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bocamike 08-02-2012 01:46 PM

Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Well, I learned a very expensive lesson in my backyard canal this week...with my beloved 6wt I snagged a 20+pound snapping turtle, and during the struggle to get him close enough to salvage my favorite fly, I managed to snap the top section of my rod, about 6 inches from the tiptop......... And then before I could recover from that surprise, the critter broke me off on some jagged rocks, so I had to give up the fly as lost.

Here's my question: someday (hopefully), my catch will be a lunker bass, and in my excitement to get him out of the water without breaking my priceless rod again, I think I need a specific lesson in technique. Obviously, I don't wish to place all that weight on my rod as in "lifting" the fish out of the water. I suppose therefore, that at some point in the catch I must lay down the rod and physically handle the line/leader until the fish is in reach to safely land him.

To me, that sounds a bit clumbsy, and somehow takes away from the glory of "catching on fly". Is this the prescribed technique or is there a more graceful and rewarding way to go about it?

PS. This precise question looms heavily this week as I prepare my first trek to the beach to try my hand at some of the sizable Snook which are being caught in large numbers presently. How the heck does one go about bringing a 20 pound fish out of the surf to where a safe release can take place? Do I simply drag him out of the waves to a point where I can approach him, remove the hook, and manually help him back out to sea?

Hopefully I am not making too much out of this process. I guess once I have experienced either scenario a time or two, I'll learn the preferred way to go about it.

piscatorial_phd 08-02-2012 02:39 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Sorry to hear about your rod and fly. Most of us who have been doing this for a long time call tell similar stories.

Lots of tip breaks happen when the rod is not gripped at the butt/handle of the rod and a greater strain is placed on the tip. I used to have a nasty habit of setting the handle on the ground and holding the upper sections of the rod while I unhooked fish. It only took one snapped rod for me to start asking the same questions as you.

Also, always bring a net with you. I have caught large salmon, redfish, bass and carp when fishing for smaller species on light tackle and these fish had to be put in the net or drug in.

Rip Tide 08-02-2012 02:40 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
I think that you have a pretty good handle on both questions :thumbsupu

You should always use a rod heavy enough to land the largest fish that you're like to catch, otherwise it comes down to 'straight lining" the "too light" rod and using the reel as a winch, or hand lining the fish in.

As for the surf, you use the breaking waves to your advantage. As they break on shore, you clamp down on your line and back up, using each wave to help propel the fish up the breach. As wave recedes you do your best to hold the fish in position until another wave breaks and you can back up some more. You do this until you feel it's safe to bend over and grab the fish, never turning your back to the breaking waves.

stl_geoff 08-02-2012 08:38 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Using the surf to help land the fish will help alot.

i do alot of what you said in the last part of your first question with big carp. I dont fish with a net for big fish ( yet ) so when I get them close to land, I will lay the rod down on the shore and land them by hand lining them to me. I will try to get about 2-3 feet of fly line out the end of the rod before I start thinking about hand lining them. Its still a graceful way to land fish and it actually gets even more intimate. your hand is on the line and you are touching them almost directly. Its very exciting actually. I actually find it easier to land them that way, you get in much more control and feel of the line and tension.

Dont feel too bad about the last 6" breaking off, you should be able to get that fixed easily and cheaply. So put a new tip on it and go back to town.

jhammer 08-02-2012 09:12 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
I usually keep the rod at a 45 degree angle or less. That way I can use the whole rod instead of fighting off of the tip.

turbineblade 08-03-2012 07:40 AM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Jhammer: I never really thought about this. For most spin fishing I've done, I tended to raise the rod to about 45-60 degrees not thinking that the lesser angles between 15-45 degrees probably use more of the rod butt to fight the fish.

That's why I love this forum!

jhammer 08-03-2012 11:23 AM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
That's how I keep those muddy water monsters from busting up my 6wt. ;)

stl_geoff 08-03-2012 11:26 AM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Just buy an 11wt and haul em on in! hahaha.

shotgunfly 08-03-2012 12:42 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
A fish will aways exert more pressure on a line/rod when it's out of the water. That said I almost always net my fish (those that are big enough to require a net).

chuck s 08-03-2012 08:29 PM

Re: Landing heavy catch on light rod???
Use a net! Grabbing leaders or high sticking that rod all too often ends as a disaster. If not a net, then a Boga Grip or one of the knock offs.

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