.

At first I thought I was hung up on a rock and then realized that rocks don't move and strip line off your reel and bend your rod like a wet noodle. He...or it...was downstream of me and using the current which was about 250 cfs today. I knew not to horse this guy but to let him run a bit and reel when I thought he was letting up some. I tried to steer him to some calmer current and walk toward him but I was wading through sharp rocks and uneven bottom, and it was a wind tunnel. When I switched hands to tighten down on the drag he broke off and my fly came hurtling at my face at 80 mph.

I saw the large submarine roll away and a got a glimpse of his large golden side and fat gut. Bummer. Had I gotten him the the net it would have been a great day.

Any pointers on dealing with this scenario? Big fish, tiny fly, 6X tippet, current and not a lot of room to manuever?
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

I generally do what you did- run downstream, splashing/falling/laughing like heck... No science involved whatsoever.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

If yo leader is seerely kinked, old, or has even a single wind know in it, it is much more suceptible to busting when a fish starts to run. Smooth transitions I have learned are key. When a really big fish is on, I believe you have no choice but to run where it runs and try to get it in. Finesse is vital, though. Proper drag settings to tire the fish out without busting your tippet is also very important. Using new, know free leaders and tippet will help if you are not allready.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

First of all, when you think about it, you still got to hook and see a gig one. It can't be that bad a day.

Second, you are going to loose a few few big fish. I don't care who you are or how good you are. You will loose a few big fish fish. You don't even need to do anything wrong.

Third, the best way to keep it to a minimum is have zero equipment faults. Good drag. Good knots. Good leader materials. Make less mistakes yourself. Breaking a fish off is almost always operator error.

You can have one come off and not be a mistake you made, but busting it off is almost always you. I know it's hard to do, but stay calm. Get excited after you land it. Till it is, it must be business. Try and make it do your bidding, not the other way around. If you can turn the fish up into the current you have a better chance. Not being able to may not be your fault. Try anyway. If you can't follow it once it goes up the river, try and turn it back down long enough to give you some leg room. Then go for back up. Don't horse the crud out of them. It's just a good way to loose them. I have seen people do it and get away with it, but I still don't recomend it.

If you do loose one, it's not going to be the last, don't beat yourself up. Try and learn from it. I just lost a really big Walleye the other day. I think it may be because I got hooked on the bottom, cast past it, got it off and kind of dulled the point. I thought about sharpening it but didn't. Maybe it cost me the fish, maybe it didn't. Maybe God just wasn't done messing with me. Who knows? I knew better, and I will try and not be lazy about it again in the future, although I most likely will. I have made the same mistake before. I won't loose sleep over it.

As for a strategy for big fish in current. As just a basic idea. try and turn them up river and let them fight the water as well. But big fish are notorious for not co-operating. Just do the best you can as the it says in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe.... Don't Panic
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike63 View Post
When I switched hands to tighten down on the drag he broke off and my fly came hurtling at my face at 80 mph.
By the way, this was most likely where you went wrong. Don't mess with the drag. Set it right to start and leave it alone. The switching hands was likely a factor as well. On the other hand, maybe none of it mattered and it would have come off anyway.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

Being new to this fly fishing game I can't really offer advice that would be of any help. I can however share a recent misfortune I ran into with a large fish in moving water that I have learned a hard lesson from.

I was fishing a dry down and across on a section of water below some rifles. On the swing I had what had to be a 2+ pound trout (which is big for my area, and much bigger then anything I've successfully landed with my fly rod) come up and smash my fly. I was able to get a nice hook set and the fight was on. The fish swam in a straight line upstream (right past my) so I decided to allow him to take some line while i reeled in the excess. I took my eye off the fish for one second, just to see how much line I had left to reel in before I could fight him from the reel itself. During this second the fish turned, and like a bullet shot right down past me downstream, causing slack in the line I did not have time to react to. Game over. Fish 1, Ian 0

It was at this point that I knew the fish had caught me with my pants down and my attention somewhere other then the fish. I'd like to think I learned two things from this mishap. 1 - don't take my eye off the fish and what it is doing, and 2 - fish can move very fast when heading downstream.

Sorry this post doesn't offer any helpful information regarding your struggles, but hopefully it will allow you to get a chuckle or two from my misfortune and know you aren't the only one out there that has had problems in moving water.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

Try using slightly stronger Tipit,sometimes it helps especially if you use Fluoro & if The Fish aren't too Spooky.
Also when Fishing Fast Water it pays to replace your tipit regularly,mainly after catching a Fish,just keep your running practice up to scratch as well.
Good Luck.
Brian.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

You will lose some fish, but...we all do.

Check that tippet every 10 to 15 minutes. It can get abraded quite easily and its harder to feel that in fast waster.

Go lighter than you think appropriate on your drag. Those first runs are usually the fastest and most violent. And, it's always easier to tighten it slightly vs. lightening it during a fight - you can always apply a bit more pressure, if needed, by palming the reel a bit (which can be dangerous and cause break-offs too).

Keep your rod bent, really bent, and make it work for you. It is your shock absorber.

Sideways pressure, perpendicular to the current, seems to help make the fish swin in ways other than straight downstream (sometimes) - helps tire the fish.

Make sure your hooks are as sharp as can be. Check them every time you check you tippet. Dragging nymphs or drifting anything will bump bottom and that's your hook point getting beat up on those rocks. Sharp hooks make a nice clean hole that seems to hold better vs. a dull hook that tears a hole.

All that looks good in print. In practice, all situations are different. Seems the fish we chase, even with their pea-sized brains, will make us look silly on a regular basis.

Prayer helps - quite a bit!

Kind regards - redleg
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

Yep, sounds like the Splatte!

Not sure you could have done anything better, those big fish are just tough and well educated in breaking off an angler. I have had several larger fish break me off, many that could have been a new personal record. Tough balance between skinny tippet, tip pressure, hook strength, and finesse. Catching carp has helped me practice with heavier fish... Still trying to land a trout over 24" though. If possible I try to use 3x or heavier for big fish, but sometimes that just means getting no bites!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

It could be said that I have a lot of experience with heavy fish in heavy currents. When I hook up at the end of a swing and the fish does not swim up stream ............ I get my feet either on shore or close enough to it that I can move and I mean move pretty quick. Then while cranking in line to keep the tension even I move down until I am either below or beside the fish. From this position I can get things going my way usually. As far as using a light line in 'current', I go heavier on the leader & bigger on the fly. The fish in a swift current should not be able to spy an 8 or 10 pound line and if they are that keen at avoiding being caught due to pressure I would find a different place to fish.

Ard
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Any tips for fighting large fish in current?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike63 View Post
l I decided to tie on a single #20 Red Copper John and a stick-on indicator....

At the end of an aweful, nowhere near drag free drift, I hooked into a substantial fish. I am still fairly new at this and have caught some pretty large trout on a streamer and a 22" rainbow recently in a lake on a small Parachute Adams, but, no current.

Any pointers on dealing with this scenario? Big fish, tiny fly, 6X tippet, current and not a lot of room to manuever?
I see this as a problem of too weak a tippet attached to a too strong fish.

I note that the drift was NOT drag free so, at least in this case, the 6X tippet was not the reason the fish took the fly, but it WAS the reason you lost the fly. In this case, had you used a 5X or even a 4X tippet, you likely still would have hooked the fish.

You basically need to choose between a longer drag free drift using a thinner (more limber) tippet vs a better chance at landing a big fish by using a thicker (less limber) tippet.

When nymphing, I use a high quality fluorocarbon tippet. It is less visible and it does not absorb water so it maintains its diameter and strength. That is one recommendation.

The second is fight the fish with the rod parallel or even bent down toward the water surface. This places the maximum proportion of the line tension on the fish. Any elevated rod tip position shifts some of the pull to lifting the fish; and the fish can tip itself down; and gravity, rather than the fish, is pulling against the rod. So the some of the line tension is ineffective. At a 45 degree angle, half of the pull is lifting the fish's dead weight.

The only time I elevate the rod is:

1. If there are weeds or a snag I want to avoid.
2. If the fish has taken so much line, that the friction of the line in the water can break the tippet.
3. When I want to lift the fish to net it.

Otherwise, fight the fish with lateral pull, alternating side to side to keep the fish off balance. You can literally walk the fish to you with this alternating side to side tension.
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