it hadn't rained in a week, weather warm and cloudy but the river still cold enough to give ya chills through your waders, perfect day for fishing. no bugs on top the water so i thought it best to nymph. not too long into it i hooked something BIG. after the first jump i realized it was the biggest rainbow i have ever hooked. after the third jump.... gone !!! seemed to end before it got started. i was excited and disappointed at the same time. i was disappointed because i found out it broke my line. i am not sure if it broke becuase of a bad knot (very possible), too small a tippet, or the fact my retrieve was not good. if it was my knot i can fix that, same for the tippet, but its the retrieve i am concerned about. this is what i am seeking some expertise on. when i first hooked the fish i immediately raised the rod high and started pulling in line to keep it tight but not so tight i was trying to force the fish to me. is there something more appropriate i could have done? any input on this would be helpful
At lunch the other day I had the time to read some John Gierach. I discovered that over the weekend I had executed a nearly perfect instance of what he calls an L.D.R. (Long Distance Release), a heretofore unknown fishing strategy. I had fretted that I had horribly misplayed a large brown allowing it to run out a lot of line, break off a 5x tippet, and abscond with a perfectly good fly. Now I know I actually performed a selfless act of great moral courage releasing the fish at a distance to allow it to survive and thrive. Damn, I'm so proud of myself. Plus I avoided all that needless time and energy involved in actually bringing it to net? Everyone should try it
Kicker: Without being there I can't say for sure what happened, but here are some ideas, but first I want to say what happened to you has happened to all of us more times than we want to admit. Just the other day I was floating on a river noted for Big Browns, I was ready and targeting them with my 7 wt streamer rod and sure enough I hooked into an absolute brute that was putting the hurt on my 7 wt z-axis rod and then he came unbuttoned. I'm my case, I still had my streamer so I knew he just spit the hook, I was disappointed, but it happens so don't dwell on it go back to fishing and catch a bigger one!
Ok, now for some ideas. First check the end of your tippet, assuming the fly is gone, if the fly is there than check to make sure it is very sharp. If you touch the hook point to the back of your thumbnail it should have a tacky feel, if not touch it up with a hook sharpener. Now if the fly is gone, take a look at the end of the tippet, if it has a curly cue look to it, than the knot failed, which means you need to work on getting your knot nice and snug without compromising the tippet, usually that means making sure you wet the tippet good before cinching down. If the tippet is nice and straight than the tippet failed, you might need to go one size larger or just be more aware that the fish in that stream have the capability in breaking you off and being more careful during the battle. Is the tippet, old and been sitting out in the sun, if so maybe time for a new spool. Floro tippet doesn't degrade in the sun, so I'm told. If your fishing a stream with good current in the middle of the stream and you hook a fish, it will want to go out into that current, to help prevent that from happening or to try and get him out, lay the rod over (rather then holding it high) and work him from the side trying to get the fish into calmer water where you will have a better chance of landing the fish. This reminds me of fishing on the Missouri in the spring a few years ago, I was using an 8 wt rod, 2x tippet and #8 hooks, we were landing our fair share of fish, but occassionly we would hook into a really big fish, he would run downstream, you couldn't keep up because of the boulders or drop offs along the edge of the river and eventually he would dart out into the heavy current and then start heading back upstream. The issue was that we would now have all this line in the water in a j-hook pattern and eventually there would be so much drag on the line all it took for the fish is a small head shake to spit the hook. Another thing I like to do is keep the rod tip low if I know I'm into a large rainbow as they will likely jump to try and spit the hook. If you happen to have the rod high and can see that he is about to jump then try to lower the rod quickly. Those big fish know how to spit hooks and every other trick in the book to get free......but then that is part of the fun trying to out smart the fish and being able to bring him to the net.
Quote: when i first hooked the fish i immediately raised the rod high and started pulling in line to keep it tight but not so tight i was trying to force the fish to me. is there something more appropriate i could have done? any input on this would be helpful[/QUOTE]
Try letting them make at least one run before starting to "play" them.
As Larry said, we have all been there.
And Haynes says he made an L.D.R., a good way of looking at it.
You are experiencing some of what makes this Fly Fishing a great sport.
i appreciate the input. even though this one got away i know what area he is working in, what he was interest in eating, and what what gear is needed to bring him in (just to put him back of course). this is definitely a learning experience and i will bet its going to happen again but next time the learning curve wont be so big.
the section i was fishing holds small to average trout so i decided to go with the 6x. i am thinking now that the fish was too much for the tippet, still not forgetting about the knot.
dhaynes > i just started reading Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders by John Gierach last night !! not to many pages in yet but i like it
mcnerney > my leader/tippet are flourocarbon. when im not fishing all the gear is placed neatly into thier designated containers, ie rod tube, reel covers. i put in a litte effort into keeping my gear maintained.
imxer> i'll remember that run thing for the next big one !!!
Now that I see you were using 6x tippet, my guess is that was the issue. You can land some big fish on 6x, you just have to be really careful and not put too much pressure on the fish, also when using tippet that small it really helps to have a rod with a softer tip. Most people now days love the fast action rods because of the distance they can cast but the tradeoff with the stiff tip is the delicate fighting ability. I primarily use 4x floro tippet unless I'm fishing highly pressured fish then I will drop down or if I'm targeting large trout I will move up to 3x or 2x. I do 6x when I fish the San Juan for instance, but there you are normally fishing size 24-26 flies for the most part. Best of luck on the next outting.
Now that I see you were using 6x tippet, my guess is that w
as the issue
i totally understand your rig set up. the river i fish the most is very unique. all depends on water condition. sometimes the river is high but fishable, causing me to make longer cast. some spots get too deep for me and i cannot get around well. other times you can walk across the river likes its a sunday stroll. i used to use 4x for everything but learned that was a reason i was not catching very much. the 6x was kinda a trial run, i now know how delicate it is with bigger fish. now that i know that big boy is out there i will drop to a 5x and work that around a little.
i keep mentioning the possibility of my knot not working but never really gave any detail of it. the rig i was using was a dry-dropper set up, ive had decent results in this area with it. nymph was tied to the hook of the dry. after the fish broke off the dry was still attached but there was no line on the drys hook. so with no line where i tied it i assume it was the knot.