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Old 03-28-2009, 06:14 PM
tie one on's Avatar
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Question Steelhead hooking ??

I went out Thursday morning to a favorite spot to try & tempt our Michigan Steelhead into taking one of my new streamers. I was overwhelmed to see that there were 15 guys fishing downstream of me also trying the same thing. ( about a 200-300 yard stretch of the river) Most were using spinning rods & fishing from right at the edge of the water. I, a fly rod junkie, could not do the same & stood in the middle of the river far enough from an overhanging tree so as not to get my fly stuck in a branch. I was not in the water ten minutes when I felt a rather substantial smack on my fly from a Steelhead I saw jump about 20 yards away from me.

Here's my question : I felt the good hit, I did the usual to set the hook, but no connection. Any thoughts ? Should I have let the fish take it longer before trying to set the hook ? ( The streamer was about 3" long & he may have just grabbed the very end ?? ) If I let him take it longer isn't there a chance the hook may "sting" him & he'd let go ? Maybe too many fisherman ? Best thing for me is that I did not see anyone else get a hit the whole time I was there. Don't worry I'm not slamming spinning rods fisherman, I use mine too, but for other species.

Any thoughts that may help ? I'm going back on Monday morning.

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Old 03-28-2009, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

Congrats on the hit. Sometimes that happens and it's all over before you can react, or it may have just gotten a piece of it if it was a long streamer. Don't think it had anything to do with the other folks there. As water temps rise steelhead will get more aggressive so hopefully you'll have more whacks like that. With strong tippets 8-12lb test or higher, I like to "strip strike"-- basically using the line hand to set the hook rather than a dry fly hook set using the tip of the rod to protect light tippets:

How to Set the Hook With a Strip Strike | Field & Stream

It makes a quick solid connection and sinks the hook. The other advantage is it only moves the fly a foot or so, so if there's a miss it might come back and whack it. Just be ready to slip line after the hook set instead of holding it in a death grip, because the fish will usually take off.

hope this helps. Good luck!

mark
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

Tie one,

I wouldn't worry about that one incident. If you have that happening time after time then I would re-think how I am reacting to the hits.

I fish for steelhead & silvers that hit very much the same way here and sometimes they just don't get hooked. It's like hooking fish on dry flies they usually hook themselves.

What I will do is after the fish is definitely hooked I will give a good stern tug in an attempt to drive the steel home. If you are fishing to catch & release you may not wish to 'drive it home' but I find myself doing it to large trout / steelhead too.

I started doing that a number of years ago when I found myself loosing too many fish even after I had them on for a few minutes so I started experimenting on how to drive the hook in to those hard jaws deeper.

Don't get to splitting hairs until you know that there is a real problem,

Now Go Hook Another One Dude!

Ard
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

Here's something to consider....it will depend on where you are standing in the river...

When a steelhead hits/takes it will likely head toward the middle of the river and/or fast current...

When you feel it lower your rod horizontal to the water and set your hook toward the bank...more likely to set the hook into the side of the jaw.

I like the strip-strike too.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

Hi tie one on,

Steelhead can have very soft takes and other times they slam the fly. I think the key is to stay in contact with the fly. If you have a lot of slack line, or a big bow in the line due to the currant, it is hard to hook up even with a strip strike. I like to keep slack line to a minimum and ready at every drift for a strike. Using a medium or soft action rod also hinders a solid hook up for me.

Here is another thing that may have contributed to missing a hook up early in the season. Your senses are not sharply tuned and you need to get back on your game. I have this problem any time I lay off fishing for a while. I am just not ready for the strike and by the time I get everything sorted out, the fish is gone. Missing a few strikes will really heighten your senses.

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Old 03-29-2009, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

Thanks for your thoughts guys.

Some of what you've shared was new to me even though I've been doing this type of fishing for years.

I'll definitely do some checking into your advice & try it out next time I'm out, which maybe this week.

Thanks,

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Old 03-29-2009, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead hooking ??

I have never really felt a hit really myself. usually I see my indicator or my flyline move unnaturally and I set the hook. I have visually seen them take it a few times also and set the hook accordingly. I don't do anything special really. when I think I got a bite I just strip set and lift the rod at the same time and it usually sets the hook pretty good. once hooked don't let the line get too slacked or they could throw the hook. had that happen a few times. thats really all there is too it! once in a while they will just get the best of ya tho.
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