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  1. Default Landing a Fish 101

    To anybody who can help me out. I am new to fly fishing this year and do most of my fishing in New Jersey. I have started off slow by nymphing however I have been having great success. I generally catch a handful of fish every time I go out. I have landed one 18" rainbow this year but I have had several fish smaller and larger than that one break off after setting the hook and fighting it for awhile. I have tried everything from letting the fish run to trying to fight the fish as much as possible. This is using a 5x leader. What recommendations can you provide on how to land larger fish? Is this one of those things where advice cannot help and I must learn on my own? Any advice would be helpful because we all know the heartbreak and disappointment of having a beautiful fish break off. A bunch of my friends want to go to Roscoe NY this summer however until I figure this out I am not ready to run with the big dogs.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    Hi Devils Onion,

    Here is a link to a FAQ post about how to use the fly reel. It has information about fighting a fish from the reel. It should be helpful.

    1. Advice will help but you won't get it right with out some experience.

    2. The first thing I would do is go up to a 4x tippet. You need all the help you can get until you gain the appropriate experience. If you find the fish are leader shy try using a Fluro tippet in 4X.

    3. Your fish fighting technique may be presenting slack to the fish. Only you or a good guide can determine this.

    4. Try larger hooks. If you are using 5X tippets and very small flies your loss ratio will go up.

    5. You don't say what rod you are using. If it is a fast or very fast action rod then try a slower action rod.

    6. If you are using an Airflow line with little or no stretch then try a different fly line from Sage or Rio.

    7. If you want to solve your problem over night hire a good teaching guide. This will help more than anything you could do.

    You need to understand that we all lose fish and that will happen the rest of your fishing life. Good technique and experience will reduce your loss but you should resign yourself that fish get off.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Metuchen, N.J.

    Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    Hi Devil's Onion
    Welcome to the forum. Everything Frank said is right on. Are you getting the fish on the reel after you hook up? Play the fish until you can control him keeping the reel drag light, if he runs let him & lightly palm the reel to slow him down. Do you keep the rod bent & never point it toward the fish? Does your line break at a knot( there is usually a curly end) or around the split shot where it drags bottom & gets abraded on rocks & debris. Ck the line often, at least everytime you retrieve it after getting snagged or catch a fish. Where in NJ do you fish? I'm From NJ & usually can be found somewhere on the Musky.

  4. Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    I really thank you two for providing the information I was looking for. My breaks in the line were clean and it was not an issue of the knot coming undone and being curly. I would try to palm the real and keep the rod bent at the fish. I was just getting confused because if I let it run a bit it would rap itself around a rock or get caught in something, or if I tried to prevent it from hitting the rock it would break. I do all my fishing at Ken Lockwood, however I want to try this trout conservation area on the Musky in Penwell.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    Hi Devils Onion,

    Well I mess up and forgot to put the link you my other post. It is there now and I think you will find it useful. Well heck, here it is again: How do you use a fly reel.

    I want to caution you about palming the reel with a 5X tippet. It is a sure way to break off. You want to learn the technique but it is not a good way for a beginner to fight a fish on a light tippet. I think having your drag set properly and using the rod to control the fish is a better way for a beginner.


  6. Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    my advice would be to get them to your reel asap and make sure you have already set your drag very lightly and just palm the reel when it runs away from you and just let um run a couple times without manhandling it till it gets tired.. you will kno when to reel him in and let him run. if it don't run or it comes torwards you then you reel if it turns and takes off let him go but always keep your fly rod bent . not to much but not too little. just in the middle. I almost use it as a guage as to when to reel and when to let um run. once you get the idea down its not that hard. also if it seems you get lots of break offs try some new tippet as it could be be old and not any good. my cousin lost a few fish cause they never took my advice of not to leave there vests in the trunk of the car 24/7 in the summer lol. told them but no they rather learn the hard way. good luck. I have caught 28 inch steelies this way and never ahd a break off. I was using 3x and 4x tippet tho.
    "Hey, you.Get your damn hands off my herl !!!!"

    owner of the GL Fishing Forum.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Landing a Fish 101

    Firstly, what rod are you using? That can have a definite impact on the type of answer that will solve your problem best.

    My general advice is step up to a 3x tippet, or even a 2x fluorocarbon tippet. 5x and finer tippets are VERY overrated and more often than not result in what you've experienced: lost fish. I've caught enough fish on a 2x fluoro tippet, even a big 24" brown trout, that I rarely go finer than 4x. It does depend on water clarity, however, and certain extremely clear streams at certain times of the day do call for very fine tippets to guarantee that a large, intelligent trout will not be spooked by your leader. Most of the time, I haven't found that to be the case, however.

    My second piece of advice is, whether you're using a 5x tippet or a 2x tippet, whenever tying any knot with mono, you need to lubricate the knot to prevent that minor bit of overheating due to friction that happens when the knot seats itself. Most people do this with saliva, but a splash of water will work if you don't want to lick your leader. If you seat the knot dry, it will overheat (on a very small scale), and the plastic can weaken and eventually result in a snapped tipped right at the knot if overstressed.

    It is important to be able to fight fish from the reel, and use your reel's drag (if it has one) to let large fish take controlled runs. However, unless you're using something like a 1 weight full flex fly rod, you should be able to just strip in line to land trout less than 12 inches long without having to worry about playing them from the reel or breaking your tippet.
    The other flies, n., pl.
    1. dry flies, nymphs, emergers, terrestrials, streamers, etc.
    2. What I use when a black #10 woolly bugger isn't catching.

  8. Re: Landing a Fish 101

    Hey DO...

    Fishing a 5X tippet is tricky. If you're using a fast action rod, the tip of the rod is the only section of play you have. And even that's questionable. I use very fast rods because they fit my casting style. When I go down to light tippet for shy fish, skinny water or tiny flies, I make sure my drag is loosely set. I palm the reel very little and let the combo of rod, reel and line be the dragging mechanism together. If a decent fish wants to run, let 'em! Putting too much pressure on a green fish usually results in a lost fish. You'll know by how he's fighting that fatigue is setting in and THEN... you can apply a bit more pressure on him.
    As the prior Gent suggested, stepping up to a 4X tippet can make a huge difference. You can bully a fish more then you realize with 4X. Keep your rod sideways and slightly up when you fight them. When he runs, you relax... he relaxes, you whip 'em!!
    Good luck!!!

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