Steelhead - hookup/landed ratio

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Wayne Kohan, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. TomB

    TomB Active Member

    swinging i would say i end up landing right around 50% of the fish I get takes if they are on for more than 4 seconds, i would say it is closer to 75%. That being said, i have been watching this post closely, because immediate jumps are still stumping me. I hooked one the other day near the end of the swing and it more 6 ft to the side and then launched itself out of the water...i maintained pressure but the second it hit the water the line came loose (not broken off)...oh well. Got one the next day to make up for it.
  2. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    I find that I NEVER get broken off with Maxima Ultragreen on any fish as long as I re-tie knots and leader that is chaffed. I also find that I get much better hookups with stinger hook type flys which makes a lot of sense. I have been thinking of adopting stinger version of everything with tiny hooks.......Fighting the fish with your rod tip sideways is a MUST it will reduce fish loss dramatically!
  3. espja

    espja New Member

    There are days when you can't do anything wrong. You will survive the runs through the sticks, log jams and white water and still land your steelhead.

    But then again you can have days where nothing comes to hand and your just a clown out there with waders on.

    I was the latter last Saturday. God thought I was funny and blessed me with witnessness too. ;)

  4. COREY S

    COREY S New Member

    Wow, there is lots of good input. I have had plenty of lost fish, all seem to be heartbreakers. The way I was able to turn things around, turned out to be the most simple thing you can do. When I hook a steelhead, I start to run down stream like forrest gump. I look like a tard, stumbling down river, but the short is that it works, period. Lets say that the hook is stuck in the tip of the nose, hooks will work themselves out even with the best set and ninja skills. If you are able to position yourself roughly forty five, or more down from the steelie and work on keeping this angle until the fish is beached then if the hook looses its hold, where is it going? Yep, in the corner of the mouth where you will have a hard time loosing any fish. This may seem odd but playing a fish down from yourself is a easy way to loose them. I know this sounds too simple, I assure you that if this becomes your practice your land ratio will improve.
  5. Zen Piscator

    Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    When the fish eats super soft/in slow water on the swing, do you guys set hard on it right away or just baby the fish. I have lost a fair amount of fish swinging because I think I never really got a set because of the soft hit and me thinking they were trout or suckers.
  6. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    "they were trout or suckers" Unless the water is REALLY cold I think this is the case. Every steelhead I have ever caught slammed my fly. This may be because I only fish certain types of water for my head, riffles and tailouts, and often expect and get dollies in the slower stuff. Also, 90% of my steelhead experience is on west side rivers.
  7. Mulligan

    Mulligan Stephen Mull

    I am new to the steelhead game, but the fish I hooked this past fall all (on the swing) hit the same way: just felt like my line stopped on something. There was no big take. I have heard winter fish (especially the brats) hit much softer.

    A question, how does one set the hook downstream as has been mentioned? I cannot visualize this. I understand playing the fish from downstream, but if I am swinging from upstream, how do I set the hook downstream?

  8. Zen Piscator

    Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Stephen, we are talking about setting the hook downstream when you are nymphing. In nymphing your line is almost always upstream/across from you.

    With swinging, being the worse of the two techniques :rofl: (jk), it is not to set directly downstream of the fish, but I like to sweep my rod across/downstream towards the bank to bring the fly across the fishes mouth into its jaw.

    A good way to practice this is to fish for shad.
  9. TomB

    TomB Active Member

    with soft takes, often they seem to hook themselves when the turn, but if they are pulling and dont feel hooked yet dont hesitate to slam that metal home.
  10. Mulligan

    Mulligan Stephen Mull

    Ok, that makes sense. I haven't tried nymphing (for steel) yet, I guess I don't really want to (catch fish). Or...caught fish swinging and can't imagine going the other way.
  11. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Zen -
    It seems to me that the so-called "soft takes" are really of 3 types.

    The first is that sudden soft feeling - here I think that the steelhead has turned towards the angler and as it takes the fly it reduces the tension on the swung fly (also have that type of take when stripping streamers for large trout, etc). The fish almost always have the fly and I have had good luck converting the take to a hook-up with a quick line strip set.

    The second is either a quick single peck or a series of quick light pecks. Those fish seem to be nearly always trout (especially in the summer/fall) and I don't usually "set" on those fish though if fishing "trouty" steelhead - fall fish I will drop a little slack to the fish and occassional will be surprised with a steelhead.

    The third is much like the second except that the peck seems to be sharper or the spacing of the pecks further apart. Those fish are often steelhead and again I have best luck with a quick line strip. Notice that I rarely if ever "strike hard". I really like a firm set that hold the fly in the fish and as the fish turns it will deeply set the hook itself - of course I don't fish heavy wires.

    One of the upsides of the line strip sets is that it seems to spook fewer fish allowing for the potential second take either during that swing or another presention. Have noticed that many successful anglers have different approaches and the above is just what has worked for me. Of course how to covert a missed fish to a later hook up is another topic.

    Tight lines
  12. inland

    inland Active Member


    What's all this talk about swinging? You finally find that steelhead eat swung flies too? ;)

  13. Rayne Rivers

    Rayne Rivers Member

    Since you state that you are losing most of them on the jump or right at the beach, I would say that your problem has to do with too much "pressure" on the line at the wrong time:

    - at the time of the jump. It is best to relieve tension on the line whenever a fish jumps. Unfortunately, steelhead rarely give any forewarning of when they are going to jump... it usually happens so fast that there isn't time enough to react by "bowing" to the fish. And, that's just part of the fun of "catching" steelhead. Having said that though, you are probably applying too much pressure during the "active" portions of the fight. Most jumps by steelhead occur during some "active phase" of the fight, in other words the fish is being very physically aggressive, such as running, or bouncing around under water (headshaking). Anytime a fish is being so physically active it is expending its own energy by its own accord, and therefore fighting pressure should be backed off to a fairly light setting and the fish allowed to "do its thing". When the fish stops being physically active - no longer is expending energy of its own accord - that is the time when the angler should then bear down fully and apply as much pressure as the tackle can withstand. If this approach is followed, then far fewer fish will be lost to jumps, and the fish will still be able to be landed in responsible amount of time.

    - near the beach. One needs to be especially vigilant at this time to reacting quickly to sudden bursts of "activity" by the fish. If/when a fish tries to make a sudden dash back out into the river you have to be able to instantaneously relieve pressure on the line. Successfully landing a fish during the "close quarters" phase of the fight may take several repeated actions of bringing the fish in close and then having to let it run back out again. Patience and perseverance is key at this time of the battle. Also, it helps a great deal when in the "close combat" stage to use as low an angle on the rod as possible, and try not to pull "upward" on the fish as this only increases the possibility of yanking the hook out.