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possessed 05-05-2011 06:57 AM

Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
I mainly fish either a 3 wt or a 4 wt rod, depending on the stream.

I seem to hook and lose more fish when I am fishing my 3 wt. I am wondering if I need to set the hook harder when using the 3 wt. Since it is not as stout as the 4 wt, do I need to apply more pressure when setting the hook? I am wondering if the hook is not going in as deep since the rod tip flexes so much more than the 4 wt.

Any ideas? As I stated, this only seems to be a major issue when fishing the 3wt, it does not happen as often when I fish the 4 wt.

wabi 05-05-2011 08:18 AM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
Not sure I can put it into words so it's clear, but when I fish the 3wt I have better success with a "strip set". I use my "line hand" to "jerk" the line a few inches when I get a hit, and try to retrieve the fly with the rod pointed more at the fly & line than with my heavier rods. Not straight at it, but probably a 20 angle between the rod & line.
Not sure it's the correct way, but it works for me. :)

BTW - I make sure my hooks are sharp, too. ;)

fredaevans 05-05-2011 09:28 AM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets

+1 on what he just said.


Bigfly 05-05-2011 10:03 AM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
Posessed, I mostly believe, there are no dumb questions about FFishing. (Especially the set.)
Wabi, and Fred are on it. Again.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line (literally).
Flex of the rod isn't an issue if you pull on the line. It's faster too.
I have had similar issues with my switch rod, softer flex/longer stroke.
I just pull the line tight first, then set/sweep sideways and down-stream..
Never talked about it before, but the amount of slack on the water probably shouldn't be longer than your arm stroke. Not too tight, nor too loose.
Now there's a challenge.


possessed 05-05-2011 10:59 AM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
I should have mentioned in the beginning....

When using my 3 wt, I'm typically fishing small water. Usually dapping and highsticking. When I get a strike, I just raise the rod to set. Maybe I need to raise a little harder and make sure my finger is on the fly line holding it tight.

When fishing my 4 wt, usually on bigger water. I am making longer casting, stripping line, and when I set the hook, I do a stronger side ways set.

I greatly appreciate the responses. You have all been very helpful. I am pretty sure I have now figured out the problem, thanks to your help. Keep my finger pinching the fly line to the rod and raise a bit harder, ensuring a better hook set.

You guys are great, thanks again. :)

fredaevans 05-05-2011 11:10 AM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
Another thought just crossed my mind: length of leader. The longer it is, the more important the 'strip set' becomes.

Ramping this up to 2-hander rods with a full floating line 'my norm' was a 15' RIO leader, with a two fly set up, that could extend to close to 18 feet. About 18'ish months ago spent 4 days with Mark B (flyfishusa) at his 'camp' on the Deschutes.

First morning I 'missed' the hook set on several fish and Mark pulled out a 9' packet of the same sort of RIO leader .. just 9' long and a swap this out for that.

Never looked back. Mark's point (reasonable guess here) is that with an ultra long leader, until it straightens out on the swing, there's a lot of wiggly stuff. You set the hook and all you're really doing is taking the slack out of what's there. With a shorter leader ... far less of that's going to happen.

Balance of the 4 days Charlie and I hooked/released at least 25 fish between us and probably lost as many more.

Ah, poor Mark .... two guys who know how to use 2-handers, fish are stacked up right in front of our tents. What's a Fellow to do, why would Charlie/I want to run up-down the river in his jet boat to find better fishing?:doh:

'Mark, for Heaven's Sake, pull out your rod and go fishing.' He did, damned glad I had my video camera with me. He stuck fish after fish, after fish. Talk about a "Buss-man's holiday!" DVD to prove it.

Bye the bye, he's a darned good cook.:D


chuck s 05-05-2011 03:00 PM

Re: Dumb Question Regarding Hooksets
All great points. When fishing, be it for Tarpon, or Bluegills, I first make sure that leader, line, tippet are all straightened and supple. Any one of these with a few coils or a bit of snaking and you have to be constantly regauging and strike accordingly. Much easier to know everything is straight and then lift or slip strike just enough to set the hook but not tear out mouths or break tippets. :o Longer leaders will definately add cushion as does a soft tip rod, or canting the rod a bit when setting with a slip strike. It's a balancing act for sure and here's how I handle it.

I use a slip strike if at all possible as to me it's more exact and just by adding a bit of bend in the rod by lifting it or canting it to the side, I can protect a light leader. If high sticking or fishing over weeds, I go to a sombined slip/lift strike but make sure all is in a straight line except for the line droop from the rod tip to the water and then jerk line and lift accordingly to set the hook. Should one change to a lighter tippet, a shock absorbing leader, or a longer, more absorbing leader and you do have to readjust your strike. One things for sure, if you've nicked the point off your hook on a low backcast by hitting a rock, none of that works!:teef: Same goes for keeping those hook points razor sharp!:cool:

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