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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 04-19-2013, 10:56 PM
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Default Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

I just watched a video on steelhead fishing (I'm planning on buying an 8 wt sometime and fishing for some steelies this fall on a lake michigan trib this fall) and one piece of advice in the video really surprised me. The man, John Hazel, essentially stated that you shouldn't set the hook immediately after the hit (while skating flies). Instead, he said you should let the fish turn and take a couple feet of line out before setting the hook.

Based on my brook/brown/bow trout fishing, this is not correct. I always thought you should set the hook as soon as the hit because if waiting either:
a) The fish spits the fly out or
b) The fish swallows the fly and its really difficult to unhook from the stomach

Why would you run the risk of letting the fish possibly swallow the fly whole straight to the stomach when you could just hook right inside the mouth? I don't know if John Hazel is really famous for fishing steelhead but his casting in the video was pretty dang good, so I'm not really doubting that his advice is correct, just wondering why and if this also applies to fishing for brookies/browns/bows.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisherz View Post
(while skating flies)
The key words. You will take the fly away. This applies to any fish. Steelhead are trout.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:44 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

I sometimes use a much larger fly than necessary when fishing in waters where the brook trout are hitting on almost every cast. If it's a small trout, I quickly strike before the trout has a chance to close his mouth on the fly. If it's a big surface boil, I wait before striking.

Yes...you should wait a good half second before striking. For Atlantic salmon, it's a good 1 second wait before striking.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

God save the queen. Lol that only applies in certain situations, try doing that indicator fishing. Basically if your line is tight and the fishes open mouth is facing you as would be the case skating flies then you have to let them turn. When the indicator goes down set the hook the opposite direction the fish is moving as fast as you can. It's literally the same concept pull the hook back into the fishes mouth not out of it.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

We have all missed Fish from either Striking Too Early or Too Late A Fishing mate earlier this year asked me how long do I usually wait before I Strike as he was missing Quite a few Fish.
All I said was I usually count 99 - 100 - 101 then I Strike however I miss them too.
I find the Hardest Fish to hook are on Really Long Casts.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisherz View Post
I don't know if John Hazel is really famous for fishing steelhead but his casting in the video was pretty dang good, so I'm not really doubting that his advice is correct, just wondering why and if this also applies to fishing for brookies/browns/bows.
John and his wife Amy are very well known in the spey / steelhead community here in the PNW and besides their videos they own / operate a fly shop and guide service on the Deschutes. They are very accomplished and also very nice people. I have been fortunate enough to have two very good mentors for my own steelhead fishing here on the Clearwater / Snake / Ronde and they both stressed to me to never try and set the hook on a steelhead. I've watched both of them land dozens of fish so took their advice to heart and have never had much trouble landing my own fish. We never use nymphs though, just swinging, and the strategy may be different for those who nymph.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

I swing flies for pretty large browns. My hookup rate has gone 'way up over the last few years as I have, finally, learned to let the fish pull out a loop of line before I set.

However, if I still fished nymphs I would set immediately on seeing a take...
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

I don't have a DVD out there but have posted here many times about hooking fish. What I have said in the past is still true. Almost every fish I catch from salmon to trout hook themselves. I just drive the point home after I feel them on the line.

How to hook a fish can perhaps be aided by advice but the only way to really get it down is to have a lot of fish take your fly over a period of time.

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Old 05-12-2013, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunkfly View Post
I swing flies for pretty large browns. My hookup rate has gone 'way up over the last few years as I have, finally, learned to let the fish pull out a loop of line before I set.

However, if I still fished nymphs I would set immediately on seeing a take...
This is very good information, Its all about what your fishing. If your running a flesh fly or nymph (same presentation) and you are not setting immediately upon seeing a strike you are missing a lot of fish. If you wait to feel them by the time that message goes to your brain gets processed and then you decide to set it is way to late most of the time. Swinging flies it depends on where it is at on the swing, but 90 percent of the time you should wait for the fish to turn away. Actually nvm you should always wait for the fish to turn away sometimes however due to usually you being able to see the fish, and it being early in the swing when it is not way downstream of you an immediate hookset is appropriate. You determine this by being confident that the fishes open mouth is not facing you. always set back into the fishes mouth. When indicator fishing lets say that you get the rare downstream strike. Instead of a typical strike your indicator races downstream. Usually this means a fish has turned and pursued your fly. The appropriate hookset in this situation is to set upstream the opposite direction of the current. If you set downstream you will pull the hook out of its mouth 9.9 times out of 10 in this particular situation. If your drift is still upstream of you and a upstream hookset wont work, a very high hookset is the next best thing.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: Setting the hook for steelhead vs trout?

It really depends on how hard the take is...

If its sipped off the surface - I gently raise the rod tip on trout about a foot then set it upwards.

On steel - I say "god save the queen" then set it hard - parallel to the water - they don't call them steel heads for nothing... set it in the corner of their mouth.
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