Just wondering if the fly you're using itself is part of the problem. It is very easy on a fly that small to crowd the hook gap with ill-tied or bulky materials.
I fish this as a dropper to a M-80 tossed downstream. This is partner fishing. Your partner handles the net down river.
Fly tied by Bob (Plumbob) Schreiner. Thread twister extraordinaire!
Good point, Jackster! I should mention that there's a huge difference in hook gapes between manufacturers. A Tiemco dry fly hook has a much larger hook gape than a Mustad, and that's unfortunate because I have a lot of Mustad hooks. I only use the Mustads in #16 and smaller for flies that have a thread body, like chironomids, etc.
A nice glass rod will set the hook by itself. A crappy glass rod will to. But if you don't have a soft rod, I'll second what the others have said. All good advise. I fish with 32's during the winter and use bamboo, glass and an Orvis 4w One Ounce. Along with timing, a soft or slow actioned rod helps set the fly.
Absolutely. Sharply setting a hook, especially with a very fast-actioned rod will actually send a smal but very sharply-pronounced, slack-line wave down the line before the line comes under tension. This is so hard to believe that you will have to follow the directions below to see for yourself.
Put your rod together - no reel, no line. Rest the tip-top on a soft sofa back or put a pillow on a chair back. Lift the tip-top an inch above the pillow, then strike quickly upward, jerking the tip up as sharply as posible with a quick wrist rotation- just like an adrenaline rush had hit your muscles causing a rapid twitch. Do it a number of times
So, you wind up with a hook "snap" not a hook "set" at the fish's mouth, with results similar to those you get when snapping a leader between your hands as opposed to slowly pulling on it. More force in a very short time span.
When combined with the other points brought up in this thread about hook gap and so on, it is very easy to pull a hook.
Jackster, that has to be the most insane fly I've ever seen - what is that, a size 42 Royal Wulff?
And I think I could have used that last weekend! Along with a 2 WT and 8X flouro. I put down these fish with a #24 Trico spinner on a gin clear still-water back channel...insane fish. Or insane fisherman, rather.
We could probably stretch this thread a ways....
After seeing many fish come off of clients, as well as my own line,
I have learned to exterminate my habitual, (classic) straight up set.
The very slow (save the queen) sweep-set down stream is the start,
then keeping the rod at an angle (45 deg) to them helps greatly.
If they change direction you need to change too, maintaining the angle (Always opposite).
The lift-set also brings them up out of the slow laminar flow on the bottom, into fast water near the surface. This set will often lead to a lip hook (outside), where the sweep set hooks the corner inside their mouth. The vertical set combined with the extra current pressure makes it easy for them to shake free, or break off.
Very large fish, on very small flies, is the high bar setting.
If you do hook solidly, don't apply heavy pressure, just become their shadow, break their fishy will, not your leader, or the hook..
Tying sparsely on an over-sized/gape hook is a good strategy too.
Catching a heavy fish, in heavy water, on small stuff,
makes me as happy as a first time fisherman hooking up..
The Pit River, is the only water I absolutely use a wading staff on. Beautiful, fishy, but treacherous!
Not to mention poison oak, and rattlers too.