So today I see a fish rising in some riffles at the top of the pool I am fishing. I set up to cast, send the Adams #16 dry above where I saw the rise, he comes up to take the fly, I set the hook and fish on! Turns out to be a 14" rainbow that put up a good fight. Unfortunately when he went to take the fly I don't know whether he changed his mind or how I set the hook but he got hooked right behind his left gill. I was on his left side facing upstream. I released him without incident and he swam away freely. Was that considered a foul hook fish?
"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)
Well sorta but these things happen. Had you not reacted with a strike on your end the fish may not have been hooked at all. Between years of experience and the use of light tippets I became a guy who seldom jumped my rod tip when a fish showed on my fly. Almost all the fish I have caught for many years on dry flies have hooked themselves. Those who did not I always figured were lucky,
PS. As far as whether you did anything wrong, no you didn't. Some people deliberately snag fish but I've never seen a fellow using dry flies snag a fish on purpose.
What is "foul hooked?" I tend to believe it's when the angler believes the fish is foul hooked...allow me to give you some examples from my experiences and you decide:
1. I've hooked LM bass on top of the head, on the gill cover, top of the nose, and under the jaw.
2. I've hooked bluegills in the eye, as well as under the chin.
3. I've hooked salmon in the mouth, as well as on the back, the sides, and on the tail (but not on the tail fin).
I believe the salmon were foul hooked...the hook was nowhere near the food intake. The salmon merely bumbed into the hook while swimming by....happens when they spawn in the rivers.
LM bass are notorious for missing the target...when they open that big mouth, they're lucky to grab the prey while swimming. I've seen LM bass clear the water to grab a popper, only to miss the target by 12 inches! I've had bass "blow up" on a plastic frog, just to miss the target completely!
IFGA states that to qualify for a world record, the fish has to be hooked in the mouth. A few years ago, someone caught a 24 lb LM bass...easily beating the record by well over a pound. The angler had integrity...the fish was hooked elsewhere...I believe on top of the head of the fish.
IMHO, if a fish goes for a meal, but misses with an open mouth, I don't consider it foul hooked. When I used to snag salmon back in NY state (it was legal) I considered it "foul hooked." I have friends who snag paddlefish, and I would consider them "foul hooked" as well.
i was taught that a fish hooked in the mouth was fair caught and any where else was foul or snag hooked.
need more convincing, go talk to the fish and game boys in alaska. theyll line you out every time.
Good point, Robert. While the IGFA rules regarding the hook needing to be in the mouth is understandable to prevent deliberate snag-hooking and similar less-than-sporting practices, it does leave out those fish who are deliberate in attacking the bait but not so precise in their aim or just overcome by ravenous hunger/anger. Certainly this happens with bass, but also other fish. While sight-fishing for a number of different species I have watched them attack a lure only to miss or hit the lure in a way that the hook ends up somewhere besides the mouth. As recently as yesterday I saw this happens with both tiny bait-stealers as well as freshwater drum and sauger. Now, if the fish goes after the lure only to veer away and the line drags the hook into the fish, this may be considered a foul-hook. Suffering, however, for a fish's poor accuracy or absolute zeal is rather unfortunate when the presentation and lure/fly were for all intents and purposes correct, only to have the hook end up in a less-than-perfect spot.
I see you side, Gator. But I have to ask- Does it really matter? I don't fish for records or notoriety-- I fish because I enjoy the sport.
Was the fish harmed? Nope--- Good on the angler.
Was the experience a good one? Yep, Good on the angler
Can you lie to your buddies and tell them that the hook was definitely in the mouth? Yep, good on the angler (and while you are at the lying bit, be sure to add a few inches/ pounds to the size-- after all, we are fishermen )
I guess, If there was a record at stake- it might leave a sour taste for me to have the fish miss, OTOH, I'd be likely to not even consider the record, snap a pic and send him on his way.
I'm not even sure how to go about verifying a record with out excessive handling and harming of a fish as I don't fish with a fishing records dean-- He only goes with me about half of the time....
Yeah Raindog, I'm with you there, I have never gone out fishing hoping for a record, just a fun fight and maybe some dinner, depending on what I'm targeting. I've seen it more from another angle, where at one of our local fishing spots guys are always going after each other over whether one guy or the other is snag-hooking fish. In my opinion, if you're not keeping the fish for that night's dinner (when I'm in FL fishing, I'll often keep a slot red to bake for dinner that night), as long as it's not injured and you are not deliberately trying to snag hook fish, it's cool with me. Now when an angler ends up with a treble hook at his feet with the fish's jaws attached and no body to be seen, that's another story...
Anyway, I'm far more likely to be bothered by the huge stringers and buckets worth of fish that I see people leaving fishing sites with. Even if the fish are more or less coarse fish rather than game fish like trout or bass, it still bothers me because it seems both wasteful and damaging to the fishery, but I'm no marine biologist (but the main site in question is no put-and-take either)
In Michigan the hook has to be in the mouth. That rule is enforced because some people were 'lining' the salmon. They waited for the line to hesitate then yanked and usually ended up with the fish hooked on the outside of the mouth.
In my view, close, but no cigar and possible a ticket and nice fine.
It's just fishing. If it's hooked anywhere outside of the mouth just know there will be others that will take your fly fair and square.