It's called FOUL hooking, is it not? No gray there for me, all b&w. milt.
Awww, C'mon, Milt..... It can't be THAT simple, can it....
I tend to be in the same camp as you, but I also feel if the 'intentions' were good-- ie. you are not out 'snagging', then I can see how the lines could be blurred.... Again, the fish simply missed scenario.
As Ard said, I've never known anyone to go out snagging with a dry fly....
You presented well enough for the fish to commit, he missed by a hair, and you landed him. Take satisfaction in a job well done and the safe release of the fish. At this point, what does it matter if it is fair or foul hooked (aside from some bogus notoriety?)
I am going to have to go with the fish missed argument. I fished dries for 2 days this weekend and caught 30+ fish and 10 of them were lets say "mis hooked".
For me when there is a big hatch and feeding frenzy where the water is boiling almost then I find I dont mis hook as the fish take the fly more agrresively. Times like this weekend when the fish investigate and then sip it is way more common for me to "foul hook" "mis hook"
I am the king of the "mis hook" "long distance release". But it still beats working
Your intentions were hororable so I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I was in Sacramento a few years back for a training course and it happened to be during the Salmon run. Having never experienced it and being only 4 miles from the American River I had to skip a day, buy a liscense, rod and reel and try it out. A local tackle shop set me up with the rod, reel, and a few jigs with the barbs pinched down. He told me, "hard jigging only, no snagging. The wardens will be watching you from the banks". He directed me towards a bridge with about 60 fishermen on it. Anywhere but the mouth is a "foul hook" and has to go back (naturally 99%of the fish are foul hooked).
I watched an overzealous fisherman foul hook a fish, walk off the bridge and wade waist deep in street clothes in November. His intentions were to grab the fish, move the hooks to it's mouth while it was still under water and keep it. Great plan except when he put his rod under his arm and stuck the hooks in it's lip the fish kicked wildly and took off downstream with the jig, rod and reel attached! He was left with a set of wet street clothes and 59 fishermen laughing at him... Karma will get you every time.
Thanks for all the input. No, no records or anything like that. Just wanted to know for myself for bragging rights. I have come to the conclusion based on all the comments that it was foul hooked, regardless whether it was my fault or the fish's. Doesn't really matter in the end. It was a fun experience and it's just part of fishing. Thanks everyone!
"I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...because only in the woods can I find solitude without lonliness..." Robert Traver 1964 (Judge John Voelker)
I've had that happen a number of times - my sense is that the fish started for the fly and changed it's mind, but, seeing the fish turn on the fly I thought it was a take and set the hook in the side or where-ever. It's not something wrong because it wasn't intentional snagging, but I do count it as foul hooked.
That said, who cares? unless your fishing for records or numbers the point is to be out fishing. Release the fish well and keep on fishing. Whose counting anyways?
It seems this thread is taking the right direction. A hook outside the mouth is foul..... Isn't it. We all see that. Intentions aside, no one is saying a foul hook is the same as an intentional snagging. But if the fish didn't bite, and you didn't set in the lip. Its foul. Intentional or not. We've all had it happen, and thats why I say, fishing for snags, and an occasional foul hook are night and day. Difference between missing, and poaching. One is forgivable.
If you miss, you miss.
If you aim to snag... you are poaching.
The way I read this story, no harm done, but don't count it as a catch. I suppose we aren't fishing for survival here. Foul hook is pretty simple to get in my perspective. You know when you caught it, and when you missed. Foul hooking because the predator missed the prey is a weak argument. In all my years of angling in any style, I never thought I missed because the fish was near/far sighted or uncoordinated. They feed, thats what they do to survive. Animals that feed don't miss by accident, you and I do. Its called a refusal. Just my opinion.
Frank, you are right of course..
Just wanted to affirm that the mouth was the place we are aiming for.
Late sets, setting on a refusal, and dropper snags, are to be avoided if possible.
We aren't out for them "any way possible".
But, it does happen, just like last night... to me.
The main reason I don't want it to happen, is it takes much longer to land them, and sometimes, that is all it takes to kill a fish.
With water temps climbing above 65 it can take longer to resusitate than it did to land them, not good.