Batting .166--need some tips

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jason Rolfe, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    I am in a bit of a slump. Over the last few weeks, in about 9 outings, I am 1 for 6. It's really nice to be hooking up with some fish--a couple of them have been bruisers--but damn I want to land a fish and hopefully bring one home!

    I keep losing fish, and it's starting to drive me crazy. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, or just have a run of bad luck. (To be fair, one of them I lost due to a bad knot, so that was just plain my fault.)

    Anyhow, I thought I'd see if any of you salt veterans have any tips you'd like to share on what you do once you've hooked a fish.

    I think one problem I've been having is trying to start getting line on the reel too soon. That is, I hook a fish, give it a couple good sets to make sure the hook is home, and then start worrying about reeling and getting slack line picked up. Maybe I just need to forget about the reeling until the fish has had a chance to settle into a rhythm.

    If anyone has any tips they could share, I'd appreciate it. It might be that I'm just having a run of bad luck, and I'm doing things right, and the fishing are coming off. But figured this could provide a good discussion in any case.


  2. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Make em earn the reel! I don't mess with reeling up slack unless its only a couple feet. Coho especially are really "darty" and change direction a lot. Keep stripping on em until they take care of the slack for you. I watch a lot of people lose fish this way. One strip set or lift of the rod and keep stripping.
    Jonathan Tachell likes this.
  3. SciGuy

    SciGuy Active Member

    -Use bigger hooks
    -Use a stinger
    -Strip set and then back out of the water while feeding or stripping in line (depending on what the fish is doing)
    -Don't try to over power your fish...especially during the initial head shakes. Just maintain tension and you'll be ok.
    -Don't rush to get it on the reel...if that happens then great but don't force it.
    dryflylarry likes this.
  4. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    The good thing is you are hooking up, so you know you are fishing well. I'd rather go 1-7 like I did last weekend then go 0-0.
    Sometimes those streaks go the opposite way as well and you'll go 6 for 6.
    You've gotten some good advice so far. As Sean mentioned, coho do the quick direct change on you. Add the multiple 360 death spin moves they do near shore and sometimes it is just hard to keep them pinned.
  5. Peyton00

    Peyton00 Active Member

    I agree, leave the line alone. Set the hook, wait for the fish to respond and if given time, get some line back on the reel. The fish more than likely will run and take the line anyway. Give the chase/fight time to develop and dont race the fish to the finish line. You know the tortoise wins in the end.
  6. DKL

    DKL Nude to the board

    I obviously don't know if this is the case for you, but I have witnessed a few lost fish thus far because the rid tip wasn't kept up. When not putting side pressure on the fish be sure not to drop your tip, with the tip up the rod keeps tension on the line. As others have stated, sometimes you do everything right and they still get off. At least you are hooking fish.

  7. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

    One thing I have to remember cause I am terrible at casting is checking the hook point every once and a while. I had one briefly this morning and when I checked the fly afterwards there was no point. :(
  8. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Thanks folks. I think you all confirmed what I was thinking was my problem: I think I'm just getting a bit too rushed and frantic right after the hook set. Next time I hook up, I'm going to try to keep my head. Just got some early season jitters going on!

    I do, however, think that I might try some larger hooks on my stingers. I've been running #4 hooks--my try going up a size or two just to see.

  9. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    In addition to the waiting to get the fish on the reel something else to consider are your hooks.

    After a lot of experimentation it is clear that not all hooks are created equally when it comes to dealing fish; especially when it comes to resident coho and other fish that are prone to sudden direction changes or spins. Have long been a fan of fine wire hooks such as Mustad's ultra point but recently been experimenting with Gamakatsu's split shot/drop shot hooks. I have been pleased with those drop shot hooks and while one will still lose fish (sometimes a few in a row) on the whole my hook up to landing ratio has improved.

  10. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Man handle those Coho. Usually I end up stripping them in, especially humpies. Occasionally they will get you on the reel but like Sean said make them earn it. You can put a lot of pressure on those fish with 10lb plus leader on a fly rod. And always, I mean always use a stinger hook!
    Jason Rolfe likes this.
  11. Ralphie

    Ralphie Mike Ralph

    Agreed. I went 2/2 yesterday and watched several buzz bombers next to me lose fish on 1/0 siwash hooks. I'm convinced that a small stinger is less likely to be thrown, but keep pressure on.
  12. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Not to worry ,Babe Ruth didn't hit a homer every time. Hot streaks & slumps are all part of thefly fishing game.
  13. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Yeah, I figure I'm at least lucky to be hooking up so much. Four hookups in the last four days of fishing is pretty good, and shows me I'm doing something right.

    Now to focus on my end game!

    Thanks everyone for the tips. I went out and got some bigger stinger hooks, so hopefully that will help a little.


  14. jwg

    jwg Active Member

    Said before but just to be clear

    Don't set the hook " a couple" times !

    Set once, keep the line tight, and pay attention to the fish not the reel

  15. Cole L

    Cole L Fish Fiend

    stripping is the way to go, keep your lines clean so you dont get strip finger when they run. Give the pinks their room knowing they have soft jaws and you can rip out hooks easily. With coho, keep the pressure on and strip to keep the line tight as they tend to turn easily.
  16. Bagman

    Bagman Active Member

    I've only been at this for a little over a year now myself. I try to get up on the beach a soon as I can. Once I set the hook I start backing up. I have seen Cohos run around behind other people as they were standing in the water u to there waist. If you are on the sand high and dry they can't get behind you. I had my first fish make it to the reel Friday. The other fish be in very few have been stripped in. I did loose a fish last year trying to put it on the reel and having a finger compressing the cork on my rod.
  17. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer


    After a slight drop Saturday, finally got my average back up.

    Hooked into one of the hardest fighting fish I've ever had the opportunity to play with this morning. First fish to ever take me into the backing (aside from a foul hooked coho).

    I hooked into it, and immediately started going through everyone's suggestions on this thread in my mind. First and foremost--I completely ignored the little round line winder thing attached to my rod. Kept the pressure on the fish and made it work. But damn, that thing made me work as well. After a few runs it had worked out all the line in my basket. Then it started making runs at the weeds further out. Jon, fishing with me this AM, wondered aloud a couple of times if it might be a chinook.

    Nope. After a pretty awesome fight, I pulled in what turned out to be about a 4 lb. pink. I was AMAZED at how hard that little fish fought. It was fantastic. First pink ever for me as well.

    What a great morning. Thanks to everyone for your insights and tips on this thread, they really made a huge difference.

    holtad, Cole L, porterHause and 6 others like this.