I'm having trouble with losing a lot of trout after the hook up. I'm not a beginner, I've been fly fishing for trout for going on 8 years and I have only developed this problem within the past 4-6 months and it seems to be mostly when I'm nymphing. Here's how it usually goes:
I lay out my cast, throw an upstream mend, indicator goes down, I set the hook , and the fight is on for a few seconds, then the fish is gone I'm losing probably 60% of my fish like this.
I read an article from Gink and Gasoline saying that too much pressure on the line when the fish starts the head shaking is a common mistake and that does seem to be when most of them are lost. But I've also noticed that some of the fish I am managing to land are hooked in the lower lip or just barely hooked in the upper lip. Am I jumping the gun a bit on the hookset, too much slack on hookset, or have I developed some sort of bad habit when setting the hook? I'm up for any advice or input on this. THANKS!!
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Losing too many fish
How often are you fishing and does this happen everytime? Have you changed anything like the indicator or fly size that could be causing this? I have days where I get a case of the 'lost fish'. You might not be doing anything wrong and are just on an unlucky streak. It happens. It sounds like you have enough experience to work through it, but from what you are saying, you are not missing them so I don't think it's you.
I suspect that you may be setting upstream; that is, much of the time the indicator is below you or at your level on the river. Probably also not an offset point and barbless.
Also you can never be too quick with an indicator. By the time the indicator goes down it is relatively LATE in the take. If timing is an issue, you are setting too late. The fish has to take the fly, any slack from the fly to the indicator has to be removed, then the indicator has to move, you have to react, the slack from the rod to the indicator has to be removed, and only then will the fly actually move to hook the fish. You can never set too quickly!
The "upstream mend" introduces slack for a drag free drift. Is that not so? A drag free drift means slack line between indicator and fly and slack line between rod tip and indicator. How can you get an instantaneous set with slack line in the system? You cannot. Therefore, a drag free drift always means a delayed set!!!
Before you cast,,,if you intend to hook in the upper lip,,,are you turning your flies,,,shank down/hook up ? If you are just going with them 'as they are',,,you would miss about 50 percent of your sets. The trout are probably just sliding their lips off of the shank a lot of the time.
OK,,even a kid could catch that one,,lol ,,just had'a do it,,sorry.
I'd bout bet it's like Dan says,,I know I have days,,,even with spinning gear what little i use it,,and fly rods a lot,,,that I think 'Danggg, I could set a hook better when I was 8 years old !' ,,, that does happen.
Silver ask some questions that has me also pondering,,about the angle YOU move the rod on hook-set.
For 'me' personally, pulling the rod,,or ANY hook-set were I'm fishing downstream TO the trout,,I wanna not pull straight upstream but lend an angle to it. Too many times I've seen myself pull it straight out of their mouth.
Seems like the guys above have about covered it, but here's my 2cts as well...
Are you going to the reel right away or hand lining the fish in? I've always had a hard time with keeping fish on my line when going to the reel when nypmphing. I don't know if this is because the fish are eating the bugs that are flowing in their "chow line"with less aggression compared to swimming to a dry fly or what. With all the line out under water, setting the hook you are fighting against a multitude of pressures on that line as opposed to a little resistance with a dry fly. I've concluded that having a hand on the line helps "feel" for the right pressure to have when I don't have a great hook-set, whereas going to the reel leaves it all up to the rod tip and drag.
As said above too, sometimes we all go through spells where we are struggling. Keep with it, you'll get it figured out, and then you have to post pictures of all the fish you are bringing in
The first thing I check when I'm loosing fish is the hook sharpness.
When I started fly tying I tried several brands of hooks and settled on Daiichi as my favorite. A couple years ago I bought several packs of inexpensive hooks. Noticed after catching a fish or two my loss rate was skyrocketing. It was the hooks! Went back to Daiichi (and a couple other brands I trust) and the problem was solved.
Yes, I still fail to land a few, but that's just part of the fun.
Why is it always the best one of the day that spits the hook, though?
If you think you are late on hook set, or if there is slack line between the rod tip and the indicator; add a strip strike to a down stream rod strike. Pull line in with your line hand to remove slack at the same time you strike with the fly rod. It will lower your reaction time.
We have all had similiar problems,there are many problems which can cause the loss of Fish.
As mentioned The main problems I see all the time are,too much slack Line,not getting The Line onto the Reel when fighting Fish.
Also some people try to land Fish too quickly,blunt Hooks can also be another problem as well as badly Tied Knots.