SRC release techniques

John B

just tryin' to keep the skunk off
I just got my Lamson Ketchum Release tool in the mail from sierratradingpost, size large (which I assume is the same as the "big bug" size). But this thing is enormous, with like a 3/4" diameter tube at the head. Is this really the right size? It looks like something you would use on a big salmon or halibut!
John, the Ketchum Release tool I use has a tube with an inside diameter of .300 inches - just shy of 5/16ths. I just measured it with dial calipers. 3/4" sounds like a large saltwater model. It might be too big, though it would take something that large to get around the lead eyes of a Clauser Minnow.

The tool described by Smalma and Milt Roe sounds really good. I fish out a kayak sometimes, and need a tool longer than the Ketchum Release. I have a couple of butt sections from bamboo rods I made that didn't work out for various reasons. I'm going to cut one to length, drill a 1/8" hole in the end, and glue in a "hook." It will look fancy and even have a cork grip! Thanks for the idea.


Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
It sounds like you got the modo magnum, I use the same one that Tom has described and works well for all my salt patterns except the lager clousers.
You can make a decent release tool with a 8" piece of 3/4 dowel and a dull-tipped hook bent around 1" diameter out of 1/8" stainless rod. Looks like a small dull gaff. Add a loop to put our hand through at the opposite end from the hook like a dog leash.

To release a fish: Run the stainless hook down the leader until you get inside the bend of the fish hook while holding the leader tight from above. Lift up the tool while pushing down on the leader and the hook slides right out of the fish. I've used these on everything from trout to halibut.
A smaller version that I got from an OR guide is suitable on a smaller scale and I use it for just about everything except salmon and bass. It's a wine cork (for flotation as much as anything else) with a piece of clothes hanger wire stuck in it and a little loop at the end.

If you're like me you have millions (well, maybe only thousands) of wine corks around and enough wire hangers from the cleaners to make plenty of these. You use it just like a Ketchum release -- holding onto the cork, loop the leader through the loop end and slide down until the loop stops at the bend of the hook, then twist. No need to touch the fish, and usually no need to net the fish.

One small note of caution -- when you're bending the loop end of the wire, make sure you inspect it for cracks after you bend it -- they can cut your leader/tippet if you're not careful. While that makes for a pretty quick release, it can cost a few more flies than you'd like.